How to Recover from a Mugging

Tips from a granny, a mum and a six-year-old boy

  1. Watch Charles Bronson annihilate crate-loads of baddies in ‘Death Wish 3’. (This obviously excludes 6-year-old.)
  2. Relive the experience together as viscerally as you can stand, helping each other fill in the blanks, returning to the senses, what we saw, heard, smelt, felt. It’s a bit like getting the pus out of a pimple.
  3. Fetch your wooden sword from your toy cupboard and brandish it fiercely showing what you wish you’d done to the baddies.
  4. Post the incident on several local Crime Watch FB pages to warn others.
  5. Go to the police station immediately afterwards – mostly because you want your son to believe there is some kind of recourse and that the baddies will get caught.
  6. Get turned away because you don’t have an IMEI number for your stolen cell phone. Return a few days later but forget to bring your IMEI number because you’re still in a tizz.
  7. Go back a third time and get your case opened by an unsmiling sergeant with a silver bracelet that reads ‘Sword of Righteousness’. Notice how it shines on her wrist like armor.
  8. Listen when – after she’s written down your description of the incident, including how one of the muggers threw the insult, ‘Voetsek’ over his shoulder as they strode away – the sergeant says, “And if you ever come in to the station again to report a robbery, and one of my colleagues says they can’t help you until you have some what-what number,” and she jabs at the ‘Voetsek’ written in curly blue script, “you tell them this.” Let your laughter echo round the reception area.
  9. Take daily long hugs from a gentle strong man.
  10. Sing your mom and dad a funny rhyme you’ve made up to the tune of ‘Three Blind Mice’: “Three blind robbers, see how they run…they all ran after the farmer’s wife, who cut off their willies with a carving knife…”
  11. Be gentle with yourself while your body and your world feel weird, spacey, kind of jet-lagged.
  12. Bring home red berries from play school, tell your mum in a lowered tone that they’re poisonous and then spend an afternoon concocting a robber-catching potion, decanted into various glasses placed just under your bedroom window.
  13. Dance out the rage, the fear, the sadness.
  14. Swing wildly between rabbit fear and lioness rage when passing random strangers in the street.
  15. Give yourself a bed morning.
  16. Forget about it two days after and go back to building Lego.
  17. Be gentle with yourself when you forget about / arrive late for several meetings the following week.
  18. Use the incident as material for a short story you’re working on.
  19. Read and savour all messages of support and care from your community.
  20. Don’t let the f*ckers get you down.
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