It felt like a car crash, except I had no exoskeleton of a car surrounding my body to protect me from the other cars. The cars that I was being pushed in front of as he bodychecked me into the street.
I did not see it coming. I did not know what was happening, except that he was pulling on my purse, and I held on for dear life. Screaming, yelling, thrashing like a fish as he dragged me on the ground and my knee and hip grated against the cold, dirty asphalt of winter. But if I'm the fish, how come I had the bait? My bait, my purse, I was so desperate to hang on to.
NO. NOT THIS TIME. YOU WILL NOT BE GETTING ANYTHING FROM ME.
I am, ultimately, proud and empowered by my actions. In the past when someone has attacked me, my fight-or-flight had a systematic malfunction, and my best defense was to play dead, as it were. Not this time. I fought, and fought, and fought. Two years of what I wanted to say to my last attacker flooded out of me like venomous bile as I yelled NO over and over again, telling him in variable and no uncertain words what a piece of shit he was, screaming FUCK YOU, you pathetic motherfucker! I couldn't even recall all the things that I said or what they meant, only that I was full of rage.
After he let go of my purse, which felt like an eternity, I actually contemplated the idea of chasing after him and beating on him as best I could. I didn't do it, because I didn't want to put my purse within grabbing distance of him again, but had it just been a "regular" physical assault, I very well may have done just that.
Because you see, this girl? This 5'4," 120 pound blonde girl wearing a pink coat and carrying a purse over her arm? She's not so defenseless as you believed. She's much stronger than you thought, and you must have shit your fucking pants as she struggled, fought, and won against your pathetic ass. Now it's time for YOUR "flight" to kick in, asshole.
And yet...despite the empowerment, the fact that I "won," I still keep having flashbacks, and I feel so afraid of someone trying to mug me again. I was walking with a friend to my car the other night, and I literally jumped 2 feet in the air as a guy ran past me. "Sorry, didn't mean to scare you!" he said. I said "That's okay." I feel sorry for the good guys in the world. The ones who don't prey on women, yet have to deal with the consequences of what the bad guys have done.
It's kind of...funny. In a way. Before my sexual assault, I was a Good Little White Girl who was scared of the proverbial stranger who would jump out of the bushes and rape me on a dark night in the big bad city. After my rape, which was perpetrated by one of the closest people in the world to me, I lost that fear of strangers. I had no fear of the streets at night. It was those I knew that I had to be afraid of, not those that I didn't, right? And now? Afraid of strangers again. It seems my thoughts and emotions from the sexual assault are morphing and bleeding with the physical assault from the mugging, and I don't know which way is up right now.
I may have won, but that doesn't mean I wasn't afraid. I just didn't care. The thoughts still ran through my head: What if I get hit by a car? What if I hit my head on the street and have a head injury? What if he has a weapon?
....what if I die?
But if these thoughts had guided my actions, I would've quickly and easily given up my purse, as that would've put my chances of survival at much better odds. No, survival wasn't what was driving me. It was the fight, it was standing up for myself.
And if I died, I was going to go down swinging.
My knee still hurts. The scrapes and bruises are gone now, at least the visible ones. I don't know if it bruised beneath the patella, or if perhaps the impact chipped off a piece of the bone or what. It doesn't feel like ligamental injury...I don't know.