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What should one do
JohnH
I am outside late at night tonight and I hear what is a woman sobbing. The sobbing gets closer and finally I see her crossing the main street near my house. I could not see much because I did not have my glasses on. Should I ask her if I can do anything or should I do what I did and just let her go on.

An odd question whether one should try to help another who is obviously in distress or one should take the easy road and avoid getting sucked into a problem one cannot handle.
 
seeker
Quite a dilemma.

I would try asking her if she is okay. If she gives you no details then there is nothing you can really do. Should she give you more information then you can decide whether you can help or not. This also lets her decide whether she wants help from a stranger.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Hypatia
Seeker suggested what I would have. It really is difficult to know what to do in situations such as this and usually there may be only moments to decide whether to say something or not. If she seemed frantic in addition to being distraught (crying) I'm sure I would ask if she were alright and needed some assistance of some kind. It doesn't sound as if she was trying to run from anyone, as you've described it, but I think even so, a few words of kindness and concern from even a stranger could be reassuring even if a woman is not comfortable talking about whatever is going on. No doubt there would be some who would be resentful of or threatened by what may appear to be an intrusion, but even so, at least one knows they offered, just in case the reaction would be the opposite.

That said, I wouldn't feel bad for not having said something. But I think it's wonderful that you were thoughtful enough to be concerned and to even consider whether you should ask. I know if I were that woman and a man asked me if there was anything I needed or that he could do I would express my appreciation, if I didn't want to divulge my situation or I felt unsure of talking with him.
 
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