I am always amazed how blog posts awaken a memory.
Lottie’s post about being mugged brought back two.
The first happened while I was on holiday in England at the age of twelve. Always underweight and small for my age I would have easily passed as a ten year old. Until now I had forgotten or buried the episode deep down in order not to remember.
While walking along a quiet country road two boys pushed me to the ground with a bicycle. They held me on the ground and although I struggled, they managed to remove my panties.
I won’t go into details but as I think about it today with a shiver, I suppose they were only checking out and testing what they had learned or talked about behind the bike shed at school. Those were days long before sex education was introduced into the school curriculum. It was a terrible experience and one I would not wish happen any girl, young or old. I was in tears when I reached my Aunts house and she called the police. There were endless interviews and questions, in a way I was glad the boys were never found because if they were I would have had to go through it all again in court. After that holiday the topic was never raised. My parents never spoke about it and to this day I have no idea if my aunt ever told them.
The second was when I lived in Germany in the early 1970’s. My apartment had a communal front entrance with a buzzer system of entry. The Penthouse suite contained an apartment and offices for the owner. A gentleman I met through friends became infatuated without reason. Our paths crossed several times at social gatherings, I was courteous but gave no encouragement. Somehow he discovered where I lived and he began to stalk me. One evening the internal doorbell to my apartment rang. Thankfully it had a peep hole viewer and when I looked through it I saw it was my ‘stalker’ I didn’t open the door. It was before we had mobile phones and I did not have a land-line phone installed at the time.
Needless to say sleep evaded me that night and indeed for several weeks. He was still sitting there in the carpeted hallway outside my door all warm and cosy when I went to bed. I have no idea how long he stayed as I resisted the urge to get out of my bed to check. Thankfully in the morning he was gone. I knew the time my neighbours left for work, so I made sure I was walking down the hall at the same time. Several nights later the same thing happened. I followed the same procedure and when I returned from work that evening I made it my business to speak to the caretaker. He said he would have the owners send a note to all residents reminding them not to let anyone in as they opened the front door. All visitors were supposed to buzz the person they had come to visit and only gain access on invitation.
Originally I had gone to see about a ground floor apartment and was surprised that the owners would not let me rent it. They explained that they would not rent a ground floor apartment to a lady living on her own and showed me around an empty one on the first floor which I agreed to take. Many times later I was to feel thankful for that decision. It was a lovely compact home for me in a nice area and I walked through the park to work each day. I did not want to move and nobody was going to push me out. After the third visit I reported my uninvited guest, who had a wife, and I then discovered a history of this kind of behaviour. The last I heard he was admitted as a patient to the Psychiatric Ward of the hospital where I worked.
Thankfully that was the only down point of my time in Germany and there were so many happy times to make up for it. Like the first incident above I buried it deep and moved on.
Now that apartment living is so prevalent in Ireland, just stop for a moment and think before you hold open a door for a stranger. If they are a genuine visitor they will understand why you ask them to press the buzzer!