Obviously, I'm not hoping that someone will get raped tomorrow night. In fact, I would give just about anything for every human being to lay safely down in their beds on the last day of the year, without experiencing domestic violence, sexual violence, drunk driving, or any other form of violence. But the statistics, our records, the anecdotes all challenge this notion...and New Year's Eve has historically been one of the "busiest" work days for those of us who work in rape crisis centers. Tomorrow night, I join colleagues and volunteers across the nation in staying close to home, in not indulging in a glass of champagne, in keeping our cell phones right in front of us, waiting, praying, hoping that maybe, just maybe this year will be different.
But it probably won't.
And while the rest of the world is wearing little festive 2014 party hats, we will most likely be walking somebody through their legal options on our 24-hour crisis line......or sitting in an examination room in our local emergency room......or helping someone breathe during a trigger-induced panic attack. Unless of course, we all collectively decide we no longer want to live in a world where this is the norm. So as you countdown, as you toast, as you ring in a blank slate of possibility tomorrow night, go ahead and make sure your one friend gets home safely....and that your other friend doesn't drive home someone who is drunk and vulnerable. Pick up the phone when your friend with the abusive boyfriend calls you in the middle of the night. Ask a total stranger if they need help getting a cab. Cut your obnoxious pal off when it's clear that he's reached his alcohol limit. By all means, have fun tomorrow night, but consider also taking note of your surroundings, and lending a helping hand when needed. Because unfortunately, there are no holidays or "days off" in our business. Because more than anything, we'd like to someday join you in ringing in the new year without waiting anxiously by the phone.