Monday, November 03, 2008

Victim of a random act of violence

Saturday night around 11pm, I was punched in the face from behind. While walking home from a friends house, a mere 4 blocks away, I became the target for a group of kids sitting around, bored, at a bus stop, with nothing to do but challenge each other. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was less than a block from home when a girl, who was with a group of kids, crossed the street and asked, "Excuse me, do you have the time?" I turned around and looked at her before holding my arm up and pulling up my coat sleeve to look at my watch. I told her it was 11:05, she thanked me, and I turned around to walk away. After a few steps, I could hear a few quick steps behind me me and a low grunt before feeling a blow to the face on the left side of my nose and just above my mouth. I could hear her grunting as she jumped a second time and swung, catching me further up on my nose and under my left eye. I bent down a bit and put my hand up to my face as she went back across the street, laughing.

I had my cell phone in my right coat pocket and pulled it out, dialing 911 as quickly as my shaking fingers could manage. I kept my eye on the group of kids at the bus stop as they got up and casually walked down the alley while I was on the phone. I told the 911 operator that I had just been assaulted at X cross street in SW DC. The person that did it was an African American female, no more than 5' tall and 14 yrs old. I told her what I was wearing so the police that had been dispatched could easily spot me. The first car arrived within 90 seconds, passed by, and did a loop through the alley and housing project. The second car arrived shortly after to take my statement. I didn't get a good look at the girl, so I couldn't give an accurate description of what she was wearing. I set a text to my GF and to the friend whose condo I had just left. My GF got the dog and came to meet me. While she was on her way, I got in one of the squad cars and we drove his route through the housing complex. His first time through, he said he stopped by one of the groups of kids hanging out and asked if there was any fighting going on. They said, 'no', but he said he heard them say 'it's hot out here' as he drove away. I figured it was code to those around that there were cops snooping around. He shined his light on 3-4 groups of people, but they were all two old for the kids that were at the bus stop.

We got back to the corner and my GF had arrived. The cop had called for an ambulance to look at the cut under my eye, but ended up canceling it. He got a report number and gave me a note card with a report of the incident as well as his cell phone number. Before leaving, he mentioned what time he's on duty and what days he's off in case I wanted to call to be escorted home from somewhere, which was very nice of him.

I couldn't sleep when I got home. I was reliving the events in my head and making myself nauseous with all the possibilities of what I could've done differently. I was fortunate that only one person and not the entire group approached me. I was fortunate that she didn't have a sharp object or anything in her hand when she hit me. I'm fortunate that she didn't try to rob me. But I wish I would've been more aggressive in my body language by walking faster, being more aware of my surroundings. I wish I could've gotten a better description of her and the group of kids. I wish I would've left sooner, not stayed as late, asked for a ride home, gone a different route.

Writing this now and reliving it again only two days later, still brings me to tears. I feel vulnerable and stupid. I feel less inclined to offer assistance if someone approaches me for directions or asks for the time. I am hesitant to turn around if some one says "Excuse me" from behind, no matter where I am at or what time of day. I am considering carrying pepper spray, too.

I've always had this "it will never happen to me" attitude. I've lived in a decent area of DC for almost 6 years with no problems. I've read and heard about crimes - assaults, break ins, etc - happening to others in the area, but it doesn't hit close to home until it happens to you or someone you know. It has happened to me, so now my thought process is when is it going to happen again?. I need to be prepared and vigilant.

The kids meant to scare me and they did a good job of it, but I can't continue to live in fear.

not too bad


At 1:53 PM, Blogger Xena said...

Holy cow, are you okay?

That sucks that someone can make you feel powerless so quickly.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger SuperSnail said...

Wow. I'm so sorry to hear that.

How senseless.
Glad you're okay.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Yeah, I'm fine physically, but I still replay it over and over in my mind. Mentally, though, copious amounts of alcohol and ice cream will help with my recovery ;)

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Jen!!!! I'm just getting caught up! I saw your gmail and thought it was a rugby shiner!!! I'm so sorry! I'm glad you are ok!


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