By MARY LOU STEPHENS
I was a lot younger than I am now when it happened. And I was a lot more idealistic. I was sitting in a pub with my boyfriend and his mates.
A man and a woman I didn’t know began to fight nearby. The fight turned violent. He hit her. More than once. More than twice. I waited for my boyfriend and his mates to do something. To tell the man to stop. To protect the woman. They did nothing. They steadfastly ignored what was happening only metres away.
“Aren’t you going to do anything?” I asked them.
They didn’t answer. They wouldn’t even look at me.
“I’m going to stop this,” I said and stood up.
My boyfriend put his hand on my arm. “It’s none of our business.”
I shrugged his hand off and moved away. The couple were screaming at each other. He grabbed her hair and pulled her head back. She was crying, her face red from where he’d hit her.
“Hey,” I said. “Stop it.”
The man span around to look at me. “What?”
“Stop it. Leave her alone.”
And he did. He left her alone and strode over to me. “This is none of your business,” he said, echoing my boyfriend words. He was angry, drunk and wild-eyed.
“Well, if it’s none of my business don’t do it near me. You do it in front of me, you make it my business.”
What did I expect? Did I think he’d see reason? Did I imagine he’d stop, think about it and say, “You know what, you’re right. Sorry.”