Rosie Wilson

On the evening of 11th April, I was cycling down Endymion Road in London, and a man in a Mercedes aggressively, and very closely, overtook me, and then started shouting out of his window that I was in the middle of the road (I was not). When he stopped at traffic lights he continued to shout at me and when I shouted back “Fuck Off”, he shouted, “I don’t care if you’re a woman, I’ll get out and punch you in the face”. As I went to the front of the car to take a photo of his number plate in order to report him, he repeated the threat and started driving forward to where I was standing. As I moved out of the way, I kicked his car. At this point, he got out of the car and walked towards me. I called the police but he wouldn’t stop coming towards me. While I was on the phone he was shouting that I must be on my period, I must be pregnant and need to get my iron levels checked, that I was crazy and needed to be sectioned. I was shouting back at him and the person on the phone was telling me not to engage, to walk away, that I was escalating the situation. He continued shouting that I’d made a dent in his expensive car, and asking what would happen if he’d kicked my cheap bike. When the police arrived, they took statements from myself and the arsehole, then the male officer asked what I wanted to happen. I said that I called because I was in danger, and obviously wanted to press charges. They responded that as I had damaged his car, if I pressed charges, he would too, and so we’d both be arrested, with the male officer adding, “so we could do that or just leave it, as you are both kind of equal”. I walked around the car to see the ‘damage’, both the arsehole and the officer said it was just a scuff and had been wiped off. I then went back to the female officer and told her “ok, I would like to press charges”. She looked shocked and said, “really? but you will both have to come to the police station”. I explained no, there’s no damage to the car. She responded, “yes, but you still kicked it and that’s an offence, if you press charges, he will too”. She then offered me a lift home but I declined as I had my bike with me. Meanwhile, the male officer and the arsehole (or I should say now, the two arseholes) were chatting and sharing a joke about something. I then had to watch the man who had threatened to punch me get back into his car and happily drive away. I told both officers that I couldn’t believe he could just threaten someone like that and be able to just drive away, that I had called 999 because I really felt that he was going to attack me, that as a female cyclist I regularly have to deal with abuse from male drivers and that the driver could now just go and do the same to another woman. The male officer responded, “well I’m not saying you’re as bad as each other but you did kick his car”. I said that he threatened to punch me, I don’t just go around kicking cars, that there was not even any damage. He said “yeah, but two wrongs don’t make a right”. I felt like I was being told off and that the implication was that it had all happened because I had kicked his car – it was my fault and I deserved what had happened. I said I did this because I was physically threatened and angry. The officer told me that this was not in self-defense, he wouldn’t do that in that situation, and it was reckless. I felt that what I had told the officers about what the man had said to me, and the threat that I’d received, was being dismissed and not even believed. As the policeman had told me my actions were reckless,- which resonated with the arsehole’s comments that I was on my period – I told him that he was just as bad as the man in the car. He told me that if I was going to be like that, they’d leave me. And they did, in a complete state (crying and on the verge of having a panic attack), on the side of a quiet road late at night, where I had just been threatened, and where the guy who’d threatened me could easily come back. There were no efforts to comfort me, or any empathy with regards to what I’d experienced. Last year, I had my phone stolen and I was given the details of Victim Support. I received no such support or follow-up after the incident, in which I was physically in danger. The day afterwards, I did not want to leave my house, and am still disturbed by the situation. I felt completely alone, that they had not believed what I’d said and thought I was being dramatic. The incident and threat I received was not taken seriously and in the end I felt I would have been better off not calling the police.