Last night I was the victim of a completely senseless attack on my personal space, and that’s putting it mildly!
Picture the scene – a female, walking alone, in the dark, it was 10pm. A group of 8, maybe 10, grown men and women were walking in the opposite direction, towards me. They didn’t seem very threatening, I mean it’s a Tuesday night, not exactly Friday night madness. I felt someone’s eyes on me so I looked up, and briefly made eye contact with a man at the front of the pack. He stared at me. His eyes were full of venom. I’ll never forget them. Piercing blue, big black pupils, they made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Then, out of nowhere, he threw a drink all over me, right in my face. Sticky, sickly-sweet alcohol of some sort all over my face, my hair, my expensive headphones, my coat, even my handbag.
It was so surreal it took me a second to comprehend what was happening. I took off my headphones. The group just kept walking as if nothing had happened. I was so shocked, but I heard myself shouting back at him:
‘What’s your f****** problem?’.
Dripping wet, I could even taste the sticky drink on my lips, which repulsed me. I was so shocked, I was shaking.
Someone at the back of the group, hearing me shouting, asked what was going on. When I angrily told him that his friend had thrown a drink in my face he looked appalled, and he apologised. Yet the group just kept walking, their inebriated friend leading the way.
At this point I realised that I had drink all over me and I was especially pissed off about my headphones, I love them, and they were expensive. I hoped they wouldn’t be destroyed by getting wet.
Then I really started shaking. The reality kicking in. What if they had all been aggressive? What if my shouting at the guy triggered more aggression from him, or from the whole pack? I could have been in very real danger.
You see, I have this problem where I accept full responsibility for myself and my behaviour, my actions and inaction. I have this issue where I analyse every situation to see where I could have behaved better, responded better, seen into my crystal ball and simply known what was coming so that I could have avoided it somehow. So…that…I…could…have…prevented this!!!
What’s wrong in our society that a woman instantly worries about what she’s done wrong? What was I wearing? Had I been drinking? Did I provoke this stranger somehow? How did I cause this? Too much eye-contact? Not enough eye-contact? Not smiling enough? Smiling too much? Was it my fault?
Today, I’m trying to process my feelings about this situation. The injustice that this is not a crime, but it might have been if there was any damage to my property, then it would be classed as criminal damage.
Why aren’t we protecting our women (and others…) from this random, aggressive behaviour? Why do the pubs sell more alcohol to people who’ve clearly had too much? Why do friends watch their friends get into this state? Join them, even? Why is this assault not considered a crime under Irish law? How far does it have to go before someone intervenes?
I was told to be grateful that it wasn’t a glass or a bottle thrown in my face, or worse. I was advised to mind myself, to get a male in my family to pay this guy a visit and make him regret it.
OK, so the victim is the one that has to deal with it, let it go, be more vigilant outside of their home, or be responsible for finding someone to stand up for them with some vigilante behaviour? I know this is ‘just’ a drink in the face, but seriously, why aren’t we stopping the behaviour at this point? Why do we wait until this guy DOES glass someone, or worse. There is no doubt in my mind that he must be abusive in his relationships, this random act towards a complete stranger can’t be completely out of the blue. Does his partner have to deal with emotional or physical abuse? Is he/she simply told it could be worse? Be thankful it’s not worse? Just placate him if he’s been drinking?
I could be angry ALL day at the law, Irish drink culture, the pubs and clubs that serve WAY too much alcohol to people, and everyone around this man that turns a blind eye.
But then I got to thinking – the real issue here is this man’s inability and/or unwillingness to deal with his shit!! Get off your head on alcohol and cocaine rather than deal with what’s happening in your life, sure… that will end well! Suppress your emotions and then let them explode out of you when you’re drunk?! Attack random, lone, females in the street because you have some stuff going on that you find difficult to deal with? Really?
I’ve seen and heard a lot of talk recently about crime and violence in Raheny, and the rest of Dublin. What’s the solution? Corporal punishment? Denial? Lock up your women and your children? And the men have to all become heroes and vigilantes, is that it?
The only real solution I can see to everything that’s going on on this crazy planet at the moment is enlightenment. Plain and simple, every individual needs to take responsibility for their shit. And for their behaviour. Stop deflecting, projecting, manipulating, intimidating, beating, suppressing, objectifying, and take responsible steps towards looking after your mental health.
Wake up and smell the alcoholism Ireland.
Drowning your sorrows is not responsible.
Taking your shit out on other people, on the street, or behind closed doors, is not ok.
We all have our demons to face, but there are so many tools available nowadays to help us process, to help us cope, and to help us move forward. It’s not ‘woo woo’, it’s no longer even optional, as far as I’m concerned. We are all in this together and we each need to take responsibility. We need to start with taking responsibility for ourselves.
Throwing a drink in a strangers face is inexcusable. But I can’t control that guy’s behaviour. Instead I’ll go away and think about what I can do, as I always do. I will sound and chant in my car, I will meditate, I will talk to friends about how this made me feel, I will be responsible. And maybe I’ll to back to Capoeira classes again, so I can kick this guy’s ass if this ever happens again!