Last week I was working a late shift at my office. Nobody I knew was around, so I had a sticky note open on my computer and I was using it to draw a smiley face using only grammatical characters. However, my pleasant drawing experience was soon brought to an end when I overheard a colleague at a nearby desk.

Now, I hate to make it seem like I was eaves dropping, because I was trying my hardest not to listen to the conversation that I heard, but I couldn’t drown it out. Basically, one colleague was talking about how her boyfriend regularly physically abuses her. She was talking about how he’s a raging alcoholic and saying that it’s not really his fault because he’s not in control. She went on to describe horrifying situations where both of their lives would have literally been in danger. I was shaking after hearing everything she said, it was that horrible.

But, while that alone was really awful, the responses of her work friends made it even worse. None of them seemed to take it seriously. Nobody expressed concern for her wellbeing. Nobody even really condemned her partner. They were even making jokes about it. The fact that none of them spoke out was honestly quite disturbing. This isn’t the first time where I’ve seen people behave in worryingly uncaring ways.

You may ask, “Why didn’t you speak up, Adam?” And the fact is, I wanted to.  I was waiting and hoping for one of her friends to say something, but none of them did. So, when the end of my shift came, I decided that it was time for me to make an approach. I reached into my pocket – I had some sweets there, as I always do. I’d go over and offer some. They’re the perfect ice breaker. Then I’d do my best to offer some support and try to help But then, as I got close, she answered the phone to a customer. Who knows how long the call could have gone on for? I had to go home. I sadly dropped the sweets back into my pocket and left, knowing I could do nothing.

The feeling of helplessness to help someone in need was very sad.

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