Working on it
I went to the gym during my lunch on Wednesday, an otherwise stupid decision considering that I slept less than five hours each of the past two nights. While trying to go through some semblance of an ab workout, I stood to the side to catch my breath. Nearby was this girl, on a different ab machine. The gym is rather condensed, so we were in a bit of close quarters. So there was no way that I could miss the line under her left eye. It wasn’t fresh. It was almost fully healed. But make no mistake, it was the bruising from a punch to the face.
Once I spotted it, I looked away, and did my best to make it seem I didn’t notice. Powering through my next set, I pondered what to do. Here was this young woman voluntarily choosing to come to the gym during the most crowded hour of the day. It was clear that she wasn’t going to play the sad victim, and just cry at home on her couch. She wouldn’t let this define her or change her daily habits.
No one spoke to her. Other gym patrons and the staff just walked by and left her alone. Did they not want to say anything? Did they not want to ask if she was ok? Did they hope for someone else to say something? Why weren’t other women going up to her to check on her?
Should I say anything? What if she thinks I’m one of those weird knight-in-shining-armor kind of guys trying to take advantage of her vulnerability? What if she’s an MMA fighter and got this from training? Who am I to assume that she’s the victim? Should I just leave her alone? She seems fine. She’s doing her ab routine just like I am. She’s not going out of her way to hide half her face. She’s not constantly looking around to see who’s watching her.
I texted a good friend of mine, a social activist who’s founded an organization to empower women. As I described the situation to her, she was also uncertain of what to do. Eventually, we agreed that it I discretely seek out a female staff member and ask her to check on the girl. It would be better to come from her than from some random guy trying to play hero. On my way out of the gym, I quietly alerted the staff, and then left.
I have no idea if I did the right thing.