We usually take our safety for granted that we only reflect on our lives and show our gratitude when it’s too late. Khristine C. thought that’s what happened to her, but luckily, she escaped and lived to tell the tale. While walking home in Parang, Marikina, a man she didn’t recognize put his arm around her and held a gun to her waist. According to her:
He didn’t speak or ask for anything, he just walked while dragging me along. I always wondered why people who were assaulted like that weren’t able to defend themselves when they could easily scream for help. Now I know why. The fear paralyzed me. I can barely make a sound or have the strength to push him away.
She tried to call the attention of the people they would come across using her eyes, but they seemed not to get the hint.
People would look at me strangely, and for a moment I would feel saved thinking they got what I was trying to tell them only to see them look away at the last second or bow their heads thinking the man beside me was my dad, my uncle, my friend. We passed one street after the other. We passed by our street. And then I lost hope.
That’s when she started reflecting on her life.
I saw our gate, and I remembered my brother calling me earlier that afternoon because he needed help with his homework. I remembered promising to help him with it after dinner. I remembered my parents in the province who texted me just a while back telling me to text back once I got home. I remembered the people I fought with. The people I haven’t got the chance to apologize to yet. The people I haven’t said I-love-you to enough just yet.
And realized that she may never do those things again. Soon, night began to fall.
For the thousandth time, I prayed. But this time, it wasn’t for a miracle. I no longer hoped that someone would suddenly save me. It was getting darker, and less people were around. I prayed for forgiveness, for gratitude. I prayed for the ones I love, for the ones I hurt, the dreams I’ve had, the things I could have, should have, and would have done. It hit me then. So this is what it feels like when you’re about to die.
Fortunately, a group of strangers who looked like they were about to play basketball got the hint and came to her rescue.
We walked a few more streets leading to the dark part of the barangay. I was already decided on running even if that meant he’d pull the trigger and I’d be hit without a chance of surviving. Then, a group of men who looked like they were about to play basketball walked towards us. One of them suddenly said “Uy, Camille, musta?” [Hey, Camille, how are you?] (No, I didn’t know him) The man with his arm over me continued to drag me faster and that confirmed the guy’s suspicions that something was wrong. He then said “Teka, pare, kinakausap ko kaibigan ko” (Wait, I’m talking to my friend), then suddenly pulled him away with two of his friends pulling me in the opposite direction.
Khristine can’t recall what happened next, but she kept it from her family until it was safe. They later went to the police station and found out that there have been similar incidents in the vicinity. Khristine shared some tips on how to better protect yourself:
1. There is no “too early” or “too late” for criminals. There was still light and a lot of people when this happened.
2. Criminals do not choose places. This happened in a place where a lot of people are present and active, and again there was still light.
3. Always be aware of your surroundings and be alert of the people around you. You might be saving not only your life, but someone else’s.
4. If there’s something you have to do, or someone you have to talk to, do it now. After what happened, I realized how crucial time is. We may never have a second chance.
5. Pray. Trust me, it does a lot.
What a terrifying ordeal.
What do you think? Share your thoughts below.