Mumsnet has not checked the knowledge, experience or professional qualifications of anyone posting on Mumsnet Talk and cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you have any serious legal concerns, we would suggest you consult a lawyer.

Horrible incident/assault in the Science Museum yesterday

(84 Posts)
Dodo76 Sat 22-Feb-14 10:08:41

Had a horrible incident in the Science Museum yesterday when I was there with DP and his DCs, 10 and 8 and my DSs, 5 and 3. DSs were playing with a water feature in the kids play area in the basement. DP and I were stood at one end watching (the feature was 3-4m long max). I was watching DS1 when I saw a woman start screaming at him and waving her finger right in his face. I went over and said, can you please not scream at him and waive your finger in his face (then was about to ask what he had done) when this woman turned on me and started screaming at me that I was a terrible mother, that it was my fault DS1 as like this etc. I asked her to stop screaming at me at which point she pushed me hard backwards. I was completely shocked and said do not push me and went to find a security guard and DP (who had gone to check on his DS) who then came over then the woman kept screaming at DP saying I was a terrible mother, mad etc. The manager came and we both went out. She told her version, no doubt a pack of lies, then I told mine but because it was my word against hers they couldn't do anything. I said I had been assaulted and did not want to go back in with that woman there. I know it's not a massive thing but I am completely shaken and can't stop crying. What is also really upsetting is that this incident was witnessed by about 20-30 people and none stepped in or came forward to support my version of what happened, although I think a few people were telling her to shut up etc. I may be overreacted but I have called the police and was going to formally report it later today but am now wondering whether to bother as there were no cameras there and I can't see that they would bother to take it further. I just feel like I don't want to leave the house. Any guidance on what to do would be very welcome.

Dodo76 Sat 22-Feb-14 16:40:38

Also, there was no queue to get in. Everyone was stressed, I am sure, but it does not excuse verbally and physically assaulting someone.

Dodo76 Sat 22-Feb-14 16:45:05

I was watching from a few metres away. It wasn't possible to be much closer as there were numerous children nor did I feel it was necessary to stand immediately over them!!! I was about 6ft away.

youarewinning Sat 22-Feb-14 16:48:24

I can't believe people are actually blaming you accusing you of escalating it. I have no issue with anyone telling my ds off if he warrants it. However is a busy science museum a 5 yo who forgets themself and then gives back a toy when requested does not warrant screaming and pointing in their face.

In fact there is no excuse to do that whatever had happened.

Quixo Sat 22-Feb-14 16:49:30

Hi OP, I have had a couple of encounters with wildly abusive people in the past. People who have no ability to react appropriately or who smash and scream without due cause etc etc. It always leaves me feeling really horrible and it plays on my mind. I have left a complaint or reported the incident as a way of getting it out of my system. I hope you feel better and I am sure over time, if this woman does this enough, she'll learn the hard way.
Science museum, at half term though....nutter. smile

Dodo76 Sat 22-Feb-14 16:53:23

Thanks Quixo and everyone else for the supportive messages. I must have been very naive but I have really never encountered this before. Yes people can be tetchy and we are all protective of our kids but this was just utterly bizarre and I feel oddly violated. I keep going over it in my head and it's frustrating as there is nothing I could have done differently other than not go! Lesson learnt, never ever again. As for this woman, I cannot believe this has not happened before with her and that she has a record.

RedHelenB Sat 22-Feb-14 16:56:42

You COULD have done something different, but as you are not listening to anyone who isn't saying there there then this situation could easily arise again. And I'd worry for your son when he is older if he goes in all guns blazing in a pub situation - could well end up being glassed!

Redhelen. Words fail me at your inability to read the op. End up being glassed my arse....

ProphetOfDoom Sat 22-Feb-14 17:03:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Well done op for reporting this. Sounds horrible.

moldingsunbeams Sat 22-Feb-14 17:05:50

im willing to lay bets that he didn't just gently catch her hand as he handed it back seeing he had snatched it away in the first place which you didn't see happen despite watching.
I have been that parent a billion times who's child has been knocked about, pushed, had stuff taken or hit my child as dd has sn and is a pushover sad then been told their little johnny wouldn't do such a thing. We stopped going out at busy times to such places after dd was smashed over the head with massive duplo blocks by a seven year old and ended up in hospital while the mother said they were just being kids (he had also spat in her face)


and basically lose the plot.

BUT
I have always reported and she was v v wrong to push you.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 22-Feb-14 17:06:45

RedHelen, that is utter bollocks.

OP, it probably WON'T ever happen to you again, you seem to have encountered someone with a real problem knowing how to behave around other people. They are not that common.

SirChenjin Sat 22-Feb-14 17:07:14

Oh do shut up Redhelen - you are making a complete tit of yourself.

moldingsunbeams Sat 22-Feb-14 17:08:23

sorry dont know why a sentense is in wrong place, basically she was v v wrong to scream at you and push you despite the fact its bloody annoying when its always your kids who are the target

Nerfmother Sat 22-Feb-14 17:16:52

Op no one has the right to push you at all. That's a bit close to victim blaming tbh. However we choose to deal with things, physical aggression is wrong.
It must be museum rage week though.
On Thursday, I was trying to keep an umbrella up and exit the hates at the British museum (we'd been evacuated). I felt a huge, deliberate push (not a knock) and was stunned to see it was an elderly chap. I told dd, which he may have heard. We crossed over, and were in front of him and his old man mates, at which point he started saying loudly, 'that stupid woman kept poking with her unbrella' (we are talking seconds between umbrella and shove).
I turned round and told him not to be so bloody rude, and that he'd shoved me, at which point he delighted in ranting loudly at my being a stupid woman etc etc and finished with
a triumphant 'and you're ugly!'
I was equally devasted by the lack of interest from passers by, by his friends who didn't attempt to stop him, and have been so upset by the whole thing - I wish I'd bloody told the museum police.
So I can totally get where you are now. Confrontation is bewildering and horrible, with no real conclusion.

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 22-Feb-14 17:19:03

I was there yesterday too, and it was enough to drive any sane person to the limit, but physically abusing someone is one of those lines you just don't cross, isn't it.

Not sure the police will take it any further, but I'd be in contact with the Science Museum on Mon (when it is a little calmer) and see what their record says and if they are willing to share details of the other woman with the police.

Guitargirl Sat 22-Feb-14 17:20:18

I know the area you mean, it is virtually impossible to stand right next to your child when it's very busy without squashing a lot of orange-jacketed small people trying to play with the water.

I have been the parent of children who get the boats snatched from them. I know how stressy it can get. I usually tut and passive aggressively talk loudly about bossy children who can't wait their turn - while their parents totally ignore me...! And then we try a different area. Now that my DCs are a bit older they are old enough to say 'no, don't snatch, please' and my PA-tactics are not called into use as much.

But I wouldn't dream of actually pushing a parent! And I don't believe for a minute that there is no CCTV in that area. Probably best to just let it go and chalk it up as a bad day out - and hope you don't run into that woman again...

sara11272 Sat 22-Feb-14 17:28:16

OP, I feel for you. This sort of thing is horrible.

Something similar happened to me a while ago - 3 DCs and I were watching my husband compete in a triathlon. I stood next to a woman (and remember specifically telling my children to make sure they didn't get in her way), moved in front of her for maybe 2 seconds to try and get the attention of a steward, and she proceeded to shout at me for standing in front of her and because my DCs (who must be all of 3 foot tall) were 'blocking her view'.

I told her how unnecessary her behavious was, but you do start to doubt yourself and wonder if you were being entitled/ not making your children behave etc.

But afterwards two other women came up to me, separately, to say they'd seem what had happened and that she'd behaved equally irrationally towards them.

So while it's horrid - I'm still getting shaky thinking about it now: I hate confrontation - it did make me think that some people are clearly just a bit unhinged and you can't do anything about them - so best not to waste your energy thinking about them.

I had an encounter with a woman in canary wharf. She accused me of barging into her DCs - I wasn't near her DCs - it was total crap. My DS was really scared and I was shocked and handled it really badly because I got upset and offended.

It was horrible and stayed with me for ages as I'm not confrontational. It was shock to be the target of such anger and hatred. She was posh, entitled and took her bad day out on me.

Try and forget it. Sooner the better. There are some twats out there. There's no talking to them.

"She'd probably been queuing for two hours to get in and having a toy ripped out of her dd's hands was probably the last straw."

If you can't stop yourself becoming abusive when children behave like children and take toys from one another then you really shouldn't visit attractions aimed at families.
Also, where did the OP say her son had "ripped" a toy from the hands of the other child? Nothing like a bit of exaggeration to prove a point is there?

OP, that sounds like an awful situation to have found yourself in and I think you did well to have stayed as calm as you did. I know it's easier said than done but please don't let this one incident spoil the weekend for you. The chances of you coming across another mother like that one is slim.
The majority of parents know that children don't always behave as they should and wouldn't dream of screaming at a child and pointing in their face, their own or anyone else's.

youarewinning Sat 22-Feb-14 17:58:47

I cannot believe anyone thinks the reaction to seeing a banshee screaming in your child's face and wagging a finger in it is to actually ask what the child has done.

That stance actually assimilates that the woman was justified in doing so.

Ok the child may have taken the boat and may have given it back grudgingly. A simple sharp word or taking the child to their parent is what is required.

It may take a village to raise a child but a village of thugs will not raise children who can deal with difficult situations appropriately.

CalamityKate Sat 22-Feb-14 18:16:34

Redhelen - you're reallllly weird confused

K8Middleton Sat 22-Feb-14 18:22:21

Sounds awful sad I am very surprised at the staff not being better. I was there last week and it was quite chaotic as would be expected but the staff were very good at managing all the numpties wheeling their empty buggy into the play area knocking over small children and then parking it in the way of the activities. There were also regular announcements.

I am not surprised that there was a woman there who did not know how to behave but I am sad nobody came forward to help you or gave a statement.

Awful experience and you have done the right thing to report it. Hope you can put it behind you now.

Lifeisaboxofchocs Sat 22-Feb-14 18:23:15

Screaming and jabbing her finger at my DS.

I would love to say differently, but I would have caused a scene. How dare she? I know my DS well enough to know that nothing, at 3 years old with me a few metres away, could he have possibly done that would have waranted that woman to behave like that.

Op, I think you showed remarkable restraint to be perfectly honest.

RedHelenB Sat 22-Feb-14 18:24:54

What's weird about suggesting you ask what the matter is first?

mollythetortoise Sat 22-Feb-14 18:26:45

I was there too between noon and 1pm only. We avoided the basement play place though as thankfully my children have got too old grin. Anyway I can contest to the fact it was heaving.
At south ken tube a women witha young girl was having screaming fit at another family for ,from what i could tell, was the crime of slowing down her passage through the buggy gate. Maybe same woman!?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now