*The following incident actually happened. The names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.
It was around 2 a.m. on a Saturday in early December. A young woman I know (we’ll call her Liz*) had been out at a bar in one of the strips along San Vitores Road in Tumon. She was heading home, and was dropping off one of her friends at the friend’s car in a nearby parking lot. They passed a young man practically carrying a local girl out of a bar, heading into an adjacent parking lot.
“She could barely stand, she was so drunk,” Liz said. She told her friend, “That doesn’t look right.”
Liz slowed down, rolled down her car window and asked, “Hey, are you guys, OK? Is she OK?”
“Yeah, we’re good,” the guy replied. The very drunk young woman did not respond.
“Ok, just wanted to check,” Liz said.
She drove her friend to the friend’s car, but said she knew if she didn’t go back and check on this young woman, it would bother her all night. So, two minutes later, she swung back into the parking lot where the guy had been headed with the girl. The doors of the guy’s car were wide open and he was fanning the young woman, who had all but passed out in the passenger seat.
Liz parked, went over, and just addressed the woman in the car. She didn’t even focus on the guy, she told me.
“Are you OK?” she asked her.
The young woman mumbled, “Where’s Cam*?
Liz turned to the guy: “Are you Cam?”
“No,” was all he said. Her warning intuition flashed neon. She asked to see his phone. Luckily, he was not the aggressive type and willingly gave her his phone. She said she wanted to check if there was a “Cam” in his call log. There was, but he admitted it was not the Cam the girl was referring to. I told Liz she was very lucky that this guy was not a jerk. She said she thought about that, but that the car was parked right along San Vitores Road in a well-lit parking lot, so she felt pretty safe.
Plus, “I have mace on my keychain,” she reasoned. Which may or may not have protected her if things had gone awry.
Liz asked the girl what her name was, and if she had her phone, her purse, or even a wallet. (The girl—we’ll call her Jane*—had nothing with her when this guy took her out of the bar.) Did she know Cam’s phone number? Miraculously, she did. Liz called the number from her own phone.
“Cam? Hi, I’m with your friend Jane, and we’re in the parking lot by so-and-so bar.”
“Oh, thank God!” replied Cam. “I’ll be right there.” Cam, who was inside the nearby bar, came running over to the car in minutes.
The guy, who had been standing there all this time, helped them get Jane out of his car and into Liz’s car.
“OK, thanks, we’re good,” Liz said. She dismissed this young man, who she said was not local—maybe military. He took off without saying two words.
Liz had some leftover pizza in her car, so while she waited with Jane and Cam for Jane’s brother to pick them up (apparently he was at another bar), they ate. Jane sobered up enough to tell them she had been dancing with the guy. Cam said she went to the bathroom, and when she came out, Jane was gone. Jane said the guy had said to her, “Let’s get out of here,” and proceeded to walk/carry her out of the bar and to his car. Apparently, she had been too drunk to really know what was going on or to say anything. Meanwhile, Cam had been frantically looking for her.
Liz told Jane and Cam never to separate like that. If one has to go to the bathroom, both should go, she told them. She also told them that if a friend is getting really drunk, someone needs to watch out for that person because some random person could do what this guy had just done—take off with her (or him).
I’d like to give the guy the benefit of the doubt and think that once they got to his car, he realized how drunk Jane was, and that’s why he didn’t simply leave with her to do hell-knows-what. And why he was fanning her, and why he didn’t give Liz a hard time when she intervened.
However, note to the guy and everyone else: If someone is really drunk, they cannot consent to having sex. If someone is too drunk and you have sex with that person, that is rape.
Two young women were very lucky that night: Jane and Liz. Things could’ve gone south in this situation any number of ways. Thank God they didn’t. It would have been safer for Liz to call someone else to come help her before she approached the guy and Jane. Or simply call 911.
My mantra has always been, “If you see something funky, say something.” That’s how we stop bad things from happening in our community. Even though what she did wasn’t the safest way to handle it, I’m pretty sure Liz’s words and actions saved Jane from what could very easily have ended up as a sexual assault that night.
“OMG, you’re an angel,” Jane’s brother told Liz when he arrived and they relayed what had transpired.
That night, she was.
So if you see something, be someone’s guardian angel. Say something.
Jayne Flores is the director of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.