Sitting in the "Drafts" section of my e-mail box is this note with the subject "open letter" and addressed to all the women in my address book.

On my walk home from evening class tonight it was already dark, rainy but warm. I was walking off the cobbled streets of Granville Island when I heard the shouting of a man fifty feet away. "GET OUT. GET OUT OF MY GODDAMN CAR." He was leaning in the drivers side window, speaking to somebody inside. I took a few steps back, wanting to keep listening but not to let him know I was there.

He slammed the door and stalked a few feet away, then whirled and swung open the car door again. "You aren't going to get out? ...." I couldn't hear what he was saying as he was half in the car, moving wildly in the darkness, the front seat, the back. I looked for a figure in the car. He grabbed something small and white and threw it into the street - not moving. Thank god. I heard swearing, a girls voice. I moved towards the car. He backed off a few feet and she was half out of the car, her feet resting on the ground. She was screaming. "RAPE! RAAAPE. RAAAAAAAAPE!" He moved towards her and she scrambled backwards into the passengers seat.

Oh jesus. I ran into a nearby restaurant and asked the bartender to call island security, told her there's a fight happening outside. "Are you serious?" she quipped, terror mixed with excitement. She asked a passing server if he knew the number and he laughed and said no. All the servers got curious and began looking out the window and two big guys came outside with me. We went to the green car and the man was leaning on the drivers door talking to her. Her back was pressed against the passengers side window.

"Everything okay here?" one guy asked and the woman shouted "No!" She was crying. The man began speaking to the restaurant manager, seemingly explaining it all - I was standing about ten feet from the hood of the car and I couldn't hear what they were saying over the noise of the rain. The servers asked the woman if she wanted to come with them, if she wanted a cab, the police. The man seems to side with the servers. "You want me to go to jail for a couple days? Is that what you want? Fine. Do whatever will make you happy. You're making a scene here." More dialogue I couldn't hear. The restaurant men moved away. She asked them to pass her her coat, the white lump on the ground, and they did. They walked away and I followed them.

I asked them if it was a couple fighting and the manager nodded. "She wants to stay in the car, so there's nothing we can do." I didn't know whether to be embarrassed or not. They told me it was nice of me to worry and said goodnight as they went back to work.

I numbly began to walk home, cursing and mumbling and suprising myself with angry tears, angry that this didn't help all the millions of women that didn't have somebody to hear them scream. I felt like my chance to save it all from happening again had been squandered on some stupid bitch cunt who could scream rape but who couldn't, wouldn't get out of the car. I was as angry at the thought that she used the word RAPE lightly, as I was at the thought of him beating the shit out of her later. Both were equally possible situations.

I ate dinner and walked home and thought of writing a poem, or a story, or some other such productive thing to channel my anger, but although my class is creative writing I'm not much for poetry and a story wouldn't help much, so I thought instead I would tell you all what happened to me tonight. I wish this story had a sweet and simple moral that I could give you like a packaged candy, but I don't think it does. I can only say that to me, the possibility of staying in a car with anybody that even made you THINK the word rape is a terrifying prospect. For those of you to whom I haven't spoken or emailed in ages my apologies, but I love you all so much. So please, if you are scared for your safety whatsoever, scream RAPE at the top of your fucking lungs. And then get out of the goddamn car.

Much love, and take care.