Agony Aunt, Andrea Moon: Take control, take away fear

CCTV footage that shows Zdenko Turtak BRUTALY beating the teenage girl. Pic PA
CCTV footage that shows Zdenko Turtak BRUTALY beating the teenage girl. Pic PA
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When I read of the attack by a would-be rapist and of his victim fighting back I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling great respect for this young woman.

Such a brave action in the face (literally) of a vile, life-threatening assault. Many would not have felt confident enough to react the way that she did.

The report says that she felt that her life was under threat and that she had become terrified and angry.

The attacker apparently said “You are going to enjoy this.”.

At what point did he imagine that there was anything remotely enjoyable about being followed, pushed into bushes and climbed all over (and worse) by a drunk idiot?

Was she right to have fought back? In my opinion, Hell yes!

When I lived in London in the 90s, I was mugged one street away from my flat.

I was so surprised and annoyed that I hung onto my bag, watching the strap wrapped round my wrist moving forward and back instead of hitting my attacker with the glass bottle that I held in my other hand.

If I had been forewarned it would have been different. My karate moves and SING (Solar plexus, Instep, Nose, Groin) targets would have kicked in.

Instead I got angry that my flat keys and more importantly my makeup bag would need to be replaced.

As any woman knows, that’s £50 at least to get the essentials sorted.

My purse and credit card he could have taken, as I’d spent all but my last 27pence on a loaf of bread and the aforementioned glass bottle of cider. This was pre-mobile phones so that wasn’t a concern.

Instead of thinking of my safety or any consequences, I couldn’t speak or scream other than giving a guttural sub-human roar that would have rattled all but the most confident of predators.

Luckily my attacker must have been otherwise intoxicated and he ran off with the alarm usually accredited to someone facing a possessed demon.

He must have thought that the local wannabe yuppie estate was now somehow inhabited by overweight twenty-somethings with badly dyed hair, channelling the Masai lion totem direct from Kenya.

He ran, I cried. Thinking back, I could have been killed (as could our heroine of November 1) but I was so angry that this person thought that they had the right to take my possessions (however meagre) that it was pure instinct to fight back in whatever way possible, even through use of decibels.

The police were less than helpful, probably due to the frequency of the muggings in the area (South East London).

They asked me to identify my attacker but as most of what I saw had been my own wrist, then the back of a cheap black leather jacket in retreat, I was just as unhelpful.

I still bristle when I hear someone break into a run behind me at night. I’m always aware where my bag is, keeping it close to the wall instead of swinging on the outside. I know which way the zip faces. I turn and look people in the face instead of looking away, to dissuade or identify at a later date. I keep my keys separate from my money.

I am also aware that during my attack, part of me said “don’t hurt him”. We really need to face the inbred culture of politeness or courtesy when facing real danger.

It’s always going to be better to be embarrassed than dead or injured. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable, don’t think twice about telling them. Look them in the face, move to somewhere that you feel more secure. Make a fuss, scream or shout however uncool it may seem. You can copy my lion roar if you like, just make yourself more trouble than it’s worth instead of an easy target.

Don’t be scared, be confident. Let friends know where you are going and when to expect you. Stay together if you can.

Even in my 40s my friends and husband and I do the Peter Kay “Give us three rings when you get in” routine.

No-one shold have the right to take away your peace of mind. A self-defence class would definitely be of value.

When you take back control, you take away the fear. Take back the night.