Sunday, 20 April 2008

Multiple Stab Wounds

PG-13 Warning: The following blog entry contains scenes of graphic violence, and parental guidance is suggested.


So, my friend Lisa was here in SA for several weeks, traveling around, seeing the sights, helping ease the dental pain of rural Natalians. She justifiedly decided to take a little sightseeing break and head down to the beachside town of Muizenberg (pronounced with a "mu" as in the greek letter) which is about half an hour from Cape Town. She got more of the South African experience than she bargained for...

After checking into her cutesy B&B with the very nice surfers/owners, she took a walk around town, checked out the beach, etc. etc., and was heading back to home base around 6pm (still light out). Climbing up the alley stairs to her apartment, she heard a beggar ask for money. After traveling for 3 months in Southeast Asia, she was relatively used to people asking for change, and wasn't particularly phased. She told the guy she didn't have any, at which point he pulled out a knife and threatened her. As world-traveled as Lisa is, I guess the little girl from rural Alberta wasn't used to such intimidation methods, and promptly screamed for help, partially without thinking, and partially with the idea that he would run when he realized people would start to come running. Not so. He attacked.

And by attacked, I mean he didn't hold back. He was serious with the stabbing, giving her three separate (and vicious-looking) stab-wounds in the arms - one in the upper left bicep, and two in the right forearm. That it WAS in the arms I think is testament to Lisa's a) ass/groin-kicking abilities and b) great luck - the arm wounds came from blocking the INTENDED neck/head wounds which would undoubtedly have been a hell of a lot more medically serious. After inflicting these wounds (and several other bruises from glancing blows) he ran off when her B&B owner came running out yelling that he'd called the police (more on the usefulness of that call later). Obviously, she was, at this point, rushed to the hospital, bleeding extremely profusely. Apparently this kind of thing is not incredibly common in this posh area of Muizenberg, because the hospital staff were all horrified, and she was immediately sent to the head of the queue. Stitched up and pain-killed, she was sent back to the B&B, where the owners were very sweet in trying to make her feel comfortable.

What Lisa described as one of the more frustrating aspects of the whole situation was the absolute incompetence of the SA police force. Multiple calls to the station down the road garnered no results the night of the assault, and they eventually had to wait until the next day to get the cops to come (they said they couldn't find the flat, despite exact directions and an address). When they finally did arrive (after much yelling over the phone at the unreasonably defensive officer in charge), the cops were totally useless. They made no effort to get the story (Lisa had to offer it to them independently), they took no notes (even as to the location of the attack, description of the attacker, etc.), and after the whole interview was concluded, the statement they asked her to sign was along the lines of

Lisa M. [they didn't even bother to include her surname] was attacked on Sunday, April 13th. We explained to her the forms she has to fill out to file a report.


If the whole thing weren't so appalling, it clearly would have been hilarious...

Anyway, the long and the short of the situation is that she came out of it alright. The most worrying thing was that she didn't have full range of motion with her right thumb (leading to multiple jokes about the usefulness of opposable thumbs), but otherwise she was pretty ok, even a surprising lack of frazzledness. She came back to Cape Town to stay with me for another few days, and left for Australia on Thursday. She made attempts to seem as pathetic as possible to the airline check-in crew to try to get bumped to business-class, but apparently with no success. I guess these kind of attacks are old hat for South Africans...

3 comments:

Linda said...

Thanks, Alex for all you did to help Lisa. We are grateful that she has a friend like you to call when things go 'crazy'. Wasn't Franschoek terrific?....... and where DID the champagne cork land? Linda

Alex said...

Well, I was glad to be here when shit hit the fan, although she did pretty damn well without me for several days. Lisa "Knife-fight" Mandrusiak is one tough cookie.

And yes, Franschoek totally rocked! Here's to drinking wine!

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