VIOLENCE IS NOT (except sometimes, maybe it is) THE ANSWER!

I was raised to believe very strongly that Violence Is Not Okay; that physical attack or aggression is Very Bad and worthy of punishment…when it was me who was doing it, anyway. When it was someone else who was doing it, to me, somehow my remit became one of requirement to ‘turn the other cheek’ or ‘try to talk to them about it’ or to ‘tell a teacher’…or just to accept, dumbly, that these things happen and there was nothing I could do about them.

I was raised a victim, and a victim I became at home and at school (and, arguably, remained) until such time as I learned to fight back, at which point grudging respect and always-too-short ceasefires were in order, though no relationships were ever healed because of it. Anger brewed beneath the surface and it simmers there still. It’s a side I’ve shown less frequently on the Blogosphere, but it exists, and increasingly (as life is somewhat ‘swirly and complicated’ at the moment) I find that my ‘bullshit-o-meter’ fills to the top rather rapidly.

Which is how, on Friday night, I ended up hitting some punk jackhole in the face. Twice.

Violence Is Not The AnswerI won’t ask you not to judge – I think that would be impossible, and also I kind of want you to – but I would ask you to continue reading first and to use your discernment in forming an opinion.

The Background:
I’d had a crappy day and a worse evening, and turned up at the cinema to meet my lovely friend SusieQ like a bear with a migraine. I did my best to laugh with her, but I was properly snarly and only began calming down once we were in the cinema, actually watching the movie (Guardians of the Galaxy, if you want to know – and yes, it was brilliant). By the time we came out, I was transformed. I was happy and laughing and felt heaps calmer and ready to face the weekend with a smile. However, that snarly mood must not have been altogether far below the surface, and it sure bubbled up again…

 

The Scene:
We were leaving the cinema, which is part of a big leisure complex with a multi-screen Odeon and several night-clubs. Lots of people were around and although it was dark out, it was well-lit and there didn’t appear to be any aggro going down. Until we were on our way out of the doors, walking side by side, when this jeering laughter made its way into our ears, along with very noisy, revolting ‘raspberry’ sounds (yes – the kind a toddler makes for fun) which came closer and closer and eventually a young man’s head appeared between us, looming over my friend (who is shorter than I am) and creating these vile sounds mere inches from her face.

She looked alarmed and laughed nervously. I was already a bit buzzy from the jeering, and was suddenly profoundly outraged that any person would do this to my friend. Rage descended and I turned around and delivered the biggest back-hander I could across his slimy, idiotic face, then stepped forward and slapped him again with my other hand. They weren’t very big slaps because the angles were all wrong.

He danced away and began shouting disgusting sexual insults and suggestions at us. She looked shocked but kind of pleased with my response. I was shaking with anger but very quickly decided that it was probably best not to try to catch him or engage with him. So we left. Quickly, but with forced nonchalance in our attitude to belie how shaken we both were.

On the way out, I noticed that there was a police van present (but nary a policeman in sight). I didn’t notice the jackass again, or I might have run him over with my car. I was also disgusted with myself at how ineffective my little, girly slaps had been, when really I wanted to beat the guy to a pulp.

 

The Aftermath:
Upon arriving home, I slammed in and announced VERYLOUDLY to Husby that I need to learn how to fight. I repeated this a few more times in a VERYLOUD voice as he tried to make sense of what had gone on. I expressed a lot of irritation at my lack of capability, posted a noisy rant on Facebook and didn’t know what to do with myself and all my pent-up nervous energy and adrenaline until TwinDaddy (thanks buddy) suggested that I might like to go and burn some of it off. So I asked Husby to accompany me to the playpark across the street, where I did some violent jumping on a trampoline, LOTS of pull-ups, a couple of turns on the zip-wire, hanging on with just my hands, and kicked the shit out of a clump of bamboo.

Then I came back home, had a cup of tea and simmered down a bit.

 

The Responses:
I only had one negative response to my Facebook rant – from an IRL friend, who was shocked and said that hitting people is never okay. Everyone else either checked that my friend and I were okay (we are, thanks), or offered advice about how to hit someone properly in that kind of situation (I should have it covered next time *winks*), or cheered me on for having defended my friend.

My response was to ping an email to the gym where I used to take boxing classes – I might take them up again.

 

The Considerings:
I have NO idea what motivated this idiotic attack from the guy. It may have been race-related (my friend is of Sri-Lankan heritage). It may have been sex-related (my friend is female) or it may simply have been because he was bigger and he could (my friend is very tiny). But to my mind, none of these is an acceptable reason for accosting someone. Ever.

Added to which, what kind of thicko tries to attack and intimidate someone who’s very clearly with a friend?!

I can only assume that *I* wasn’t the subject of the attack because I am taller and whiter (though still female). But what an IDIOT! Who even DOES that? I don’t think there’s a way to understand his mindset. It baffles me that anyone would treat another human being in such a repugnant way. I can only assume it gave him some kind of kudos in front of his mates, who must all have been equally dumb-assed if this kind of behaviour is how they rate a person.

I didn’t then, nor do I now, think that anything would have been achieved by trying to talk to this chap, or engage him on a verbal level. Yes, we could have kept our heads down and kept walking, but why should we have to walk away, doing nothing, being followed and harangued? That’s not on. It needed stopping, and I’m glad I found a way.

However, with regard to the violence aspect, I’m rather divided in my thinking. On the one hand I’d always prefer violence not to have to be resorted to (especially as it could so easily get out of control), but on the other hand, if the need arises I’d like to be able to do a proper job of it.

In this instance, the guy backed off and (to all intents and purposes) left us alone after that. His mates didn’t step in, and I didn’t end up in a scrap. My friend and I walked away shaken but unscathed, so what I did was effective.

But yes, technically *I* assaulted someone and could be prosecuted under British law (as I understand it) because I am the one who laid hands on another person in aggression.

 

My Conclusions:
I think that in this situation, violence was the answer. I also think I’m incredibly lucky that he didn’t hit back or get his mates involved. I’m also (probably) lucky the police weren’t around and didn’t decide that once again, it was the retaliator who needed policing, allowing the aggressor to walk free (sorry, police – my confidence in your abilities (or the system) is not particularly high). I’m also utterly convinced that it is NOT okay for anyone to be treated in this manner, and if my actions give this guy even a *moments* pause before accosting another person in this way (better yet, that he might think twice about it and choose not to), then I shall consider myself vindicated.

I also know this: I have always been the kind of person to act first and think later (I’d make a terrible Buddhist!) and yes – whatever the consequences – if I am with a friend another time, and some low-life attacks them, I will do the same: I will defend them to. the. end.

 

Your Conclusions:
Let me know – I’m listening and interested to hear your perspective. I’ve been called a hero and an idiot for this. I’ve been lectured about violence not being the answer, and I’ve been lauded for somehow handling the situation effectively. Do you think I was right to hit the guy? Do you think I should learn to think with my brain before my fists? Should I take up boxing or just thank my lucky stars?

 

 

 

 

 

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99 thoughts on “VIOLENCE IS NOT (except sometimes, maybe it is) THE ANSWER!

  1. OMG – how terrible! You were justified absolutely. Even if charges had been laid (isn’t that funny I thought you were an American), you surely would have gotten off. Whether he touched you or not, he was very aggressive in his behavior. And he knew it too – that’s why he backed off. Have fun at boxing class!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So late to the party here…I’ve been buried in sick this week. Plus, not being a Facebook-er, this is all news to me tonight. So does anything I add here matter? Likely not, but I feel compelled.
    Remember we were sort of comment-chatting about meditation not to long ago? Well, it ties in here. In a previous version of my life, I studied (and taught) martial arts. I knew how to fight and, forgive the brazen confidence for a second, I was pretty damn good at it. However. The main thing we were taught about our skills was that they were for defense only to protect ourselves or someone we loved (clearly, you were acting from that place – without a doubt). Like Christine said in here somewhere, we were trained to be highly skilled in our, uh, skills, but to find a non-physical way to diffuse any situation. Words. Walking away. Etc. The physical confrontation was to be used only as a last resort and in response to physical aggression acted upon us first. So…I guess my answer is similar to many others here. I would always hope to choose the non-violent approach. It is easy to understand how you might have been in a prime place emotionally, mentally, physically to act the way you did in the circumstance when presented.
    That said, I would always endorse self-defense classes, especially, like others have said, since you bike, etc., on your own and Lord knows who or what you could encounter in the Van, right? Proper training for the “just in case” is not a bad thing.
    Don’t know if anything here adds to the discussion. Just my thoughts.
    Finally – but certainly not the least of my thoughts – I am glad that the two of you are OK, as much as possible in the aftermath of such a thing – and my sincere hope is that the whole thing brings you to a next level, so to speak. Like has been said before – absorb it, learn from it, go forward from it. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa – I like that you weighed in anyway – even if you feel that what you express has been said before, YOU hadn’t said it, and I appreciate it 🙂

      I think what’s become increasingly apparent through the week is that what I did was explainable (though perhaps not excusable) and I need to learn to control my temper. What the bloke did was neither explainable nor excusable, but there you have it.

      I still feel frustrated at the idea that anyone should have to be physically accosted (as opposed to mentally or emotionally or whatever) before they are ‘allowed’ to respond with aggression as a strong deterrent. I’d also much rather everyone could just get along, but perhaps in this case it’s true to say that there are dickheads in the world, and sometimes I’m one of them.

      I shall try to learn from it and move forward. 🙂

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  3. I saw this a few days ago, and didn’t feel up to leaving a comment, because I was feeling in so much pain regarding the way things are going here in Scotland, with violent language taking over. I agree with Sarah (Ruddell Beach) and I love your response to her and that it got you thinking about what this man might have been like as a child. That is the way to heal this!
    I would leave a longer comment, but actually I suggest you read my latest post. It’s about the referendum, but much of it is pertinent here too.
    As for how to control your emotions, which you also mention in your reply to Sarah. I am working on a post on anger and how I stopped being afraid of mine. In short, I used to feel terrified that I could explode, and often felt close to breaking point. Then one day I was furious at one of my daughters and I realised I was fuelling my rage, that I was choosing to keep doing this. The moment I saw that, I knew I didn’t really want to go on fuelling the fire. I love her. So I stopped telling myself the story of her “crime” and went somewhere till I felt calm. I do feel anger sometimes yes, but it never feels uncontrollable, and it has never again come close to rage.
    I think anger sometimes come from a belief that we are powerless, at least mine often did, but it’s not true. It’s not necessarily going to be easy for you to move through this, any more than I’m finding it easy to take steps to find a better way to relate to people who ignore or dismiss what I say when I try to present some balance in the referendum name-calling that’s going on on FB. But it will be worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve stayed right out of the referendum business. I feel I have no place in it, but I’m sad it’s become violent and abusive. That really sucks. I shall be looking out for your posts – they sound VERY useful, and thanks for suggesting them to me.

      Good to know that I’m not the only one who has had struggles with anger, and better to know that it’s overcomable. Thank you 🙂

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  4. I have no idea what I would have done in that situation, but I am so very non-confrontational that I would have probably just grabbed my friend and gotten the hell out of the there. But who knows? I might have turned all Exorcist and screamed at him, my head spinning all the way around and bat-shit crazy written all over my face.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have two boys and I don’t believe violence is the answer either – and I let them know it. Glad you’re okay.
    It’s a good idea to take self-defense classes. I always wanted to take karate, but my mother felt it wasn’t very lady like. Yeah? How lady like is it to be assaulted? When I moved to NYC, my then boyfriend gave me this scary looking pokey thing made of iron. One end was for poking an assailant in the sternum and the other two stubby things were for poking their eyes out. Plus, there was a handy keyring. The thing scared me to death. I never could’ve used it. Luckily I didn’t have to find out. But I had that thing in my pocket with my hand on it for the first few months I was there. Made me feel a bit more secure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The whole world would be so much better if people weren’t dispicable to each other. If we only all CARED about each other and saw each person as another human being. Sarah said it really well when she said that the best way to respond to another person is from the heart, rather than the head or the fists, but I still don’t know how that would have looked in this circumstance.

      I’m glad you had the pokey thing and I’m glad you were safe. I think if I had had a weapon, I could have used it because I was so angry, and that’s a bad thing which I need to work on before my temper gets me into trouble.

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  6. This is a big conundrum. I also have been taught to never use physical force or violence. I would have probably told the guy to back off and ignore and walk away as fast as I could. Or said, what a jerk to my friend. If physical danger was imminent, though, you had no choice really. I’m glad you actually could use your hands. I think I might have been unable to do that. Self defense training is a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know *what* was imminent, honestly. He might have just stayed haranguing us, or he might have gotten physical, but that he was looming over us and RIGHT in her face was intimidating enough for me. It was too much, by far, and – yes, I was already predisposed to snap, perhaps – I think in the end what happened was for the best. We got out safely. And now I’m going to take boxing classes and see if that makes me feel more competent and assured.

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  7. Honestly, in that situation, I think you did the right thing. That guy was being a complete jerk, and — while I’m generally a proponent of thinking first and acting later — in some cases (potentially this one, IMO), it might be dangerous to carefully consider your options first. Who knows what might have happened if you hadn’t acted in the way you did. Perhaps if you hadn’t scared him off, you or your friend may have gotten hurt. Good for you for standing up for your friend. I’m not a big fan of violence either, but you didn’t act with excessive force, and you protected yourself and your friend. I think it’s easy for people to say that you should have defended yourself verbally first…they weren’t there, in that moment — they weren’t the ones who felt threatened. Perhaps I’m biased (my dad is a martial artist, so for as long as I can remember, he’s taught me self-defense techniques and has stressed their importance), but in my mind, you did what you had to do, and I commend you for it!

    Glad everything turned out all right!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, K – and it’s good to hear that your dad also backs up the ‘being able to defend oneself’ idea. I think that’s going to need to happen, if only so I can exude confidence and not ever *actually* have to do it. Here’s hoping!

      I hope he didn’t try any funny business with anyone else, after my response. That’s my main worry. And yes – SO glad we were safe, because it could have gone differently.

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  8. There has already been so much said here and it’s all pretty sound. I think your mood paired with the asinine actions of the punk just provoked a knee jerk reaction and you slapped him. Twice. My first instinct would have been protective and defensive as well so I get that. I have to agree with some of the others in that this situation could have gone south very quickly and you would have been ill prepared. I would take Don’s suggestion (and any others) that learned self defense would be a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • On it – I’m going to a trial class tomorrow and then we’ll see where things go from there. If nothing else, I’ll get fit 🙂

      But yes – the bad mood had a lot to do with how quickly I snapped. Gotta work on that.

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    • I don’t think I hurt him at all, I just shocked him. I didn’t think of pepper spray – I used to carry a tiny can of body spray around to aim for the eyes if I ever needed to, but the day never arose. That’s a thought.

      Yes – HUGE relief when he backed off.

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  9. Well, my immediate response was ‘NO!!’- simply because you put yourself and your friend in danger, by raising your hand to him I thank GOD the guy was so out of it to really take that slap and make it something really really bad… most jerks wouldn’t STAND for a woman to hit them, especially in the face, especially TWICE. He may have included his mates, or really went after you both with his own hands. Obviously his behavior was out of control, so that leads me to believe HE is out of control… that is what scares me about the risk you took there.

    I totally get your anger, your response, and your defensive stance. I HATE that you and your precious friend had any contact with such a menace to society and women apparently. I only wish you had called 911 right after and got a good look at him and put the police on it.

    Just glad you weren’t hurt physically in any way. Just relieved you’re safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, me too.

      To be honest, it didn’t even cross my mind to call the police. I genuinely do not think they would have lifted a finger to help.

      But no, the situation from the offset wasn’t in control, and we were lucky. I’m glad I stood up to him, and I’m gladder he backed off at that point.

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  10. My main concern is that the idiot would have retaliated and you and your friend would have been hurt. I’m pretty sure I would have brushed him off and walked away, but I would have wished that I hit him. I understand both sides of the coin – I don’t think violence is the answer, but I hate to see women being victims. I also hate seeing people being idiots, and I’m sorry you had a run-in with one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – it’s one of those awful ‘there are many different answers to this’ kind of things. I think in the end I’m just pleased we were okay, and that things didn’t escalate.

      I’ve calmed down now, and with distance, I think hitting him more would NOT have been the right thing to have done. But I don’t think just walking away would have been, either.

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  11. Back when I was in college, I took a short seminar (a couple of hours) on self-defense. They told us several things to do if someone attacks us physically. For example, some good hard thumbs to the eyeballs was an effective way to stop an aggressor. The thing that stuck with me the most, though, was the part he said about trying to do it without aggression first. Throw the person off with something completely bizarre. He knows of one person who listened, and when she was attacked, she got down on her hands and knees and started mooing like a cow. The attacker didn’t know what to do with the situation and left.
    Don’t know that this is relevant in any way, but it’s what came to mind this morning. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I see enough violence in my day to day life that I’m sort of immune to it. I’m certainly not shocked by it, sadly. I don’t know that I sensed your level of intimidation on this particular incident. This guy sounded like he was being a drunk idiot, and the day you had affected your reaction. There’s only so much stupid a person can take in any given day, so maybe you had your fill. I can’t say that I’m upset with you for reacting like you did, but if you’re going to hit somebody, do make sure you’re doing it right. People are so crazy nowadays that it’d be nothing for that man to hit you and your friend back, I guess that’s my only concern. If you start something, you best make sure you can finish it, girl! You done good to protect your friend, and the police would have probably just laughed at you and been no help anyway. Maybe this bloke with think twice next time he feels the urge to act like a jackass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was kind of hoping you’d show up here, Don – I appreciate your input, and thank you.

      I’m planning to make sure that I can finish what I start another time (and hoping that I don’t need to go down that path in the first place). And that I learn to be a bit more detached (if possible) from flipping out so quickly. I had definitely had my fill of stupid on that day, but that’s really no excuse.

      I don’t know what the police would have done. They did pretty much nothing when someone shot Niece and Neff’s bedroom window in, so I’m not really that confident they would have helped much.

      And yes – I hope this chap decides to think the better of ever doing this kind of crap again.

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  13. I have a rule I live by and that is I never start anything. I hate confrontations but if you come into my personal space then I have a problem. It would be different if you started it. You didn’t know what they were going to do. You was protecting you and your friend! Glad you’re ok! Good hits though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Crap hits, annoyingly, but effective. And I think what others have said about being *capable* of and *looking like* I can protect myself will be different than needing to resort to violence another time. I hope. Though I hope there’s NOT another time, yaknow?

      I don’t start things with strangers, FORSURE! With family is different 😉

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  14. I’ve got your back on this one!! I don’t think that violence often is the answer. But I DO think that sometimes it is. There are moments in time when you have to escalate the situation to end it. That is what you did. When you feel unsafe (I would have felt very unsafe in your place), you do what you need to do to protect yourself and ensure you get out of there without anything else happening. Sure, he might have left it at the sexual harassment…but he might not have. I’m glad you didn’t have to find out. Slap on my friend.

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  15. I will not judge you for this…I think he deserved what he got and I understand that you wish you could have inflicted more damage. I kind of wish you did too.

    And here is my big but…BUT…you COULD have been beaten by this person. You could have gotten really hurt. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have done what you did…but you also could have ended up injured.

    Personally, I am all for you learning how to hit better.

    But NOT with you car..hahahaha…even if it seems like a good idea at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No – NOT with my car! I’m glad I didn’t have the opportunity, and definitely need to work on a few little anger issues, I think, like being able to control my behaviour in spite of my feelings.

      I’m going to learn, and hopefully having that knowledge and the ATTITUDE of owning that knowledge, will be a sufficient deterrent, and if not, then hey, I’d be able to take care of myself.

      BUT…your ‘but’ is completely understandable and I know it could have ended horribly differently. So yes, that’s a valid concern and one I also hold.

      Thank you for the support, and (dare I say it?) positive judgement 🙂

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      • I am only giving you the lecture that my husband gives to me A LOT. I’ve never hit someone, but I will jump in if there is a situation where someone is being abused and if someone is very rude to me, I get verbal. And loud.

        Once, I made a man jump in his car and lock his door. It felt good.

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  16. You know how I feel. I left you a 10-step comment on facebook about how to throw an effective punch.

    I’m not sure how I feel about whether it was or was not warranted in THIS case. I wasn’t there. I didn’t *feel* the energy or the level of intimidation. But something tells me, Lizzi, that if you felt this jambroni needed a punch, there was probably a good reason.

    I believe there are 2 times, for sure, when a good punch is warranted.
    1. If a woman is being assaulted
    2. If a young child is being tortured and teased mercilessly at school. This will continue for the entire rest of their school days and can scar them for life. I’ve seen it happen, too many times.

    I am going to write about this as well. I hope you don’t mind! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is a tough situation and with all the responses that you have received so far I think that whatever I might say would be redundant but for that everyone else has said I strongly believe in self defence. You should take classes in self defence if for no other reason than you would learn how to restrain a potential attacker without the use of violence and you can’t be arrested for defending yourself while not using violence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a thought. Though I’m less keen on the idea of being even closer to a jackass like this…I’d rather make him back off. I’ll see what they say. I’m going to boxing class later this week.

      And no comment is redundant, even if it’s a repeat of another’s sentiments – I’m keen to get a breadth of opinion, and at the moment (especially with Karen’s comment about her experiences as a social worker) I feel quite content with what I did, even if I technically broke the law in doing it.

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  18. Okay, first off: I used to be a social worker at a university, and one of the things I did was teaching young women how to identify and react to assault threats. From your description, this creep was clearly attempting to assess whether you and your friend were “assault-able”–I’ve seen guys repeatedly bump women with shopping carts, I’ve seen them do intimidating things like getting in a woman’s face, I’ve seen them get too physically close and refuse to back off…it’s all part of the pre-assault “vetting” process.

    If the woman in question doesn’t react assertively, the behaviour will escalate, and then she really will have a problem.

    So yes, you were absolutely right to respond with some force. In fact, it’s probably just as well that you didn’t hit him so hard as to cause injury, because that wouldn’t have held up in a court of law. But in the court of the streets, giving him a couple of backhanders was just the right level of force to convince him that you two weren’t rape-bait.

    Like you, I’m opposed to violence. But I’m even more deeply opposed to victimisation–and that’s what was happening here. I say good on you. And go register for some self-defense training (and take your friend with you). It’ll help give you the confidence that you need; and women who know they can defend themselves give off a very noticeable “don’t fuck with me” vibe. The interesting thing is that women who’ve learned to defend themselves rarely need to actually use it.

    –K.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Karen, thank you so much…that’s hugely helpful, and if that’s what he was doing, then it certainly makes a little more sense of why the HELL he’d be doing it at all. What a prat. In that case I *really* hope that what I did meant that he didn’t do anything to any other women that night, and that he’ll make better choices in future. What a repulsive thought 😦

      I felt pretty awful coming away – definitely the way I used to feel being bullied in school, so even though I might have had the last say in this, it didn’t feel good. It felt very dark and angry and I wanted to make him feel the way he’d made me feel (I can’t speak for my friend) though I think all things considered, what happened was the best outcome.

      I’m going to boxing class on Thursday. I’ll see if she wants to join me.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I understand your reaction, but it was probably a bit excessive. Looming over someone and blowing raspberries is annoying, immature, and quite rude, but I don’t think it’s sufficient provocation for physical assault. Had he groped either one of you or continued harrassing you then I think you’d have solid footing to stand on with your response. In the eyes of the law, you were the one who was wrong in that scenario.

    I’m just glad you both got out of it okay. Often times violence begets violence and had he responded in kind the situation could have deteriorated quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Twindaddy!

      I very nearly agree with what you say and without oversimplifying, let me say that you and I probably had very different reactions reading her story.

      Yes, blowing raspberries is childish and boorish and stupid and something a toddler would do. As a male, you probably wouldn’t see much of a threat in that action. (Not being male, I couldn’t know this for sure..it’s just a suspicion) Being female, I would have felt very threatened. An adult male, who is willing to get close enough to me to actually spit on me? I would see that as extremely aggressive and it would have frightened me and I would have felt like physically defending myself in that situation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right. I have no idea what it’s like being a woman when a man does something significantly stupid like that. I’ve never been put in any of the various positions of vulnerability women often times are by men. I don’t judge Lizzi for what she did. The dude kinda deserved it for acting like a total ass. Still, the guy could have reacted completely differently and things could have ended up much, much worse.

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  20. I think you responded the only way you could have in that moment. I wish I had your courage! I think ALL women need to learn self defense so if anyone acts like you did (he was the actual aggressor, but the way) we would have the skills and ability to protect ourselves. Cos that’s what you were doing. I’m very small too, and have learned to be aware of what’s around me. Sad way to be…but you go, girl! I got your back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – it sucks, and this is truly the first time I’ve ever, EVER felt so threatened in public – in a VERY public, well-populated area, no less, which is utterly ridiculous. There is no need for it and at SOME point people gotta realise (I really hope) that everyone’s got to be part of keeping everyone else safe. Good grief. And I don’t know that it was courage so much as outrage and built-up anger. But in this case it worked, and no – there was nothing else in that moment that I could think of doing. Thank you 🙂 I hope you never end up on the receiving end of crap like this.

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  21. You defiantly need to take up some type of defensive sport. Not only will this help teach you how to better defend yourself (had the situation got worse) but it will also help you deal with your pent up anger.

    That said I am glad that you and your friend are okay, it could really have turned out worse. And I am really glad that the police did not apear to arrest you. In which case this Asshole would have needed to stand trial and admid openly to the world that a girl beat him up…… 🙂

    I don’t know why people just can’t go about respecting eachother…..

    But it does seem that a good slap was what this guy needed…… and probably not what he expected. Idiot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s the saddest thing of all – that people can’t just go about respecting each other. There is NO possible reason to treat someone the way he treated her. EVER. And I know people do worse things to each other and it tears me up, because WHY!

      Ack. Boxing classes begin on Thursday. But I will also learn to control my anger, if I can. And yes – I was very lucky this time that it didn’t turn out worse.

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  22. Well, you probably already know what I am going to say…. I don’t think responding with smacking the guy was “skillful” (I truly love that word). Given that it was in a public place, I don’t get the sense that you guys were in immediate danger. Yes, his behavior was disgusting and inappropriate, and “rationalizing” with him probably wouldn’t have worked, but I don’t think the physical response was necessary. I think there is a space between “turning the other cheek” and responding with violence. Just because you don’t lash out doesn’t mean you are condoning the behavior. Yeah, it sucks that sometimes we have to move to avoid someone, but it is what it is. The perspective I take on this is that people who act this way do so out of ignorance — not the knowledge kind, but ignorance of connection and ignorance of understanding how our actions affect others. Smacking them is not the way we relieve others of ignorance. In fact, nothing WE do can do that. We cannot force others to behave how we wish they would or force them to self-reflect. But maybe if this guy realizes every time he acts like a jackass he’s all by himself…

    You asked whether we should respond with our brains or our fists…. I guess it’s more about what’s in between — and responding from the heart.

    Regardless, you did what you did in the moment. Like others have said, don’t ‘beat yourself up about it’ — I think the important thing is that you are reflecting and considering 🙂 and wondering what you could have done. The whole world is medicine, and this was a very helpful dose of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really like that thought, Sarah – thank you – to try to respond with the heart rather than the fists or the brain. I don’t know how that would have looked in this situation, but I’ll certainly think on it. If I think carefully now, if I take that guy back a number of years, to childhood, I would say that the kind of behaviour he was exhibiting would be a cause for some discipline, yes, but also extra love and attention and positive input, because a child behaving like that is usually very sad or angry about something, to make them think it’s an appropriate way for them to be.

      I take your point though – and I don’t think that hitting him will help him to change his mindset, by any means. But if it deters him from behaving so appallingly to someone else another time, so much the better.

      I’ll keep pondering on this one – all the input is very helpful, but what is certain is that I need to find a way to be more in control of my feelings.

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  23. In my imagination, I would’ve sent an elbow to his throat, or knee to his nuts. Realistically? I probably would’ve been in a blind panic and paralyzed with no other thought besides ‘not safe. bad. walk faster.’ so…even though we come from similar backgrounds and I don’t think violence should be the answer either, I applaud your being a badass, and being proactive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Badass…as long as no-one got hurt. Otherwise just an ass…it’s a thin line. But I would always prefer to not feel this was all I could resort to. It’s odd…I felt intimidated only for a very short while before I got mad. I think you would be safer though…walking away is probably what I ‘should have’ done. 🙂

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  24. Good of you to defend your friend. I feel, however, that your slapping him was more because of the crappy mood…it would probably have been good to verbally attack him first and if he didn’t get the point through his thick head still…then give him a tight slap. And some self-defense lessons would be good..take care..hope your friend is okay too..

    And yes I do agree with you…whatever might be the reason…he had no damn right to behave the way he did..

    Liked by 1 person

    • His behaviour was senseless and beyond bizarre! I cannot begin to fathom where that kind of attitude would arise.

      I’m sure a verbal response first would probably have been a more sensible pathway, and yes – I suspect that the crappy mood had a lot to do with how quickly I lost my temper and resorted to violence. I’m not good on a short fuse and tend to lose the power of speech pretty quickly. Bit rubbish for someone who styles herself a writer.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I guess in the end that my friend and I are both okay is the main thing. But I might well follow up with some kind of classes.

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  25. Scary story. Nice of you to protect your friend, but what if it had escalated after your punch? I shudder to think. Personally, I always avoid crowded places because they are hotbeds for asshats and mayhem. It’s far easier to avoid trouble than to “handle” it once it starts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – if it had escalated I would rapidly have found myself out of my depth and unable to cope. I am very fortunate it didn’t. And I can see the sense in avoiding crowded places, but that said, I don’t feel like I should have to feel I can’t go to the cinema on a Friday night for fear of intimidation and asshattery from strangers. Especially not with a police presence on site, which quite frankly was NOT good enough.

      I would always rather avoid trouble, but this particular trouble sought us out for no reason at all. I wish it hadn’t. I wish this young man had an ounce of decency in him. I just hope he re-thinks before he does that kind of thing to anyone else.

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  26. I didn’t respond on your FB post because I wanted to hear the story first.
    I agree, some self-defense classes would be a great idea, especially since you go off running and biking by yourself so much.
    Plus, perhaps in self-defense class the instructor will tell you to only use aggression when it is absolutely necessary. You got lucky this time. You started something you could not have finished if he chose to fight back. Although he was a complete ass, there is no law against being an ass. There are laws against physical aggression.
    While I’m probably wasting my fingers, I’ll tell you anyway to just let this go. Try not to replay it over and over. Do not start chastising yourself if several of us tell you that you probably should have kept your slap in your pocket. Learn from the situation and move on. We are all giving you this advice from the comfort of our living rooms. Who knows what we would have done in a similar situation? I very well could have punched him and regretted it later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not beating myself up (haha – as Jana said) about it. I feel quite peaceful about it – mostly because somehow I got away with it – not in terms of that it was something I *should* have gotten away with, but because the situation didn’t worsen and I haven’t been prosecuted. I accept that as far as the law was concerned, I was in the wrong. And that I was probably stupid to have started something I couldn’t possibly have backed up if he or his friends had waded in with more physical aggression, though I would still have gone down swinging, I was that incredibly angry.

      I suspect you’re right about an instructor advising aggression only when necessary. But to have that option, you’ve first got to be able to *do* the whatever-it-is, and that’s where I feel a lack. Plus, yes, you’re right – I do go off on my own for exercise and it would probably be worthwhile knowing anyway.

      Thanks for your understanding. I’m glad I told the whole story now.

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  27. Thoughts. So many thoughts.
    1. Glad to have clarification on that Facebook post. And I think TwinDaddy was right on, and I’m glad some extra activity helped.
    2. I don’t think I’ve resorted to violence since childhood so I can’t compare exactly. But I have acted out, if you will, at a time of great stress, and paid a penalty for it. I don’t regret it one whit. Not the tiniest of whits. It did me good, and it did Brian good, and I don’t know if we would have been able to move on without that. I have the mildest of hopes that the things I said sunk in maybe the tiniest of bits into the minds of my dull, and morally vacuous listeners. But it’s not likely.
    3. So, on some level, I think the two situations are comparable. Someone acting like a complete asshole, you defending your friend, doing something that could be punishable by law. Not regretting it. It possibly (though only a bit) making a difference.
    4. I’m inclined to think your actions might (just might) stick with that person. No great turn-around in behavior but maybe a physical response that he considers again? One can hope.
    5. I think there are times when we are driven to the brink. Our actions are not commendable, but they may have been necessary. ‘Course that sounds like a mighty dangerous excuse so I am now doubting that statement. But I don’t think you’ll make a habit of this behavior, and I do want you to know I understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sarah. And yes – I think there are parallels to be drawn between your situation and mine, though arguably your actions were rather nobler and more calculated than mine. But no – I’m sure neither of us intends to make a habit of it! That said, if these circumstances were to arise again in a similar way, *would* we respond differently? I’m not sure. I like to think that I’d think first a bit another time, but I honestly can’t say that I would (with any degree of certainty).

      I do respond by lashing out when my feelings get too intense with anger. It’s something I’ve done since childhood, and words were never, ever enough then, either, in the heat of the moment. It’s not good, and it doesn’t sit well – it has often landed me in trouble or broken things, but this is the first time I’ve hit a stranger.

      The advice to get the pent-up energy out was HUGELY good and very necessary. Ouf!

      Thanks for your understanding. I appreciate it.

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  28. I’m more of a verbal assault type of girl — I probably would have responded by telling him to back the fuck off. HOWEVER, I think it is an EXCELLENT idea to take some self-defense/offense classes — because you never know what might happen. What if you hadn’t been in a populated, well-lit area? What if he hadn’t just been a drunk asshole and he had something more violent on his mind?

    In a perfect world, there would be no violence and we would all respond with kindness and compassion to every situation. But it’s not a perfect world — and if the choice is to live in fear and never defend oneself or to draw the line on how far someone is allowed to go when they are behaving like an asshole — then I choose to set my boundaries in a VERY clear manner.

    You responded how you responded — there is no right or wrong to it. You did what you instinctually felt you needed to at the time. Don’t beat yourself up about it (HA!) or allow others to!

    Liked by 1 person

    • *grins* yes, there’s that. And in this instance, it was effective and meant that my friend and I walked away. In that sense at least, I feel quite at ease with what happened.

      In a perfect world, I absolutely agree – there would also be no assholes attempting to harass strangers outside cinemas, and none of it would ever be called into question, which would be far nicer, really! I reckon I need to get better at yelling at people and appearing scary without actually doing anything to lash out. I tend to lose my words when I’m very angry.

      But yes – if the situation had been worse, I still would only have had my pathetic, girly slaps. And I don’t think that’s good enough.

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  29. Attack is a strong word for blowing raspberries in someone’s face and being a rude asshat. People are going to be assholes, and unfortunately this guy is probably still an asshole today. But making it physical is asking for furthest problems. The world is full of too much violence anymore, and for me at least I want to get home safe. Maybe with my pride a little fucked up, maybe with a whole lot of anger, but home still.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it was the intimidation of it all as well. He was looming right over her and yes – being an incredibly rude asshat. I doubt he’s changed. *sigh* I have absolutely no patience whatsoever for bullies. I am sick to the verybackteeth with them, and whilst I wish they understood common sense or decency, I have dwindling faith that they ever will.

      I didn’t even think about getting home, or how the situation might have gotten worse. Perhaps I should try to think more of that.

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      • Everyone is going to react differently. Perhaps with my past, the flight instinct is way too strong. Violence just seems to escalate in insane ways these days. It’s why I worry about telling my children to physically fight back. Those can be the things that lead to someone bringing a knife or gun to school. It’s terrible that my thoughts even have to go there now, but they do. And when I think of situations like this, all I think is that two women out on their own, a group of men…that could have ended very badly. Public places don’t mean safe places anymore.

        I’m very glad you and your friend are okay, and I agree with some of the other comments that there really isn’t a right or wrong answer for this sort of thing. I keep going back to the “People suck” mentality.

        Liked by 1 person

        • People suck. Definitely. There was no call for what he did, and I absolutely recognise that my response was borne of instinct, bad mood, and a certain degree of stupidity. I was so very outraged that ANYONE would treat my friend so appallingly that I snapped and I completely own that.

          I’m just lucky I guess, that in the UK there is less likelihood of someone carrying a weapon, though it happens increasingly. And yes, one woman trying to take on a whole group of lairy blokes would have been an entirely different matter, with a much worse outcome.

          I think you’re right to tell your children not to fight back, but there MUST be other ways…I just wish I knew what they were, because bullies learn early on that they can get away with it because people are scared of them, and I guess that leads to this kind of behaviour 😦

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  30. I am glad you are ok, and I am glad your friend is ok.

    Self-defense classes are a good thing for everyone, I think. If anything , it also teaches about asserting yourself when put in those situations.

    Would I have done that? No. Too many other things could have gone wrong from there that I may not have been able to control.

    What would I have done? I can’t really say…probably mouthed off to get the attention off my friend, but I don’t know what else.

    (I am feeling lousy, so I may come back when I am thinking clearer with more thoughts on how I would have handled it. Maybe)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks.

      I find I’m not good at engaging in verbal sparring. I just don’t have it in me to mouth off or be vicious to someone verbally. Perhaps I should have tried that. I didn’t think – at all – about what might have gone wrong or how the whole situation could have ended up verybad, so yes, I’m lucky it didn’t turn out worse.

      Sorry you’re feeling lousy. Hope that changes for the better soon, and thanks for responding anyway.

      Like

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