Today, I was at one of our Neon City hospitals attempting to visit a hospitalized deacon. I failed. She had already been discharged. But there may yet have been a reason for me to be there.
As I left through the ER doors, a woman outside the ER called me. “Sir, are you a priest? Could you help me? The hospital says the police should take me home but the police said the hospital would do it and left me here.”
In a jumbled way, she told me her story. She had been raped, beaten, and robbed by her ex-husband in a parking lot. Now here she was. The word “battered” is so apt for battered women. Bruises, swollen face, scrapes on her face, arms, and knee. She needed a ride. She stood as if her back was in spasm. She needed help just stepping down from the sidewalk to the asphalt. Yes, “battered” was a good word. “Broken” would have worked as well. Her mind seemed dazed. She couldn’t focus.
I took her to the pharmacy to get her muscle relaxants and anxiety medication, then helped her find her car. The doors had been kicked in on both sides, the side view mirrors were smashed and dangled like broken wings, one window was broken out. But she drove it away.
She had no family in Nevada other than her 7-year-old daughter. Most of her income from working as a cosmetologist was gone. No she did not ask me for money. She just wanted a ride. I wondered whether, if she had been more of a princess, the police would have had time to take her back to her home or her car at least. But she wasn’t. So she was stranded.
I am glad I was there. It didn’t cost me much to do her a little good after others had done her so much harm. But what if I hadn’t been there by the providential grace of God?
This is the level of care we provide to battered women while the Violence Against Women Act is still in force. But its survival beyond the current fiscal year is a tough battle in Washington, See, http://www.peoplesworld.org/gop-stalls-violence-against-women-act-renewal/.
Nevada leads the nation in per capital cases of women killed in domestic violence. How that issue has failed to make headlines in the current political season is a wonder and an amazement to me. Protecting women from brutal assaults, prosecuting the perpetrators, and providing some modicum of support to the victims – at least a ride home from the hospital – strikes me as the bottom line for civil society.