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My 9 day 25 yr anniversary trip ended miserably

My 9 day 25 yr anniversary trip ended miserably

Oct 30th, 2006, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Thanks for sharing your story joram. Lots of lessons to learn from you.
wliwl is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 09:36 AM
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A nightmare. I am so glad you two are both unharmed physically. Take care of each other. It will pass.
SuzieC is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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As someone with 2 black belts in various martial arts, I was mugged at knifepoint, and chose to give up my wallet rather than risk being injured...or worse. It was definately worth the cash in my wallet to escape uninjured or alive. A street fight is far different than a boxing ring.

The Champs-Elysees is well-known to have its fair-share of petty thieves, since it's a place tourists flock with cameras and cash. (In spite of the images of burning buses in the suburbs, which so many potential tourists seem to be preoccupied with, the more realistic dangers are petty pickpockets.)

But as someone who has lived in Paris for almost 5 years, I do feel safer here than I do elsewhere. There are far fewer violent crimes here than in other countries, although when you get mugged, especially when it involves a physical assualt, it is indeed a very traumatic experience. Kudos to you for getting through it.
daveleb is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 10:00 AM
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Thank you for sharing a difficult story - it, perhaps, will help others on their travels as a gentle reminder of combining caution with a vacation (seems like an oxymoron, in a way). Never having been the victim of any type of an assault, I can't imagine how I'd react.

My father was the owner of a business which served the public. As a teenager, I worked there each day. He cautioned that if anyone ever entered the establishment to rob us, to turn over immediately anything they wanted -as no amount of money was worth a life. I'm relieved that, while you may be facing emotional scars, you are not facing physical ones from your horrendous experience. As others have more eloquently worded, I'm very sorry for your misfortune.
dorkforcemom is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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Hi Joram, I'm relieved that you're both okay; knowing your trip report would include an assault had me very concerned.

Please don't do the 'blame the victim' thing to yourself; you have nothing to feel guilty about.

My home was robbed some years back but happily no one was home. They did go through everything taking anything of value they found. Luckily my family photos etc. were not important to them.

It's easy to second guess oneself after a disturbing event but 'what if's' are too late. I do hope that you and your wife don't let this incident stop you from traveling in future.
lucyp is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 11:09 AM
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One thing that should be pointed out, in view of this story, is the location of the incident. People here are always asking about "safe" neighborhoods. It is not mentioned enough that the crime rate on the Champs Elysées is one of the highest in Paris and it is one of the places where you should be on your guard the most.

And even though using another pocket would have probably been useless in a case like this, will all of you gentlemen out there finally realize that you should never ever put your wallet in a hip pocket under any circumstances!
kerouac is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Your story is moving and disturbing...I know it is early days yet, but have you tried re-framing this whole episode as an adventure?

I realise that this may seem far-fetched today but there may come a time when you see that your response in NOT adding to the aggression rightly prevented damage beyond the financial...

You may want to start thinking about your 26th anniversary trip to take your mind off the "might have been" scenarios.
LJ is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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Would an assailant such as this one have spied the wallet in the hip (does this mean back?) pocket prior to targeting his victim? I often carry my wallet in my front pants pocket and remain very aware of it, thinking that this will protect me from pickpockets. Indeed, it might. But it would probably not protect me from an assault. It might be time for me to buy a money belt...

Anyway, sorry about all this joram. Aggravating, but, as others have noted, it could have been much worse.
Cimbrone is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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joram - I think men basically have that primordial hunter-protector thing going, but I echo the others who support what you did (and didn't do).

Having been in a few scuffles in my time, I'm profoundly stricken by how realistically the bouts in the UFC (OK, I'm guilty of watching) mirror real-life tangles. A few blows, grappling, then it goes to the ground - where no one is assured of winning the confrontation.

Had you beaten the attacker senseless, it's possible that your wife would never look at you the same way again - having no clue that you were capable of that kind of brutality, deserved or not. And sticking around to deal with the gendarmes could go either way - you might wind up arrested yourself!

Had you been bested, it would have left your wife in the terrible spot of wanting to stay to attend to you and being completely vulnerable to further attack.

I vote for the thin veneer of society and compassion.
ronin is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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I feel so bad for you. Could you tell us how it ended up with your debit cards? I've always wondered how the bank would protect us if someone stole our debit cards.

Did the bank cover the loss?
Linda431 is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 02:45 PM
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Actually, Mastercard was very reassuring from the beginning that they would cover everything. The one thing they could not tell me was how my bank debit card would be handled. However, my bank simply asked for a report to verify that I had been the victim of fraudulent use of my card. I supplied the police report (in French) and they asked for a written description of the incident. They completed the paperwork for all 13 transactions on my debit card and tell me that it will be replaced to my account once all the due diligence on their part is performed (about 2 weeks they say). I received similar requests from my credit card company indicating that I dispute some of the charges. I received new credit cards yesterday and am waiting for the debit card. In total, I believe there were around 15 transactions totaling around $2,500 so far.
joram is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 02:54 PM
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Joram, do you think the thief was trying to set up a situation in which it appeared that you bumped into him and were about to fall and he was simply "helping" you? That seems to be a common trick, ripping off in the guise of being helpful...
jayne1973 is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 03:11 PM
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I am so sorry this happened to you. Having traveled to Europe several times I have been very lucky never to have this happen. (I was mugged in downtown Atlanta however and he did have a KNIFE! I gave him what he wanted with no regrets....)

It does remind me of one thing that I do just in case that you might want to consider for future trips.

Leave someone all of your bank card numbers etc at home. I generally photocopy the front and back and leave them with my boyfriend. That way he has both the card numbers and phone numbers if I ever call paniced! (He also has a copy of the passport which could be faxed to the local embassy if needed) I have also cut WAY down on the number or cards I carry just in case. I did lose one once and it was a hassle so now I try just to take the one I plan to use and a spare.
CarolA is offline  
Oct 31st, 2006, 05:48 AM
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mari5, it is true that one should never pass up an opportunity to learn from experience, even and perhaps especially a painful one. But in fairness, I don't think that anyone, least of all jormam, is passing up on any lessons. It is more that an acknowledgement that we are human and fallible is the first step towards designing better preventative measures. Admonitions such as 'stay on the alert' aren't that helpful in avoiding muggings, since a mugging by definition is a crime that happens to an alert, as opposed to an unaware, victim.

It's also true that this thread is longer than some on the subject, but it strikes a chord because of the physical intimidation used - most women on the board are keenly aware of how vulnerable we are to such violation. Blaming ourselves does nothing to reduce our risk of being violated, since blame has nothing to do with risk. You understand this yourself - you took a risk by making critical remarks, but that does not mean you would be to blame were anyone to assault you in response.


nina66 - there is so a clairvoyant's convention, it's just that they are always scheduled yesterday.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Oct 31st, 2006, 06:17 AM
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I'm just hoping that joram's wife will stay closer to him in the future rather than running ahead of him and reducing their security.
kerouac is offline  
Oct 31st, 2006, 06:34 AM
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>> As someone with 2 black belts in various martial arts <<

I'm curious as to which ones. I know some schools give out belts like Halloween candy...

I understand that some martial arts never teach you defenses against knife attacks...
PrincessOfPenguins is offline  
Oct 31st, 2006, 07:46 AM
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Unfortunately, we can all learn from the very bad experiences of others. Any of us can be a crime victim at any time - and to go around thinking you somehow are SO careful it couldn't happen to you is ridiculous.

That said, here are a few of the lessons I see:

- Where the money belt even when you think you don't need it. (I've certainly been guilty of that!)

- Don't assume that you can predict what a mugger looks like.

- Don't assume a neighborhood is safe just because it's a popular tourist destination.

- If a thief can spot your valuables this increases the likelihood of you being targetted.

- If you are traveling with another person, try to carry two debit cards from two different banks. Not having accesss to cash is bad.

- Leave all the phone numbers and credit cards numbers (and photo copies of your passport while you're at it) on a sheet a paper at home with someone you totally trust. If you get into trouble call them and have them do the reporting. Make sure that sheet gets shredded when you get home.

- Any others?
wliwl is offline  
Oct 31st, 2006, 08:08 AM
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Let me tell you a story. In 1994, I was attacked and almost killed by 5 men in Sheridan Sq. in NYC. I was leaving THE MONSTER (a gay bar) at 1 AM after having a few drinks with friends. I had just said goodbye to my friend Arthur, who walked in the other direction, when one of these men asked me if there was an ATM anywhere. I told them I wasn't from the neighborhood so I didn't know. I then went looking for a cab. Another guy asked me if my shoes were "cappezios." I said, "What are you talking about?" A cab rolled up and I started to get in, but two guys grabbed me and pulled me to the ground. One said, "Get the knife out and stab him." I fought and managed to get back into the cab and slammed the door shut. The window was open and one of the guys punched me in the face as I went toward the door to lock it. I screamed, "GO GO GO!" to the cabbie. (He later wanted to throw me out of the cab because I was bleeding on his seat. I gave him $50 to take me to Roosevelt Hospital.)

At the hospital, the police were called. They acted like I was bothering them for filing a report. The nurses and other staff only cared about what kind of medical insurance I had.

The point of all of this is that in a big city, you should be glad you ESCAPED WITH YOUR LIFE, joram. Who cares about the inconvenience???????????

In big cities, no one is going to help you. You have to help yourself and get out of dangerous situations the best way you can.
marginal_margiela is offline  
Oct 31st, 2006, 08:36 AM
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>> I was leaving THE MONSTER (a gay bar)(...) <<

Sounds like a hate crime attack, and not any kind of attempted mugging/robbery.
PrincessOfPenguins is offline  

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