Happy Fucking New Year

From the Front Lines of an EMT

Several years ago, I was on duty New Year’s Day. Shortly after dark, we received a call just a few blocks away from our assigned location. We made the short response over, and walked up to the front door. We were greeted by a 71y.o. lady dressed in a shirt and nothing else, with some newspapers wrapped around her below the waist. She stated that she’d been raped. Initially, she was so damn calm; I thought maybe she was a kook. But, we soon realized that this was a real-life nightmare.

An 18y.o. M from the neighborhood (that she knew) had waited until after dusk and walked to her place. He unscrewed her porch light so she couldn’t see who was at the door before he knocked. When she opened the door, he forced his way in and raped her on the floor of the hallway just off her living room.

We later discovered that PD had apprehended the suspect just a few blocks away, even before we had arrived on scene. I did my assessment while partner remained at the door so as not to disturb the crime scene. The patient was perfectly stable medically so I didn’t need his assistance.

While speaking with her, she became more and more upset. I think the reason she’d been so calm initially was because of shock. By the time PD arrived at the house we were ready to transport. Before we took her to the ER for her rape exam, they wanted her to identify the suspect. This is when she became very fearful and began to cry. They assured her that he wouldn’t be able to see her through the window as they would be shining a light directly on him. I assured her as best I could and helped them convince her it would be OK. They drove her a few blocks to where the kid was in the car and she ID’ed him. Then it was time to go to the ER.

I broke protocol, while she showed no life threatening signs I ordered my partner to go “hot” (lights, sirens, pedal to the floor). I had decided this night had gone on long enough for this poor woman and wanted to get her the help I couldn’t give her like yesterday.

Enroute, we talked a lot and I held her hand. Thankfully he hadn’t hit her or anything, so I was able to concentrate almost entirely on psychological support as best I could. I had no illusion that I could make things better, I just wanted to comfort her. I called in to the hospital we were heading to giving them my report. When we arrived to the ER and walked in I thanked good when I saw whom I considered to be the best damn RN on duty. I gave my report, we got her settled into a room, and I left her in that RN’s very capable hands.

Less than three months later while I was on duty, in that same ER just finishing dropping off a patient lo & behold I saw the same old woman.

I cannot begin to describe how much of a shell of her former self she had become since the rape. She had greatly decompensated both psychologically and physically. She was in the ER that day because of suicidal ideations. It just broke my heart even further than the call did initially. I still feel an almost physical pain when I think about her, what she endured, and the effect it had on her.

*That’s enough for the night*

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One Response to “Happy Fucking New Year”

  1. I’ve sat here for about ten minutes trying to think of a response to this, and there’s just nothing I can say. But as with every sad, unpleasant, “thing,” silence neither changes it, nor makes it “go away.” So, my “response” is simply to acknowledge you and this woman. We were all diminished by that “ASSailant.” I’m told that “a grief shared is a grief lessened.” Your kindness to her could have been one of the only reasons she was still around later, and hopefully, by sharing your grief, and her sharing hers, you, she, and the rest of us will find strength and some healing. Namaste.

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