Thursday, August 25, 2011

so I was assaulted last night...

Originally posted on LJ 9-6-09

so I was assaulted last night. i’m ok, but it was traumatic nonetheless.

after having gone out to dinner with friends, I walking home down 14th St, when I see a group of four people: two men, two women. They seemed youngish (early 20s?) and boisterous. There are a lot of bars in my neighborhood, so I assumed they were just in party-mode. I was on the far right-side of the sidewalk (to let them pass), and just as they were about to move past me, one of the women stepped right in front of me and clocked me (aka, purposefully punched me) right on the bridge of my nose and my glasses fell off. as she did it, she said “bitch!”

it was completely unprovoked: I hadn’t done anything, and there was no sign that she was going to take a shot at me until it happened. I don’t think I was targeted for any reason. I just think that she was wasted and did something random and stupid and impulsive. The two guys she was with laughed, as if they were taken completely by surprise, and were amused at how random and stupid and impulsive what she did was.

As soon as it happened, everything seemed like a dream, probably because my fight-or-flight system kicked in. My first impulse was to turn around and punch her back. I didn’t strike her hard (as she was walking away from me), but I made contact on her back. It was pure instinct. They all turned around. They were all bigger than me, and as rational thought kicked in again, I realized that nothing good could come from this. Plus, as it happened, I yelled “fuck you!” in the deepest, loudest, boom-iest, rage-iest voice I could muster (aka, it was a distinctively testosterone-influenced vocal cord moment). I am not sure what they made of it, but I figured that if they did suddenly became aware that I was trans, it would only throw more fuel onto the fire. so, with no other viable alternatives, I shouted one last profanity at her and started walking away. As I did, I heard her step on my glasses (on purpose, I assume). Because everything was adrenaline-rush dreamy-like, I didn’t think much about it at first - i think I assumed it was just my sunglasses. But then everything was blurry and I realized that “duh,” it was nighttime, and I had wore my glasses rather than contacts that eve. fuck...

I feel lucky that it wasn’t any worse than it was. My nose is black-and-blue and scraped up, but no blood, nothing broken, nothing stolen. Just a pair of broken glasses. oh yeah, and almost forgot, a little touch of post-traumatic stress disorder.

I feel like I shouldn’t talk about my emotional reaction to this, like its taboo. When something frightening/awful happens to us, we’re suppose to simply assure everyone we’re doing ok. “No worries, I’m fine, thanks for asking.” I am mostly fine, but not entirely. I feel really really really really really angry on the inside. It sometimes comes to the surface unexpectedly. I yelled at someone on BART today, and at someone else at Trader Joe’s. They did mildly annoying things, but I yelled like they had fucking crossed me.

There’s a homeless guy who is always on my block. I have to pass by him almost every day. He is clearly not mentally balanced. Some days he’s fine. Other days he’s wandering around in traffic yelling at cars. On his bad days, he often tries to fuck with me. A lot of times he will purposefully walk in front of me, to block me from walking around him. He’s also tried to fondle me twice, and sometimes he mumbles “bitch” or “cunt” as I walk by. But he was fine today. He nicely asked for change as I walked by. And I can’t tell you how hard it was for me to walk by him today with out yelling at him or kicking him or spitting on him or something. I was just filled with rage, and I wanted to take it out on him. It wasn’t his fault - I mean, he wasn’t the one who clocked me last night. But I am just so full of rage.

Most of my rage is directed at the woman who clocked me last night. I’ve had about 200 flashbacks of the incident today. It sounds weird to say that, like it’s too straight out of a psychology 101 textbook to actually be a real thing, but it’s true. I keep re-imagining, in a highly vivid way, the events as they unfolded last night. I keep imagining her take that step in front of me, and her arm going up to clock me. And then I mentally intervene. I imagine grabbing her arm and twisting it back behind her as she falls to the ground. Or I imagine striking her first, preemptively. I imagine her writhing in pain. I want her to feel pain.

Granted, this is not the rational, intellectual part of my brain speaking. That part of me actually feels sorry for her, for the fact that she and her friends think that random acts of violence against people are funny. But the rest of me - the physiological, emotional me - wants to beat her fucking brains in.

I know from past traumas that the rage I feel now will pass with time. But there is one lesson that I will never forget, and it has to do with gender stereotyping. I will never ever ever again stereotype women as not being violent...


p.s., the picture above (of me with the bandage on my face) is not from today - it's from when I had a big chunk of my cheek removed due to skin cancer 3 years ago. But somehow, it seemed appropriate. Cancer, like being assaulted, truly sucks...

1 comment:

  1. Wow.. I'm so sorry that happened to you Julia; if you go to my blog, you'll see by my entry, "becoming strong", that I tooknow the ptsd of having been assaulted. We relive these incidents time and again, sometimes revising them in our wishful minds. It's this way that we discover our strength, and for me, my strength came when I gave myself a blessing to just be me, to wrest control from the world. I became strong in the moment I decided I would define myself, and I become stronger each time I acknowlege that even those definitions may change from time to time, or moment to moment.
    I wrote this to you in an email, and I'm sorry to repeat myself, but you truly are such a beautiful light, and I'm so thankful I stumbled across your writing. I can't wait to get your book!


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