Saturday, October 23, 2010


Had an interesting experience on our trip. My husband and I were rushing back to the bus in Pisa, Italy. A tiny woman with a baby in a sack in front of her accosted me, almost shouting "Bay-bay, bay-bay!" Beggars are not unusual in Europe but I hadn't seen any who were aggressive, either.

The "beggar" had a large piece of cardboard which she kept poking me with. I finally said "Get away from me!"--loudly. She stepped back and I noticed my fannyback had been unzipped. Luckily, my money was in another section.

I was confused while this was happening. I thought she was begging at first and didn't want to be rude to a beggar, even though she was being rude to me. My husband had the same reaction, so we did nothing. She disappeared into the crowd when I spoke up and I was grateful I hadn't been victimized.

But I had. I woke up dreaming about her the next day and so did my husband! I felt stupid and naiive. Wondered why I didn't push the cardboard away, why I didn't notice where her other hand was. Why she was so much smarter than I was.

It's taken me a week to realize this happened because I was inexperienced in dealing with someone who was practiced in deception, manipulation, and crime. Not stupid, but inexperienced.

How minor a thing and how much like the beginnings of abuse. Even women and teens who have grown up in a home with domestic or other violence do not expect the partner they love to take from them. To distract them with criticism and demands, to manipulate their feelings and beliefs. To break the law by assaulting them.

How much worse the emotional or physical batterer than my pickpocket.
And how similar.

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