In the lobby of a hospital rape treatment center with a young woman crying.  I don’t know how we can make her feel better, but due to the principles we live by, my partner and I feel obligated to try.

Unfortunately we also work a job unlike any other.  Usually during the midnight hours, and rarely dealing with anyone with the likes of a well mannered college freshman.  To say she was a stark contrast to the gangster we had detained an hour prior would be an understatement.  We were interested in him because his gang recently managed to acquire a stockpile of guns from a home invasion, and during our investigation we discovered he just finished serving time for attempted murder.

Now, away from graffiti scribbled walls forecasting violence, we stare at this young woman.  Feeling puzzled and  incompetent, a feeling we are alien to, my partner blurts out, “I rather be getting shot at.”  She laughs and we let out a small sigh of relief.  Better than seeing her cry.

But then she replys, “I’m sorry, you guys have to put up with a crying girl.”

She didn’t get it.  Now she probably thinks we are rude.  I explain, “You see I have 2 daughters myself, this isn’t easy for us.”  My partner says, “This is why I don’t have kids.”

We just shut up instead.

When you are getting shot at, you at least have some semblance of what you need to do.  Despite the adversity presented by lead flying your way, you still have control over certain aspects of your situation, which if you manage appropriately by remembering your training, you will overcome.  Seek cover and concealment, don’t mash your trigger, lay down cover fire, maneuver into a position of tactical advantage… locate, isolate, and destroy that which is trying to kill you or others.

Obviously my partner was exaggerating, but that was what he meant.

13 hours into our shift.  We stare at a young woman, that resembles my daughter.  She’s in pain, feeling helpless and thinks she’s all alone.  She’s completely clueless as to how to deal with the trauma she has experienced… and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it, because we are just as clueless too.

As a father, I wish I could always be there to ensure my girls are never in harms way.  But that’s impossible.  Seeing my baby girl bump her head is heartbreaking enough.  To see her suffering from someone victimizing her is unimaginable.

Right before the doctor finally arrives, I explain.  “Forgive of us if we seem of little help.  My partner and I normally deal with robbers and gangsters, hanging out with you is nice change, but unfortunate under these circumstances.  We are here to help with whatever you need, but you will be in good hands. This investigation will be taken over by people who are experts in these matters.”

She then expressed to us what was stressing her.

I guess often times, not doing anything, and just listening is all that’s required of you.  Sometimes you just have to figure out a way to be okay with not knowing what to do.

As the doctor introduces herself, our young subject begins crying again.  The doctor, who’s job is to deal with rape victims daily, gets the same puzzled look on her face that my partner and I had.  I guess we aren’t that different after all.  I guess after all, we too are experts in these matters.