The police scared the bejesus out of me today. They issued a warning about sucker punches. (Press report here.) There have been ten in the past year—three of them fatal and two leaving the victims alive but forever severely altered.
All of these attacks have been in our “entertainment district,” two blocks from where I live and on a street I regularly walk.
The attackers are usually drunk, from out of town and involved in an altercation at the time of the attack. All the attacks have been on innocent bystanders and all the attacks have occurred at night. Two of the victims have been seniors.
Thirty years ago, I was held up and forced to drive at knifepoint to a hidden location by a madman. For twenty-two minutes, I felt nothing but terror then, when a garbage truck came by, I took my chance.
With blood and tears streaming down my face, I screamed at the garbage men for H-E-L-P and they did not stop. They called out to me, “Call the police.” And they drove away.
To this day, I feel nothing about my attacker. He was crazy; I excuse him. The police charged him with kidnapping (minimum: 25 years). I never went to therapy and I should have to process the deep, passionate loathing I have for the garbage men.
After the event, I went to work. I was explaining my state in a good mental space. I can remember everything about the room I was in. But when my friend David arrived and called out Hello from the hallway, as soon as I heard his voice I exited this world.
I went somewhere. I remember nothing. My coworkers called the police and they brought me back to a state wherein I could see and speak. They wanted to know things about what had happened obviously. They were faultlessly kind and compassionate and I felt nothing but love. One of them had been a student of mine in junior high.
I returned their kindness in my tone and I remember I kept touching one of them, but I was still a wreck. I recognized that they were doing the right thing as they asked me questions about the man and all he had said and done, but I explained to them that I really had no interest in catching them.
I explained that punishing him would do nothing for me. Instead, I explained that I wanted to go to the Vancouver Rape Centre where I felt women would understand my terror and comfort me. I still wish I had done that. I wanted comfort, not retribution.
The police were concerned about other people, not me. Keeping the crazy man away from more people but I was concerned about myself I am ashamed to say. I needed help first before I helped others. But I persevered.
I could not go to court. But if I didn’t I would be charged with contempt. It still seems unfair to me that you are forced to face your attacker. Can you imagine my empathy with victims of rape? It is deeper than deep.
It felt scary on the street last night. And I only went half a block to the 711.
My condo is my heaven. I live less than a block from the hospital where I had my tonsils out at age four and I am a 30-minute walk from the hospital in which I was born.
These idiots are coming in from out of town. They have seen this sucker-punch craze reported on TV. They are copy-cat criminals and some of them are killers. It scares me.
My father used to beat me—not too often, but with an uncontrollable anger and spewing venom—and I grew up in fear of men who might discover I was gay. Gay bashing and bullying was big back then. So it is hard to be tough. It is hard to overcome fear. I am an introvert. But I cannot let these testosterone and liquor-filled assholes that sucker punch innocent civilians drive me from my home