On March 18, a 24-year-old Bucks County woman was drugged and raped while on spring break in Miami. Christine Englehardt met two North Carolina men who reports say gave her a green pill, raped her, and stole her credit cards. Then she was left to die alone. Every aspect of this is unquestionably a tragedy, but there is one detail that I can’t get out of my head.

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Security footage showed Christine entering the hotel lobby with two men at about 1 am, and a detective at a bond hearing testified Christine was in no condition to consent to sex. One of the men had to hold her up to get her to the hotel room. If she came through the lobby, did anyone see her limp body dragged to that hotel room? Could hotel staff or guests have prevented the horrific events that occurred? I don’t know the answer to these questions.

Yet I’m stuck on this point, because this could have been me. In 2003, I was drugged and raped by one of America’s worst serial date rapists. I had a drink with him at a Philadelphia pub, and he slipped something in my drink. To this day, I have no idea what it was, but I know I staggered when I left the bar, past patrons and bar staff, and I had to pass a doorman at his upscale downtown apartment. This same doorman saw this man bring home countless women. While my rapist claimed to be a doctor, he was a drop-out nursing student who could just as easily have killed me with the drug he put in my drink. This drug left me unable to think for myself and unable to move.

Yet I’m stuck on this point, because this could have been me.

Allison Weidhaas

What if that doorman had said something? He might have saved me and the 21 other women willing to testify during two Philadelphia trials. According to my rapist’s own record keeping, there were many more women, but not everyone chose to come forward. Imagine the pain and suffering that could have been prevented if someone had asked more questions.

Research shows bystanders are less likely to help someone in danger in the presence of others, who they often assume will react instead. Much of the research on the bystander effect is linked to Kitty Genovese, who was sexually assaulted in 1964 while 38 people watched and didn’t call the police.

I don’t know how many people were present in either the lobby I was dragged into in 2003, or the one Christine unfortunately entered last month, but one person could have helped. It would have taken only one person to speak up.

Some may believe this is a crime that doesn’t affect them or only happens to people they don’t know, but the statistics suggest otherwise. Every 73 seconds someone in America is sexually assaulted, as documented by RAINN. One out of 6 women in America has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape, and 1 out of 33 men.

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There is legislation in the works to help victims get more support. The U.S. House voted in March to renew the Violence Against Women Act, which, if passed by the Senate, will expand aid for victims and survivors. But individuals can do more to prevent these incidents from happening in the first place. We need people to ask questions when circumstances don’t make sense and to report abuse. While Philadelphia rape hotlines are quieter than usual, this doesn’t mean there are fewer victims. Many can’t access outside help because they are either trapped by their abuser or don’t feel comfortable with possible eavesdroppers in tight pandemic quarters.

This makes it more important than ever that we support those who come forward, look for potential danger, and encourage people to get help in other ways, including online support groups or chats. There are national resources, such as RAINN, and local ones, including WOAR Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence, which offers free therapy to Philly residents and NOVA of Bucks County, which also provides free services to survivors of any age and gender. These groups provide support to survivors, but also encourage prevention, such as WOAR’s Safe Bars program.

We need more programs for those in the hospitality industry to identify and prevent assaults, but we also need all individuals to speak up and intervene. Be a voice. If you see something, say something.

Dr. Allison Weidhaas, Associate Professor at Rider University, studies gender issues including female business owners, work/life issues and gender-based violence. She is the author of a book on female business owners, has contributed to numerous publications, and is currently working on a book about the women who survived the match.com serial rapist. She is also an advocate for gender equality and speaks to audiences about her sexual assault.