The Incident

I'm finally ready to write about it. It's been a rough week for me, but a deeply learning experience. 

After getting in to Morocco and sleeping away the first half day and night, I woke up refreshed and ready to conquer this new country. I awoke in my hostel around 8am and washed the flight down the drain. I went downstairs and had some tea, chatted with a fellow traveler and at 8:45 I stepped out to get my first immersion in Tangier. The alleys of the old medina were quiet and there weren't that many people walking around. I went from the Grand Socco to the Petit Socco and passed the famous Cafe Tingis, where the writer Paul Bowles whiled away his days. The sun shone bright but the stores and cafes still had their doors locked tight. I thought it odd, but the thought passed. I wanted to see where the other big hostel in Tangier was, The Melting Pot. I walked past the Hotel Continental but missed the sign that pointed to the hostel. I walked to a platform with a view of the port, saw 2 men there and promptly turned around to go back the way I came.

The street/alley was still empty but I was feeling at peace. I was getting hungry and was going to walk back to the Tingis to see if they were open yet It had to be 9am by now, something had to have opened its doors by now. I heard maybe 5 quick steps behind me, turned to see WTF it was and glimpsed a clean cut man with strange hair, then an arm around my neck. A strong hairless arm that felt alien, what the fuck was it doing there? I can't breathe! My hand went down to his crotch and grabbed it. He lifted me higher off my feet and the arm wrapped tighter. I blacked out.

Blackness. Senses started coming back. Waking up, dream... still only half in my body. Eyes opened. Cobblestones on my face. Recollection. Was I raped? My pants are wet but I'm not sore. I pull myself to my feet. Bare feet, shoes 2 meters away, sunglasses over there. My purse. My purse?? It hits me, I scream. A woman peers around the corner, looks at my eyes and hugs me. Holds me tight. Others come out and she tells them to get the tourist police. More people look at me with sad eyes, shaking their heads. Another woman comes up and sits me down. She holds my hand, I look in her eyes and I burst out in tears, shaking, rabid tears. She's crying too. I realize that I must have pissed myself while I was out. I really don't care though. It's an outward symbol of my inner state.

The tourist police come but they are plain clothed officers. They want me to get in a van with 4 men to go to the police station. I say that I'll walk. The reality is that there is no way in hell that I am getting into a van with 4 men after all that happened to me. There's no way I would do it in a normal state of mind! One of the guys, a young officer, walks me to a cafe and we have tea. Tea cures everything here. We talk. He speaks good English and has a kind face. He buys me tissues and tells me to wash my face.

The rest of the day is spent at the police station giving them my statement. The found my purse but my iphone and about $100 is gone. My sunnies and Lonely Planet are still in there with all the other little bits of my life. The police chief is livid and says he'll find the guy and get my phone back. He's determined. I get the feeling that this kind of shit doesn't happen on his watch. The police are all so kind to me and always ask if I need to go to the hospital. My neck is sore but I'm more tramatized in my brain than anything else at that point. They drop me at the hostel so I can clean up.

They found the guy. They bring him to the hostel for me to see. I know it's him and I shake and cry and hit the floor. The people at the hostel are amazing. They comfort me, hold me, and care for me. I go back to the station, give my statement again and have tea with my new friends. 

Then his female family comes in. They wail for me to forgive him. I don't look at them. He doesn't get to have my forgiveness, HE hasn't asked for it. He sent his women to ask forgiveness. The women get my compassion, they live with a monster but they don't see it. 

But now they know what I look like.

The next day I don't leave the hostel. My throat has closed and I can't swallow. I'm not hungry and so I don't eat. I sleep like the dead all day. The next day I feel better. My throat is sore but I can eat and drink. I go out with a new friend for a meal. More sleep. The next day I go to Ceuta (a Spanish territory) and I realize that I'll be fine once I get the hell outta Tangier. It's Tangier and the family that I fear. The next day I'm on a bus traveling far, far away from my victimhood...

I really want to thank everyone who sent their love and prayers and good energy to me. I honestly feel like I've had a quick recovery because of you. The images and feelings of the incident still come back to me every so often (every hour or 2) but I don't meet them with terror. I understand that there is a lesson in this. I was not at fault, I did nothing wrong. It was simply wrong place, wrong time. I never understood how fast this happens. All my Krav Maga training never prepared my for how bloody fast this was. I estimate it took less than 5 seconds for him to choke me out. By the time it dawned on me that his arm was around my neck and I grabbed his balls, I was out cold. I stand by my belief that people are inherently good. The people and police that stood by me and helped me prove that. The world is not a scary place. I refuse to belive that. The abundance of love that I have been exposed to proves otherwise.