… and I’ve just stepped out of it! A young woman who’s a regular busker in the mall – had a ‘disagreement’ with her male companion. It turned VERY ugly, very quickly, and when a fella in a suit tried to intervene – things got much hotter, and on request from the young lass, the gentleman walked away.
I was watching carefully from the sidelines initially – caught up in it – grateful that this bloke intervened first, because that took some of the heat out of the situation. I had been approaching the noise in front of me as I walked up the mall. I was barely registering it – and suddenly – it’s there and I almost trip over the situation! He’s angry – REAL angry – he’s loud, violent, verbal, and going off! She’s crying, frightened, not able to defend herself, and if he swings – he’d really hurt her.
I was watching, and it became clear in an instant that this wasn’t an unusual situation between these two – or for the young lady at least (and that scared me even more). I did a lap of the gawkers (of which I guess – I was one) to keep moving, kept an eye on the young fella and looked for an opening. I was beaten to it (and I have to say thankfully for purely selfish reasons) as the man in the suit got in first. He tried, but it was far too ugly, and clearly this was what the young bloke wanted – perhaps even needed – because their was latent anger there, and he was ready to blow! It didn’t – but the distraction meant I could get closer – and had time to call the police. I then saw others were moving on that front before me, so put the phone down and simply interjected myself in on the situation.
I may as well have been invisible. So too, could have been another bloke who stepped into help the girl, but between his stepping in and mine – the immediate anger had started to bleed off from the moment, if only for a couple of seconds. It didn’t take long to come back though, and both myself and the other fella stayed close to the young lass, simply providing a presence and a reassuring voice. It was noisy and scary I guess, but it wasn’t physical yet, so we stayed in there as best we could.
I can tell you quite honestly that I hate this type of situation. It’s angry it’s personal, it’s bloody ugly to the ‘n’th degree, and it’s frightening as all buggery! The ‘couple’ went different ways then, and the other fella tried to get the girl to leave the scene. He even offered to put her in a taxi, and pay for her to get home safe. A bloody nice and generous gesture. She was too upset to react well to this and turned him down. So he left too – feeling I guess like he’d done all he could. I stayed – because it wasn’t over yet – and frankly I was scared shitless for the girl (I was scared shitless for myself – but you never realise these things until AFTER the event!). I’m not going to go into the reasons, but there were factors associated with the ‘why’ she couldn’t get away from this bloke herself, and the reason she was in the mall in the first place. It just wasn’t as simple as being able to walk away, and come back another day.
He came back – and it started again. Mostly loud, physical in that he grabbed her and held her roughly, but it never went past this – I simply stood there, close enough to step in between them if I had too. It now involved money, and as this was bandied about, it of course got hotter. I was worried that if it didn’t come undone before too long, or the cops didn’t bloody arrive, I was going to have to put this young fella on the ground – he was that frightening! I managed to convince them to step away form each other, and she walked away. I checked on the young bloke – but he wasn’t following. I raced after the lass – but she was off, and she retreated to a lift – heading for an upstairs public toilet – and dissappeared behind stainless steel doors. Gone – and it was over.
I went back out to the young bloke to check on him. I’m a youth worker, so I can’t afford to take sides, I don’t have the luxury (nor the disposition) to judge people or a shitty situation, simply by what’s initially presented to me. I had to see if he was still angry, and to see if he’d managed to calm himself enough, not to hurt others around him. He had – and we spoke some – I kept calm, spoke softly and made myself the smallest target I possible could – standing over six foot tall on that street. His ‘angst’ lay in not having anywhere to stay that night now (and I know your thinking your not surprised), and he was frustrated, because he tried to do a good thing for this lass – bought her a meal – but she couldn’t eat it. She was allergic to the tucker he brought her, but he didn’t know or didn’t think about this. she reacted, he reacted – BOOM – it of course just turned to shit from there!
He wasn’t listening to her – she tried to explain – but he was simply caught up on the rejection of the moment – I did something GOOD for you and you kick me in the teeth! I have seen this type of behaviour so many times – I’ve lost count. It leads to anger, and it gets people hurt. Bloody domestic violence – at home or in the streets – is some of the ugliest, UGLIEST human behaviour I have ever had to witness. I struggle with it, and I will NEVER condone it! It’s explosive at times, or it lies in wait and ambushes it’s victim in those quiet moments. I can’t understand it – will probably never understand it – but I don’t fool myself into believing it could never be me. I’m not a saint – and under pressure – all sorts of threads come undone. There but for the grace of someone’s God – go I!
There would have had to been fifty people around this scenario as it unfolded, and people simply couldn’t get involved. Understand I’m not judging people on this. I understand – I was one of these people initially – until I got caught up in it. Situations like this are not something that comes into the world of normal people experiencing happy and healthy lives – certainly not of this type of ugly (and this hasn’t bee the ugliest I’ve seen) – and people are often caught in that shitty situation where they don’t know how they can intervene. What do you do?
I’d like to have an easy answer for you, but as I sit here calming down myself (my body has finally stopped shaking), I know that every single one of these types of situations are different, and each bring with them they’re own set of risk and circumstances. I’m not a copper (police) – so I felt bloody naked in this scenario, all i had working for me was my brain, my gob and my body language. I’ve done this a few times over now – and it scares the absolute bejesus out of me every single time. I hate it! I hate violence – I abhor it! I don’t know if I would have dropped this bloke if need be – or even if I could and I’m so very, VERY glad, I didn’t have to find out.
And do you know what the really sad part of this was for me? If the situation hadn’t of been what it was – a pretty young lass who couldn’t walk away from the situation mostly due to factors beyond her control, an angry young man – if this had been an Aboriginal couple – drunk and barnying (fighting and arguing) in the street on a bench seat – people would have been immune to the scene, and simply walked on by. You might think I’m pushing it there – but it’s true. I’ve seen this behaviour more times then I could ever possibly count, and – I”m guilty of it too (for slightly different reasons).
And thanks to you lot – it’s now mulled over, and I can go home with it settled in my head!
I’ll worry for the lass though…
Belongum – Out!