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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Midnight Rape

Tired last night from a lovely day in Golden Gate Park, I fell asleep early, snuggled in the linen sheets and light, cotton blanket on my bed, my window slightly ajar. I’ve grown so accustomed to the street noise that drifts up my way – the cars passing on the busy street half a block up, the low rumble of cars pulling up to the curb, doors shutting, the small amount of foot traffic on my street - apartment dwellers returning from the bar and restaurant scene within walking distance of my roost and teenagers, strolling in the middle of the street, giggling and sometimes whispering in loud, tipsy voices as they head home, no doubt well past their curfew.

But last night I was awakened from a dead sleep by a young woman’s voice, calling out from the street “RAPE! HELP! RAPE!” I grabbed my cell phone from the nightstand, sprang out of bed to the window and peered down into the street. I saw and heard nothing. I hollered out, “HELLO? WHO”S DOWN THERE? “ There was no answer. For a moment, a moment only, I thought – maybe a prank. But I couldn’t take the risk – I dialed 911 and within moments, a patrol car was cruising up the street, then slowed near my apartment building, spotlight on, trolling the shadows.

I went down to the street to talk with the officers. Told them my tale. They walked the street, heavy flashlights in hand, beaming a strong light into bushes, cars, doorsteps, stairwells. They knocked on doors, searched the construction site across the way, gained admittance to the apartment building across the street and I could see through the building’s windows the light of their flashlights going this way and that as they walked the hallways and listened for sounds of distress.

But they found nothing. Whoever had sent out that initial cry had disappeared, or was silenced in some way – either through her own volition, or coercion, or force.

The cops left; I returned to bed, yet I refused to shut and lock my window. I refuse to live in fear on my own street. But I slept badly the rest of the night, tossing and turning and wondering about the young woman whose voice I heard so clearly: “RAPE! HELP! RAPE!”

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


you remind me
that it is time again
to read some nabokov, one of my all time favorite writers -- this piece so reminds me of the hapless vassily ivanovich...

(don't know why that should be, bird, but there it is)

& thanks!


May 20, 2007 9:09 AM  
Blogger Aunty Belle said...

And Turgenev, /t.

Hey Bird Beauty!!! Yeah, darlin' always make the call--ya done good.

Left ya a note on yore school/epiphany post.

The limerick contest is open fer one more week--come tickle our funny bones!

May 20, 2007 9:29 AM  
Blogger onandon said...

Glad you called the police.
Glad you cared enough.
You did everything you could.

You are a good and honourable person.

May 20, 2007 6:05 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

Heck yeah! GOOD BIRD!!

Feel free to crap on any rapists you happen to fly over.
('course with that in mind, and considering what would actually drop out'a the skies should YOU be flying around, well, maybe that'll curb them bad guys...)

No, seriously. buy a gun. use it liberally on anybody that thinks it's OK to rape others.

May 21, 2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger boneman said...


maybe that's too far.....

May 21, 2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger Riki D said...

About three or four block from where you are, this similar scenario happened to my mother-in-law. Unforutnately, in her own apartment. They never caught the guy. Maybe it's the same bastard. I pray this woman is okay. Happy to say my mom-in-law travels by herself and with girlfriends, gets out and about, and sees the world. Screw the bastards.

May 21, 2007 11:56 PM  
Blogger Riki D said...

But that plea is haunting.

May 21, 2007 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes - the plea is all too haunting.

i keep hearing that voice - clear as a bell - i hear it during the day and at night. it is haunting me.

and i find myself no longer comfortable pulling into my garage late at night,and i hear things in my roost in the evening that i didn't hear before. nonetheless, i still sleep with my window cracked open; i still go in and out as i please regardless of the time of day or night.

but the reality is - we live in a rape culture. women live either conciously or subconciously with rape-prevention strategies: where you park, having your keys out long before you reach your car, constantly being aware of your surroundings, automatically locking the car doors whenever you get in the car,checking the locks on your doors and windows, planning your route on public transportation - choosing sometimes to drive instead of public transit - because you don't want to be the only one on the platform waiting for the train, having friends walk you to your car or the bus stop at the end of the evening, traveling in packs or pairs.



May 22, 2007 9:30 AM  
Blogger Aunty Belle said...

Birdy Beauty, come leave me a limerick on the Front Porch!! Thar's a real life prize fer best one....c'mon over.

May 25, 2007 9:36 AM  

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