Case study 2: Female runner assaulted by male moped driver, Darlington
Tracy used to suffer from depression. She had had problems within her family, especially with her sister. She found that running was a great stress reliever, and lifted her depression, enabling her to maintain better relationships.
At the time of the incident which led to our involvement, she was working as a bus driver and used to run home after parking up her bus at the end of her shift, a distance of around 3 miles.
One day as she was running past the entrance to a supermarket car park, she was involved in an altercation with the driver of a moped, who thought she should have stopped and given way to him. Shaken by the exchange, she walked across the road into a coffee shop where she knew a friend of hers worked. Without realising it, the moped driver had followed her across the road, and then proceeded to assault her by hitting her hard in the face. He then sped away before she had time to take down his number plate.
She reported the incident to the police, and several weeks later she spotted the moped again and passed the number plate details to the police so they could trace the man. The assault had taken place whilst he still had his helmet on, so she had not been able to get a look at his face or give a description other than his height and stature.
By the time our restorative facilitators became involved in supporting Tracy, we learnt that she had given up her job as a bus driver, as she had not been sure if the person who assaulted her had been a disgruntled customer, and was afraid he would get on the bus and assault her again. She had also stopped running , put on weight and become very depressed, thus worsening her relations with her family and friends. She had no wish to meet the person who assaulted her, but simply wanted to understand if the assault had been as a result of anything she had done, and to know what he looked like so she would not spend time wondering if he was following her.
After speaking to the man, our facilitators were able to reassure her that the incident had been a one-off as he had truly believed he had right of way, and he thought she had not been paying attention. The assault was out of character for him, and he asked the facilitators to pass on his sincere apologies and assurances that he would not do such a thing again. He also permitted the facilitators to take his photograph so Tracy could know what he looked like. Tracy’s confidence and peace of mind were completely restored, and she took up running again.
Tracy was amazed when she learnt that our facilitators were volunteers who had willingly given up so much of their own time to help her. She was so grateful that she ran the Great North Run to fund raise for the Hub, wearing a t-shirt we had made specially for her with our logo on.