Melisa Marzett: A Story of a Friend Who Experienced an Armed Attack

Broadly speaking, 6 out of 10 women experience either physical or sexual violence. World Health Organization studies of 24 000 of women in different c

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Broadly speaking, 6 out of 10 women experience either physical or sexual violence. World Health Organization studies of 24 000 of women in different countries have shown that occurrence either sexual or physical violence on behalf of a partner varies between


15 % in urban Japan and

71 % in agrarian Ethiopia;

at most districts, this figure makes 30-60 %.

Anti-women violence has consequences, afflicting damage to families and society.

Violence for women and girls at the age of 14-16 is the main reason for death and disability.

The World Bank studies showed that on 10 factors of selected risk girls and women of this age group face with, showed that rape and violence in a family are of a greater danger than cancer, accidents, war and malaria.

My Friend’s Story


It is always sad to hear a story about someone who experienced violence and it is a double tragedy if this someone is a person you know, a member of your family or a friend.

Not just sad but frightening. My friend became a victim of an armed assault.

She was going home just before midnight.

She noticed the person who attacked her but was unable to avoid it.

She could not believe it.

An attack of this kind was hard to happen in Finland (yes, she is Finnish) besides that on the street she lives in,  police were at her door that very night.

And, she wanted to talk with the officers before morning.

The next days may be a bit foggy but the violations are not.  Here’s what she knows.

Someone stole her phone, a wallet with all the credit cards, ID and her keys

The news article about the accident was too recognizable.

One newspaper published a picture of her entry door and specifically mentioned her age.

The details that she couldn’t bear to share, were delivered to friends and family via the media.

She was so overwhelmed that nearly all of the phone calls went unanswered.

Those that she did talk with were helpful listeners.

Unfortunately, her attacker attacked another woman.  That’s when he was caught.

When she went to the police station for a line-up she learned that the attack was videotaped.

It just so happened that there was a camera on the street. His confession came quickly.


HOWEVER, the person who attacked her was insisting that he was not armed.

The police were confused. 

“Are you sure that he had a gun?”

“Do you think that it was real?”

Now my friend was confused. Remembering every single detail was hard. Falling asleep was hard.  Hanging onto her mental health was hard. 

Pain. Pain in her stomach.  Pain in her head.

Eventually, her assailant confessed.  He even led police to the weapon.

The one that she knew he had all along.

Finally, he was sentenced to two years.  And so, the healing journey began.


Her employer was growing more and more uncomfortable with her frequent absences.

Panic attacks. Panic attacks on the metro. Panic attack in a university lecture hall.

Triggers from everyday people being everyday people.

She loves watching movies. But the attack changed that. Now, if there was a gun in the movie, she couldn’t watch it.

Depression returned. Paranoia. Fear.

She endured this and more for an entire year.

After 2 years, the memories began to fade.

Then, 5 years later, the attack seemed to be a dream.

And yet, what happened became an integral part of her life.

What kind of dream is that? Her feeling of safety was breached.

Now life seems to be more fragile.

Now life seems to be more valuable.

New dreams came true.

And yet, as strange as it may sound, what happened and all of the consequences that came with it have a new meaning. 

 She discovered a potential within herself that she hadn’t seen before. 

 It is possible to bear some of the worst that life throws your way.

 Mutual relations within her family became better too. Her friendly relations changed: some people became closer, some relations cooled down.

Not every friend could hang on during the turbulent times. But, she grew closer to those who weathered the storm with her.  

If she could change just one thing, she would have sought professional help earlier. She would have like to have known about crime victim services so that she could feel supported by people who knew and understood the system.


Here are a few tips she would like to share with those who want to help someone who has experienced an attack of any kind:

Avoid blame. Nobody becomes a crime victim voluntarily. Most of all, those people surprised me who was saying that you need to be careful with whom following you or asking why you did not cry out for help?

Do not be afraid of the strange reactions. My fear and panic attacks were probably shocking for some of my friends. The feeling of going crazy is typical for a crisis. A situation will not become easier if friends are to be afraid of you.

Listen.  People who are crime victims need close friends and loved ones to be there. If it is necessary, you can help a person to apply for professional help.

Make an appointment with crisis intervention centre or call a crime victim help service.

Simply supporting victims by letting them know that experiencing strange symptoms and reactions is completely normal. 

About the author: Melisa Marzett is a great guest poster who is not afraid of challenges when it comes to writing. Working for now, she is eager to help students with their college assignments. Writing is what she does best of all and it is easily seen in her publications.

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