It is easy for a majority of us to differenciate between right and wrong; I know that whilst growing up, my parents would reinforce the fact that stealing is wrong and violence is bad – but not all youths were brought up in this manner.
North London – 27th November 2013, Wednesday
In a world of our own, myself and a close friend of mine were walking nearby to a park. It was dark, however residential, thus not causing either of us to feel endangered. For an Autumnal evening it was fairly cold, but our laughter seemed to keep us warm.
In the bushes ahead of us we saw a Black-African man standing there, on his phone. Thinking nothing of it, we carried on with our walk. I did notice this man staring at us for a good while, un-nerving me and a rush of anxiety was suddenly upon me.
Within a split second, I hear the words: “Right, ‘dis is ‘ow it’s gonna go – unless you wanna get shanked, gov’ me your shit. Empty your pockets now!” Having been brought up in a very cushioned way, this was obviously very shocking to me, throwing me into panic but then into a somewhat stubborn mind-set.
My friend instantly turned out his pockets; tobacco, filters, papers, keys, phone, oyster card – everything was taken from him.
The man then turns to me, shouting for me to give my purse over – to which I refused. *PUNCH* “Unless you want your boy to get hit again, gimme your purse bitch…” Stupidly, I refused again, which was rewarded with another punch to my friend. Evidently refusal and negotiation does not work in situations like these!!
With this man in possession of my purse, he then demanded that I hand over my phone…NO WAY was I handing that over. Not a chance.
Another turn of refusal ended up with me being held, by my throat, against a fence. Struggling for breath, I try to relax my neck and gripped onto his arm and hit him in the weak point of his inner-elbow which allowed me to escape his grip.
With all of this happening, my friend is frantically trying to grab the attention of passers-by, to which, we received no aid.
Whether due to the shouting, the increased risk of being caught, or the sheer fact that I refused to give in to his demands, this man started to panic and ran away from us.
Instantly we had the police on the line and on their way to us.
Despite the threat of being stabbed, it soon became apparent that this was simply a bluff – a tool with which to scare us.
It amazes me that also being menacing and violent, I genuinely don’t believe that he was a bad person. He has simply grown up, or has been led, down the wrong path. A man that has lost his way.
I also wasn’t surprised by the lack of help that we received from passers-by. It is London after all – I can guarantee that 9/10 people would prefer to just walk on by so as to save themselves from getting caught up in any danger.
As for myself and my friend – we were extremely lucky. He was left with only his bank card and some bruising on his neck and I was left with my phone, bruised neck and a swollen and bruised finger.
We can’t dwell on this; as some people say, ‘shit happens’ we just have to learn and develop from times like these.
I most certainly consider this as ‘character building’; this can only make me stronger.
Be safe x