Friday, January 18, 2013

better than a poke in the eye

Two days ago, one of my co-workers was beat up on the way into the office.  Yes, really.  He was punched repeatedly in the face and his phone** was smashed.  The police were called and did nothing pretty much.  He came in and told us.  Here is a generalized version of our responses, which I found kindof interesting.

1.  What exactly were you doing at the time?  Ok you were bicycling in a cross-walk?  You should probably have yielded.
2.  You should have had a camera.
3.  Omg wtf wtf wtf!  You must press charges!  He hit you?  In the face?  OMG.

My favourite response to the people who told the bicyclist what he should have done instead was this one:



  * Don't wear a skirt above the knee.
  * Use a buddy system.

Oh, wait, wrong thread, same blaming the victim mentality.

That person apologized which I thought was sad because I think she is spot on, this blaming the person who gets punched in the face is a real problem. 

For myself I genuinely did not understand how this could be acceptable.  The bicyclist was riding across a road in a raised crosswalk.  Yes, we concluded, he probably did not have the right of way.  But there was no accident and he continued.  The driver stopped the car and shouted at the bicyclist.  The bicyclist shouted back.  The driver came over and punched the bicyclist repeatedly and broke the phone.  Later, the police were called and took pictures and talked to both parties. 

I didn't understand why it could be possible for the bicyclist to be hit in the face and there not to be any consequences to the person doing the hitter.  I still kindof don't but I was sent this helpful comic which you might enjoy:

What I remind myself about:  There are a certain number of raging psychopaths out there.  They do not have identifying marks on their license plates.  Be careful and be warned that if you get into it - you will not have much help from the law if someone beats you up. 

**  Which to us is like having your security blanket torn to pieces.


  1. Sadly, the assault probably had nothing to do with the cyclist's real or imagined transgressions and everything to do with weird stuff in the assaulter's head.

  2. People are broken. I count every commute that doesn't wind up like a demolition derby driven by homicidal clowns wearing actual clown makeup and texting their pedicurists about Special Soap Bubble treatment while they plow through a school zone as a good day. If the guy gets into a position to punch you, there's only one smart play: run run run away. The other plays all end in tears of one sort or another.

    1. This has been a weirdly comforting thought to me: " I count every commute that doesn't wind up like a demolition derby...."

      so thanks.

  3. Clown makeup, JRA? Do you live in Scottsdale, par chance? Very funny but sadly true.

    Chafed, it's just so hard for people not to give "shoulda" advice. As much as I hate it, and I've gotten quite a bit of it of late, I am as guilty as the next person, and I'm sure that it comes out sounding like victim blaming.

    That said, I use to work pretty closely with the police and what I understood is that it's difficult for them to do much when they didn't see the crime and have evidence (or witnesses ready to come forward)that the alleged crime occurred. This might be a case of the police not know who initiated the incident. The victim can still press charges but he will have the burden of proof. If someone came forward with video of the incident (happens more these days) and was willing to attest to what he saw then the burden becomes lighter. I am a vindictive bitch so I would definitely make that stupid SOB my new best friend and taken all his candy and his lunch money, but I think many others just get worn out by the process. Frankly, I know people who felt so overwhelmed by pressing charges, hiring a lawyer and having to go to court that they dropped charges of much more serious criminal behavior. It really SUCKS that victims often end up never getting justice and their abusers get a pass to do it again. I hope your coworker is doing okay. A physcial assault can stay with one emotionally for quite a while.

    1. I live in the bay area. I really was naive. You are spot on regarding burden of proof. I still struggle with how this can happen, a tiny little engineer with a battered face and a broken phone and there is no case but there is no case I guess. My co-worker looked into a lawyer but his case was rejected and now mostly he seems as if he wants to crawl away and hide :/

      thanks for the sympathy btw.