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WIBU to walk past this?

(8 Posts)
bette06 Fri 12-Jun-15 22:31:22

This evening I was walking alone past a youth centre. It is always really busy on a Friday night and there are usually lots of young people (mainly late teens) on the streets around it. Often as I'm approaching there's some kind of loud argument or a bit of a scuffle going on which makes me think something is going to kick off but when I get closer it's just a verbal disagreement or any 'scuffle' is playful or trying to grab something of someone rather than an all-out proper fight. (Both girls and boys attend the club but the more physical arguments or fighting to grab something of someone tends to be between the lads.)

This evening, there were a few lads standing around the porch obviously watching something going on. As I approach I hear a woman's laugh and then when I walk past the entrance I can see a young woman shielding herself with something (a board or a chair or something) and a lad hitting at it with an umbrella. I think there are a few other people in the porch area but can't see if they are lads or girls. For the brief period of time I can see, he is hitting at the board (not hitting her) and not trying to remove her 'shield' or hit behind to actually hurt her. Just after I pass, I hear her shout 'help help' - not in a particular fearful, distressed voice but not with any laughter in her voice either. I'm about 95% certain that this is just more of the usual hijinks. The only thing that bothers me is that it's woman and that she has shouted 'help'. I know it's a youth club so there will be staff somewhere in the building so I reasssure myself with that thought, and that the female laugh probably came from the young woman I saw and walk on by. WIBU?

If anyone says they would have done something, what would you have done? My thought at the time, if I had done something, was to ask the girl if she was okay. However, when I thought about this afterwards, it didn't seem like a good idea. If the incident was just hijinks, either they would just have laughed or they might have got angry/aggressive about me 'sticking my nose in'. If it had been a violent incident, I would have been taking on a group of guys in their late teens who were bigger and stronger than me.

The youth centre is in quite an isolated spot so, other than the teens milling around, there isn't anyone close by and, whatever staff were on duty, would be somewhere within the building which I couldn't get past because the incident was in the entrance area. So as not to dripfeed, this is in a high-crime inner city area which has problems with guns, drugs and gangs but I have never seen any evidence of the young people using the centre being involved in this - just the behaviour I've described above.

LashesandLipstick Fri 12-Jun-15 22:34:22

I would have phoned the police. Best scenario, it's nothing and they get told to be quiet, worst scenario you just helped someone who was uncomfortable and being bullied.

I was bullied as a teen and it made my anxiety so much worse - one of the worst things was seeing people witness the incident and walk off. It's condoning it. So yes I think you were

MrsNextDoor Fri 12-Jun-15 22:35:25

I wouldn't have done a thing. When I was that age and in my youth theatre, we quite often used to engage in physical play...we were all between 14 and 19 or so...lads would pick us up...we'd play "no rules footy" which could easily involve me being carried to a bin or just held back...we'd get in proper's very normal.

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Fri 12-Jun-15 23:00:01

I would have asked her if she was ok. A young woman/girl shouting help and shielding herself from a young man with a chair? I couldn't walk on by without even checking she was alright.
Probably it was just messing and no-one was at risk, but it would have taken 2 seconds to find that out and then keep going.

bette06 Fri 12-Jun-15 23:26:03

As I've said though, although that was my thought at the time, I don't think it would have helped things, if anything was wrong.

In your scenario, the girl is fine/just messing, I take '2 seconds' to check that out and then go on my way - The girl isn't any better off then she was anyway and I've just made myself feel reassured.

If she isn't fine and I intervene in a violent incident, which now involves me (as a petite, lone woman) against a number of big (and, in this scenario, violent) young men, I don't think my intervention is going to improve things for either of us.

In retrospect, the only feasible options I can think of is either a) doing nothing or b) call the police (although I didn't think of that at the time and it still feels like an over-reaction in the context of the other cues which would indicate that it was just teenagers messing around).

sparklewater Fri 12-Jun-15 23:34:29

YABU. She was calling for help and it didn't sound jokey but you still walked by? Everyone is different, but I couldn't have done that. Even just doubling back for another look would have been a good idea.

mrsfuzzy Fri 12-Jun-15 23:35:11

how would you feel if someone was 'horse playing' one of your kids and no one did anything ? better to call police, be a good witness and be reassured. personally i'm the idiot who gets involved, it's only a matter of time before it goes pear shaped but i take the risk. i don't condone it though. not everyone is as stupid as me thankfully.

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Fri 12-Jun-15 23:40:52

If she isn't fine and I intervene in a violent incident, which now involves me (as a petite, lone woman) against a number of big (and, in this scenario, violent) young men, I don't think my intervention is going to improve things for either of us.

I think what you really mean is that it probably wouldn't improve the situation for YOU. Which is not an irrelevant point at all, but lets be honest. It would have improved her chances if she was really in trouble.
You could have gone into the youth club and spoken to the staff.

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