When asked to write about violence in today’s society, I thought this would be rather difficult. Yes I keep updated with all the news and what is happening in this country and the world over and it never ceases to amaze me the craziness that is taking over the world today. However, our family are close, we always talk, chat and keep each other updated with all the news, what is going on and our children who are now young adults are great at socializing, have a superb social life and are always full of the joys of spring. Always laughing, catching up on facebook with everyone, and we just laugh and joke with each other all the time. Friends popping in out of the blue, staying for dinner and generally open house. So when presented with this task I thought lots of research and talking to other parents and finding out their views. I had no idea how our lives would change due to one event.
A few months ago we had a phone call in the early hours of the morning. It was our eldest son. He was miles away (150 to be exact) in an ambulance as he had been attacked. The phone call was to say in ambulance been jumped by three men, head bleeding badly, eye bleeding and going to hospital “please come and pick me up”. This is something as parents we all dread but never think will happen to us. How it changes everything. Our son was very upbeat and we all believe it was the adrenalin kicking in. Nothing like not knowing how badly your son is hurt, if he has major head injuries or if he has lost the sight in one eye. Panic just sets in and all you want to do is get to them as quickly as possible. Our son had the presence of mind to put us onto the ambulance staff who were brilliant to give us the full address of the hospital. So we jumped in our car and just drove. The longest drive of our lives as it just seemed to take us hours. Everything going through our minds, worrying if he is OK, and he was calling us to see how close we were as just wanted to get back to the safety of home. Questioning why this happened, what made these lads attack a group of friends out celebrating. So many questions and no answers. After hours of driving through the night we finally arrived at the hospital and we were inches away from seeing him for the first time. As parents the shock of seeing your son’s face battered, you just cannot explain the horror and all you want to do is hug them and tell them it will be alright. Really in your heart you blame yourself for not being with them to protect them, but that is the parental instinct kicking in. He was being interviewed by the local police (a very nice man) and it came about that the lads who attacked them were looking for a fight and our son and his friends had been out celebrating and advised them they did not want any trouble and to leave them alone. As you can gather this did not happen and the lads jumped our son and his friends. They were all pulling together which is amazing bravery. To stick by your friends and try and pull the attackers off and stay in the thick of it takes a huge amount of courage and our son and his friends certainly showed tremendous courage. Luckily a passer by (a young woman) seeing blood called the ambulance and the police arrived just in time (as one of the attackers pulled a knife on one of the other lads and ran when hearing th sirens). Thank goodness no one was killed and all three lads were alive and well. The attackers were caught by the police and what happens to them is another tale.
Finally once our son had been cared for, had scans and wounds cleaned we were able to bring him home and eventually arrived in the safety of our own home 7.30am. I cannot tell you the relief we felt when arriving home. We were back with the family and our son was alive and well. He did have major injuries to his head, but eventually the eye healed and no damage to his sight thank goodness. His injuries included deep cut on the eyebrow, but this is not really visible as hidden by his eyebrows. However, the cut on his cheek is very visible. A deep cut which has now left a very permanent scar and one which is a constant reminder when he looks in the mirror every morning. Oh how we wish we could go back in time and change everything. A night out which ended up changing all our lives.
Our son is strong, has a huge heart and is coping as best he can presently. However, we have seen a change and can understand the anger he feels. It was not his fight, his friends never wanted to get involved with any violence and a night out ended in such tragic circumstances. We are all so relieved that they are all alive, but when you are scarred like this it is a constant reminder every day of the incident and will be with your for the rest of your life. How you deal with this and cope is another matter. Feelings change, attitude to people changes and anger is looming deep down.
We know it will take time for him to heal, not the wounds but the anger at being attacked for no reason. Only time will heal the inner wounds, the one of disbelief, the question WHY? Thank goodness we have a strong close family, and can help him through the trauma he is dealing with now. We can only assure him he is still the same person, the scar has not made him look ugly, he is still the same confident, intelligent, caring man he always has been and his bravery in pulling of the attackers and the bravery of all 3 of his friends to stick by each other and help them out can only be commended as takes courage to stay and help. We can only tell him he has taught us all a major lesson and that is to help when we can, if people are in need of assistance then help them as it could be your child one day. We can only thank the quick thinking lassie who called the police as she certainly saved their lives and her quick thinking and help ensured all of us had our sons back home safe and sound.
We have a hill to climb and this sort of thing does affect you as a family as it does not pass that quickly and anyone that has been through this realise the support you all need and the importance of being there for each other. Which we all are.
The only thing we can proceed with now is to ensure the attackers are charged with assault and maybe this will stop them in the future. We have to protect each other and hopefully people will learn by the error of their ways and realise we do not have to be violent. There are so many good people in the world and violence is unnecessary, no one has to prove anything, young men should be able to go out and celebrate without worrying about being attacked for any reason. As our son says I will not let this affect my life, I will go out and enjoy myself as my life is for living. A brave young man and we could not be prouder to be his parents. So on that note all we can ask for is for a peaceful world please.
Annete mother to Charlie