Some Guys Only Speak One Language: Violence

Jul 9 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew

Waiting in line for my turn at an ATM machine around Ambassador Theatre, and searching through my bag frantically for my card, a man approached and stood in front of me. He did not look well.

He wanted money but he was not begging for it. He asked for 10 Br or else he threatened to spit on me. By then, he had filled up his mouth with saliva and was playing with it, ready to shoot it in my direction. As disgusting as it was, I tried not to show it.

“I don’t have money,” I said. “If you want the money then ask nicely.”

He changed his attitude right away but now he was asking for five times the money. I told him I do not have 50 Br but I will give him 10 Br. If he keeps hanging around, I told him “I will call a law enforcement officer on you.” He insisted he was not afraid of the police. Fortunately, after I gave him the 10 Br, he moved on to the guy before me. But the guy shooed him away without trouble.

I did not want to stay in the line any longer as I was afraid he would come back and bother me again. I kept thinking about what would have happened had I not given him the money. Would he have spat on me?

Still, I wrestled with the fact that being a woman made him assume I was weak. He thought he could intimidate me. He has probably perfected his art of extortion by trying it on many people, most of them women.

I remembered a similar incident where a man pretended to be mentally unstable and robbed this lady. He got into her shop and smashed all her windows and frightened her. He then asked her to give him some money. This man was not intellectually disabled as he knew what he specifically wanted. He was covering up. Apparently, the man has carried out similar crimes in many places to shops whose salespersons happen to be women.

Some of my lady friends in sales do not stay up late as a result and close their shops early so they will not run into people like that. Some of them even invite their cousins or guy friends when they need to stay up late.

We should teach our kids, especially girls, how to defend themselves. They are often targeted because of their gender. Knowing how to defend themselves would save them in times of abuses or violations. We rarely know precisely the situations we will be walking into and thus must be prepared to look after ourselves.

Many have proven this could be done. There was a girl in my old neighbourhood. She was respectful and humble; she also had a black belt. Once, she was passing by and a guy made a pass at her. He kept following her, calling her names, at first complimentary, but when he realised she was not giving in, he became upset and started insulting her. As if that was not enough, he got close and pulled her hair.

At that moment, she decided to use him for karate practice. Less than a minute later, he was on the ground with a broken arm – that should teach him a lesson not to assume that women can be intimidated. When I heard, I was proud of her for defending herself and for humbling the brute. Rumour has it that he never bothered any girl after that, at least for as long as I lived in that neighbourhood.

If we cannot raise men who respect women, the least we can do is to raise our girls to be strong enough to take care of themselves.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 09,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1158]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (

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