A few days ago, I was attacked by a stranger on the street – one of those experiences that are somehow too bizarre to be true. Luckily the whole story had a fortunate outcome – a helpful witness, polite policemen, very caring medical staff and most importantly- a perpetrator who admitted what he did (!). And, last but not least- I am not seriously injured :).
In the aftermath- the man who hit me is currently under arrest and the outcome of the case will soon be known. My assumption is that he had a mental illness.
As weird as this story is, it is not what matters most to me. What does, is the learning behind it which is linked to safety.
This incident made me think about all those parts of the world where random violence and aggression are a way of life and the word “safety” resembles very vaguely its meaning as we know it. And I felt so grateful to be able live in a safe community where such incidents are considered as unusual and rare- something that we usually take almost for granted. And at the same time, I could feel so much for all those who don`t have that privilege and who spend their lives in horror and fear.
It also made me think about people with mental illness, people who are not even feeling safe in their own bodies because of their fragile mental state, who are in so much pain and delusion that they even hurt others. I don`t think these people deserve any anger, but only compassion.
I don`t feel any anger towards the person who attacked me- I hope he is getting the help that he needs and I am very grateful for the important lesson that I learned on that day- to appreciate our safety and to reach out and try to be of help to others who are not safe.
As a start, I am sharing my story. You stay safe and spread the word!
P.S: The picture above is a part of the amazing work “The caged bird`s song” by Chris Ofili which is currently on display in the London National Gallery.