Sunday, June 10, 2007

What, you wanted pictures too?

I lead a dull boring life.
I know, TV makes NYC seem like an exciting place.
There is always something going on somewhere, but still, I like most NY'ers, lead a boring life.

Once in a while, though, things do happen.
Today was the WWKIP, and I was late getting started.
I packed some snacks, and some water (several bottles of water, 2 of them mostly ice really rather than water.. (i love cold water.) And then headed to the subway, off to a WWKIP event in Central Park.

As I headed down the step to the subway concourse, I heard a commotion.. screaming.. loud screaming.. (there were people exiting the subway stairs as I headed down.)
Further down, onto the the concourse, the screaming got louder.. and there was some dozen or so people milling about--several on cell phones.

The screaming and action was a young man assaulting a young woman. By the time I got to the center of the concourse, it was clear she was trying to get away and that she was bleeding. As I came close, I saw him bang her head into one of the metal (steel) support post near the turnstiles.. He had just pulled her back for an attempt to crawl under the turnstile to escape him. And all the while, she was screaming,--from pain, from fear--in reaction.
And everyone, more than a dozen men and women, were standing there watching.
I walked up to the man and told him to stop. He ignored me. I told him again, and laid my hand on his shoulder to make sure he could hear me.
The young woman was fighting him, he was kicking her, pulling her hair and had one had down her blouse and was grabbing her breast.
He growled at me “she's my woman” .

No, I countered, she is not.. and since quiet reasoning didn't seem to be doing much, I grabbed his left arm, and squeezed.. my finger nails are not polished and manicured, but they are not short either.

And knitting, (god bless knitting!) has made my fingers and arms strong.. (surprisingly strong!)
Rather quickly, the young man was feeling some pain and he releaced his grip on her breasts, pulled his arm back to try and shake my grip. Half freed from his grip, the young woman was able to pull her self free. She ran across the concourse and positioned herself behind some spectators.
She was gasping, and wimpering--still frightened, still in pain.

I released my grip, and while the young man growled still, he didn't seem threatening to me.. (That is, I wasn't feeling threatened) I thought he might still might want to pursue the young woman, but I didn't think he would assault me.

Still, we where rather close..Out of nowhere (or rather from behind me!) one of the here-to-for spectators (who, perhaps, was in a better position to judge the danger I might have been in) conked the assaulter on the head (with a metal fire extinguisher)
The Assaulter wasn't knocked out cold—but he was certainly stunned. He fell back, and had a dazzled look in his eye.

I made a mistake then. I turned my back on him, and went to see to the young woman.
Apparently, he recovered rather quickly from the bump on the head, he lunged for me. Fortunately, by then, more of the bystanders had been galvanized into action. 3 of them grabbed him, restrained him, brought him to his knees, and as I turned back (to see what was up), they wrestled him to the ground.
One knelt on his back, and the other two held his arms. He continued to put up a fight for some while.
Continuing my rescue mission, I grabbed one of my bottle of mostly ice, a little water..
I gave it to the young woman, and told her to wash the blood out of her mouth. (her lower lip was cut, and her gum was swollen and bleeding.) and suggested she use it as an icepack as well, on her lip.
Finally (and to be honest, all of about 3 minutes had passed) the police arrived. 2 regular cops, 2 transit cops.
Two cops handcuffed the assailant, 1 went to talk to the MTA token clerk, who was one of the first to call 911, and one went to the victim.
Several people spoke to me, and told me.. You were very brave.. I saw the guy who conked the assailant with the fire extinguisher, and thanked him, and the other who restrained the assailant.
Before I left, I gave one of the officers my card, and did the same to the woman who was assaulted.
(I doubt this case will go to trial, or that I will be called to testify, but you never know..) I never learned the young womans name, only that she didn't know her assaulter.

For once, it was not a boring day.
Knitting in public was anticlimactically.. (but good for restoring my own peace of mind)


Sandykins57 said...

Gosh, way to go! Your reaction should be the normal reaction, but unfortunately, it's not anymore. One guy, here in Sweden was stabbed or beaten because he told some punk to stop urinating in the subway area. I don't remember the full story, so I'm not sure if he survived the attack.

Way to go and I'm glad that you and the girl are safe!

Anonymous said...

While I don't know if I would've gone so far as to actually touch him, I know I would've called 911. I may have tried saying something to him. How odd that he told you this girl was his woman and then she says she doesn't even know him. I suppose the mass of people were more willing to step in when the knew you were not linked to him in any way. After all of that a little anticlimactical knitting in the park must have been nice!

sulu-design said...

The standing and watching that people do while someone is in danger just kills me. My sister-in-law was brutally attacked by a stranger here in Queens six years ago, just a block from her apartment. And while she was being attacked and screaming for help, people stood and watched, but no one did anything. Luckily, a group of teenage boys eventually came along and chased the attacker down, beat him, and held him until the police came. It is scary how, for many different reasons, so many of us are scared to step in and do what's right. I'm so glad that you were there to help that woman.

Unknown said...

Wow, what a story. How sad that people were watching, reacting even, but not doing anything. I can only hope that the fact that you could walk up and stop it will impress on all of those people that they are not helpless to do something in that situation, that they do not need to stand by and watch someone be brutalized. That they can save someone's life rather than do nothing. You are brave and strong and an amazing woman.

Lynne said...

Shades of Kitty Genovese! I'm so very glad you stepped in, so this little "contretemps" had a much happier outcome than hers. Bless you!

maryannlucy said...

Wow, talk about right time, right place! You were very brave to jump in like that, what an amazing act of humanity - thank goodness you were there. And how marvellous that you seemed to then dust yourself down, and continue to your WIP event. Real Superhero stuff - well done you!

Karen said...

Holy hell Helen! You were certainly very brave; it's not something I would have done. I do find it odd as well that he said she was his, and she said she didn't know him. But then again, it's never know here!

sgeddes said...

Wow! I came form the knitty boards to see your spiny urchin cap :) and get quite a story. I think you did a very brave thing by stopping and helping that woman. Well done - it is always good to know that someone will help. I'm glad you were not hurt in the process.

Dk's Wife said...

Good for you for taking action!

|chee-uh| said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
|chee-uh| said...

Good for you! Too many NY'ers talk tough but aren't bold enough to protect each other. Of course we pretended to be all sweet and stuff for a week after 9/11 and during the blackout, then it was back to ignorance is bliss.
You rock Helen and don't you forget it!

Chelsea said...

You are brave. I like to think I would do the same thing in your position, but one can never be sure until put in a situation where an action like that is needed. I am a black belt in tae kwon do and have taught self-defense, but I am still unsure if I could defend myself successfully if I had to.

Anonymous said...

You are a hero! Why did those other people just stand by and watch the poor woman being beaten?

Jenni said...

Holy crap! Only in new york...
You are quite the brave one! Thankfully you weren't hurt. I can't believe people just stand around and don't actually do anything in a situation like that.. kudos to you for helping!

Rebecca Clayton said...

Wow--I'm glad to hear you're all right, and that you stopped the attack.

In my experience, New York is full of helpful, concerned people. You're a shining example!