I was riding my bike to the chip shop early last Saturday night. I rode by a pub on the way (one that I would ordinarily avoid but that it would add a mile to the journey to avoid) when a group of skinny (very drunk) white boys started walking fast beside me. I went to speed up, but one stepped in front of my bike, pulling me off and grabbing my arm. He tried to kiss me, and drag me off. I struck back at him, making a fist and connecting with his shoulder, surprising him into letting me go. I would like to think I hurt him. I sped off while his friends attempted to catch me.
My husband called the police, they came and took my statement, promising to lock him up to ‘put the fear of God in him’ if they caught him. I was not dressed provocatively; wearing a t-shirt and long running shorts. I should not be afraid to ride my bike outside. I am harassed several times a week, but this was the most violent occasion. The male police officer who came round to interview me said that more girls should fight back, like I did. I find it interesting however, that when I give a lecture at a university, or deliver a reading, I am called a woman. When people see me, I am referred to a ‘a girl’. This is tansgental and part of me is flattered, but interesting to note.
Location: Swindon, Wiltshire, United Kingdom