The Victim

Chapter Two: Friends

Plans of mice and women

Like an old man without hope nor purpose, summer slowly dies down. My roommate and I become… closer. She says “I love you.” I lie and tell her I love her back, even though… and it pains me to say this, but I don’t. I don’t think I love anyone. What’s worse, I don’t think I can love anyone anymore… At least not romantically. But I believe in her and what she wants to do.

She introduces me to people from different committees, subcommittees, movements, organizations and lobbies. Each is involved to some measure with her mission, yet each has their own agenda. We travel in the new tol delegation van across the country, bought with the money raised after the assault. “We” includes me, my roommate (I guess I should call her girlfriend), her brother, my arab friend and my friend from school.

But as the deadline for the beginning of classes approaches, I become increasingly stressed, and take it out on our male friends. Only two days away from our return to college, my girlfriend’s brother announces with a pale face over breakfast: “Look what we received last night.” He shows us an email with the pictures and addresses of the two guys that assaulted us. “We should call the police,” says my girlfriend. Her brother and my arab friend both nod. “Ok,” I concede. But I feel like this is not enough. We should confront them… or well, someone should. “We’ll call when we’re back at campus,” her brother says, and we agree.

The idea of those two monsters roaming free festers on my mind the whole night. As my girlfriend’s brother is driving us back to college the next morning, I open my mouth and say “Don’t you think it will be too little, too late?” “What will?” asks the brother. “What the police will do to them,” I answer. They stay quiet. “No, they will be in prison for years,” says my arab friend. “Well, maybe not so long,” says my friend from school.

“You see,” she continues, “they will only be charged with assault, get a couple of years which they can get out of soon thanks to good behavior. And then they’ll know where to find us.” My arab friend becomes clearly upset. He thought they were going away for good.

“Well,” he says trying to calm himself, “we can just get a restraining order.” “Ha,” I chuckle, “right, because no woman was ever killed by her husband if she had a restraining order against him.” There’s silence in the van for a whole minute. “So what do you want to do, huh!?” breaks out my arab friend. “Go there and stand up to them on camera, again? Great, maybe this time they will actually kill you. I know you’d love that because then you’d have like sixteen million views. You’d get the whole evening show for yourself: ‘Interview of a dead woman.’”

“Oh shut it, like you didn’t play the victim,” my girlfriend snaps at him. Her brother hits the brakes hard. Drivers behind and beside us scream profanities as they speed by. “Can we please just… like f-wording drive in peace?” asks her brother calmly. My girlfriend and I mutter a feeble “ok.” One hour or two later, my arab friend speaks again. “So what is it you want to do to them, exactly?”

“Maybe we could dox them,” I say, looking through the window. “What? What’s that?” my arab friend asks. “She means expose their identities, like, leak the info we have,” says my friend from school. “That way people will know who they are and get a chance to make them know how much they are hated. Maybe then those bullies can sympathize with their victims. Now that would be justice.”

“I agree with her,” I say looking at my friend from school through the rear view mirror. My girlfriend instantly takes my hand. I sense jealousy. I smile back and caress my girlfriend’s face, making the two boys uncomfortable. After some hesitation and debate, he agrees to do it. We all look at her brother. “Ok, so what do we do now?” he asks. “Simple,” I say. “We leak the information and watch it play out.”