Thursday, August 17, 2006


I am breaking one of my golden rules of not putting curse words in print in this post, but I am so damn mad, I can’t help it. I am not going to apologize because it is my blog and because of what just happened to me.

I had just gotten back from the south of France (more on that when I don’t feel as if I want to blow up this entire miserable nation) and was making my way through public transportation, thinking about spending another year here and trying to convince myself that I would like France even if it killed me when it finally happened. I was violently attacked on the metro.

At first, it seemed like a joke. I was on a double decker metro, sitting on the steps reading The Scarlet Letter, when something hit my foot really hard. I didn’t realize what it was so I looked down and saw a young black male on the bottom level. He had punched my foot for some unknown reason. He looked menacing so I just quickly put my head back in my book. I don’t know if that pissed him off or if he has a little dick or was abused by his mother (and frankly, I don’t care), but something antagonized him enough for him to come up to me and try to punch me. I blocked the bulk of the punch, thank god, but it wasn’t over. He yanked me off the steps by my hair and starting pulling handfuls of my hair out. By this time, I was yelling and screaming, “Stop, Help me!” Nobody helped; everyone was watching, but nobody even bothered to get out of their seat. My attacker thought this was hilarious and began mimicking me and then to my horror and, I admit, my surprise, the fucking assholes on the train started laughing at me. There I was, being pulled around by my hair like a fucking rag doll and the only thing my fellow passengers could do was laugh. Nobody came to my rescue. I was too scared to fight back because I was convinced I saw a knife in his pocket.

When it was all over and the guy got off the train (without any of my possessions), nobody came to see if I was alright or if I needed help. My fucking scalp was bleeding and nobody even gave me a kind smile as I shivered, bawling in the corner. NOBODY. NOBODY. Not even the fucking assholes who were sitting within arms reach of me. FUCK YOU FRANCE. I HATE YOU! I am tired of searching for good things and trying to make myself enjoy it here. I am done! I have had to constantly tell myself I don’t hate it here since my second week. Well guess what, I have been lying.

Don’t get me wrong. I know people get assaulted everyday in the States, but I can’t image anywhere in the States where people would actually laugh at the assaulted. I am sorry, but from where I come from, this guy would have gotten his ass beaten before he ever had a chance to grab my hair.

I am mad because this happened; I am mad because I have to take the metro and I have no other options; I am mad because I am afraid to take the metro now; I am super mad at myself for not fighting back, but I was terrified; I am mad because I was terrified. But mostly I am infuriated at the other people on the metro. How dare they ignore blatant and abject violence and laugh while it occurred. I didn’t even think the French were capable of that. Thanks for disappointing me AGAIN!

Before all this transpired, I was thinking about how much I missed the slow life and how I was looking forward to going some place new next year. I am not a religious person, but I do believe in signs and I definitely see tonight as a sign. A big fat sign that says, “ANGELA, GO HOME!” Or at the very least, “ANGELA, GET THE HELL OUT OF FRANCE.” Guess what? I am not ignoring this sign. I am leaving. I can’t live in place like this anymore. I won’t force myself to be happy in a room the size of my former bathroom; I won’t try to force positive thoughts anymore; I won’t try to convince myself that if I only knew the language, I would like it better. I refuse to live another year among people who think bathing is bad for their skin and who act as if they would die if they were nice to strangers. Fuck it, I have had enough.

As I have always said, my friends are great and I love them and will miss them dearly, but I am tired. And I don’t think sleep will help my kind of tired. I feel like I lost and I feel like a complete failure.


cara said...

OMG! i am almost at a loss for words. i can't believe that happened to you and that no one helped you and that they laughed?! WTF? i agree with you, i think your time in france is done. this is like a big old 2X4 that broke the camels back. i feel traumatized reading the story, i can't even imagine how you must feel. getting your hair pulled hurts like hell. i am so sorry this happened to you.

Expat Traveler said...

that sucks! I wish you freaking punched him in the balls or kicked him there. Men are week and that is what you need to do. Self defense...

I wish you can find somewhere else to live. Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland. Really that suck so much! Did you try to alert the police or authorities? And get a description of the man...

Good luck! I feel so bad for you!!! Feel free to email me too.

Pardon My French said...

What a horrible thing to have happened, both the attack and the passenger response. It is just as hard to accept that a train full of people can watch, laugh, and then pretend something like this never happened than it is to accept that a random man can come up to you and behave like this. I'm sorry!

Grannie Deb said...

Angie, I am so glad you are leaving France, and doubly happy that Gary and Deb are there to rescue you. The French people are just slime on the backs of slugs.

Diamond Lil said...


Get out of there, life is too short to spend it feeling unhappy and unsafe. I'm appalled that no one came to your rescue. People are sick. At least, here in the states, we are nosy enough that someone would have stepped in to help you. Hang in there and get outta there! xoxo

Julie said...

That is a horrifying story. How traumatic! I can't begin to imagine how people sit by and watch something like that happen, much less laugh about it.

Angela in Europe said...

Thanks Cara! I am glad some people seem to understand why I dont want to stay here anymore.

Expat-No, i did nothing. I think that annoys me more than the people laughing. I will look for things in other countries cause I still want to travel.

Pardon-Thanks, I am sure you have seen things similiar to this happen; I have seen a lot of men get aggressive with women in the metro, but never attack.

Thanks Aunt Deb and thanks for your son and daughter in law!

Diamond-Please tell me stuff like this doesnt happen in SanFransico! I want to live there, but not if people let other people gang up on people with luggage.

Julie-Still want to come to France? Wish I could paint a better picture for you, but I just can't. I hate that I tempered down all my other entries and didn't say what I was really thinking and feeling at the time!

Diamond Lil said...

Obviously, there is not one place in this crazy world that is immune to violence.

San Francisco is the true melting pot of the world. People from everywhere move to this very progressive and liberal city because it's ok to be different here. We embrace diversity. We even embrace (some) French people. I can't promise that bad things won't happen. What happened to on the Metro could happen to you here or anywhere. I can promise you that if that did happen to you here, you would have a train full of people coming to your aid.

TheHamburger said...

LEt me know your address in France and I'll send you a .22 caliber pistol and some mace, that way you can mace the assholes over there till they're blind then shoot them in the balls for being such pricks.

Sorry to hear that happened to you.

Ola said...

Angela, what that guy did to you was so nasty, just awful. And you're right, it's so bad that no one helped out, what a crowd. :-( Follow your heart, from what you're writing, France might not be for everyone, I would also be pretty upset if I had to handle so much ignorance all around me. I can totally see how this could have just topped it off with you and made you sick of it all and the whole France concept.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for what happened to you. There are no excuses to violent acts and no excuses for those people who did not help you either. Like you, I do believe in signs and I wish I listened to them more often; however, my advice to you would be to do what you feel like. You stayed there one year and seemed like you kept persuading yourself that France is a nice country after all. Well, facts suggest the opposite. In moments of stress and desperation, and particularly when our personal safety is menaced, we have to be rational and look at the situation the way it is. If life in France is miserable, then ...get out of there as soon as you can. I don't like it either.

Lotus Reads said...

Angela, besides being shocked at the assault, I am terribly disappointed that your fellow passengers didn't come to your aid and that they found your fear something to laugh at. What kind of human beings are these people? I don't blame you for being royally pissed off with France. Maybe the Universe's message to you is to leave. There are so many other countries in Europe you could live in.

I am so sorry this happened to you, just glad that you're mad and not intimidated.


Angela in Europe said...

Hamburger-Yes a gun would be nice, and a switch blade, and some brass knuckles. Thanks!

Ola-Thanks for visiting and the kind words!

Lotus- I think so too, but I am really stubborn.

hellomelissa said...

i know this event was a few weeks back, but i'm new to your blog (over from lotus reads) and can't express how badly this shakes my faith in humanity, and how badly i wish i could give you a hug. nothing even close to this has EVER happened to me, and i can't imagine the terror. i hope you're doing better now...

katr said...

It's a shame that occured but all the same, I have to wonder why you moved to France in the first place if you feel such negativity for the country.
I'm Black American female and have lived in The UK and Ireland as well as travelled extensively.

There are negative, rude violent people in every nation.

Ironically some of the most negative reactions I encountered abroad were from Americans who could not grasp that a person of color lived in Ireland and (gasp) dated an Irishman. The narrow mindedness was incredible. Even if it wasn't verbalised you could read it all over their small minded faces.

We're returning to the UK and moving to London soon and I'm delighted. Having retured to the States and living in the South has left a bad taste with us both. I'd never raise a family in this environment.