I attended college in the Pacific Northwest. One night I was studying late at the campus library. Buried in my studies, I didn’t know that particular night was designated a “Take Back The Night” night. Normally, this would mean a group of women march through the campus chanting and generally raising awareness about women’s safety issues - all of which I support.
Not on this campus.
I left the library and made my way across the quad toward the outer campus. I'd parked about half a mile away from campus, but the walk was usually a pleasant one. As I recall, the campus did seem particularly empty that night, but I was mostly lost in thoughts of the paper I was writing. I was just past the student union when I heard some commotion and a shout “There’s one! Get him!”
I turned and saw a group of women, some of which appeared to be close to my size (6’2”, 200lbs). And more than a few had bats.
I turned back and ran.
The yells from behind me told me they were pursuing me. What I didn’t hear were the yells from in front of me. I reached the corner of the gymnasium and ran head long in to a woman (from a similar group) who was running down the sidewalk perpendicular to mine. I didn’t see her due to the hard corner of the building. We crashed hard, both went down, and I tumbled out in to the street.
I remember opening my eyes and seeing the starry night above me and wondering a bit about that when suddenly one of the women broke in to my field of view screaming at me.
A cacophony of vulgarity, mostly directed at my gender, escaped her hollering maw, but what I remember most was that she was accusing me of attacking the gal I’d run in to. Then, without much of a pause, I saw her lift a bat directly over my head and start to bring it down. I quickly rolled to my right and her bat crashed down on to my backpack I’d had slung over one shoulder. Panic set in.
I tried to get up and immediately felt hands pulling on me. I felt a punch to the left side of my head and then immense pain in my right shoulder. Realizing I was going to be killed, I pushed with herculean effort and managed to get to my feet, somehow keeping my backpack dangling from my arm. Screaming bat girl was still screaming and had cocked back for another blow. I lunged her direction and pushed against her chest as hard as I could. She was off balance and went flying backward only to land on her butt. More screaming followed and someone grabbed my left arm in their hands. I retracted my arm, pulling her with me, screamed “LET GO!”, and head-butted her in the face. The hands let go and I jumped toward the gal I had shoved. Still on her butt, she recoiled, but I jumped clear over her and began sprinting as fast as I could.
The direction I’d taken off was toward the cemetery attached to the campus, so even though it wasn’t in the direction of my car, I went straight in figuring I could lose them in the dark.
Apologies to the occupants of any grave I sprinted over - I ran pretty much directly straight through the cemetery, looking back only when I’d reached the other side (some 1/4 mile away). To this day I’ve never run as fast as I did that night. If any of the women pursued me through the cemetery, I’ll never know. When I looked back I was alone.
I continued running for about another 1/4 mile, blowing through every intersection. Finally I stopped to catch my breath. Way off course, I began walking toward where I’d parked, keeping a careful eye out for anyone.
I made it to the car and drove home and the next day woke up to enough pain in my right arm that I couldn’t move it at all. An enormous bruise formed over my whole shoulder and down my arm. The doctor said it wasn’t broken, but I’m not sure. He suspected bat girl had got in a solid hit and he put me in a sling for a few weeks.
After all of that I was a lucky one. That night the women caught another guy on campus and beat him bad enough he was put in the hospital for a month. The attack made the school paper, but nobody discussed it. There was no mention in the town paper.
Several other guys were beat up and/or run off that night. I learned from others this was a yearly thing and the campus administration turned a blind eye in the name of being progressive. I understand similar things have happened elsewhere.
I’m all for women’s rights, but this was taking things way way too far.
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