By Luana Mattos, Guest Blogger July 22, 2015
A month ago my friend and I were waiting at the bus stop after work when two young men approached. One of them was holding a gun and told my friend to give him her purse, while the other one went straight to the other five women at that bus stop. I looked into my friend's eyes, and in my mind I told her not to hand over her purse, I told her this wasn't happening, that it had to be a joke.
But when I realized that it wasn't a joke, I froze.
It felt like I was watching the whole thing from above. I saw the other guy taking the women's purses, I saw them begging for their stuff. I thought to myself, "No, purse no! I won't give you MY purse!" There was nothing of value in that purse, but my first reaction was to protect what was mine, even that big umbrella I forgot I was holding fiercely.
Then I did what people always told me not to do: I ran.
image via projectpengyou.com
I can't figure it out whether I was brave or just dumb enough to do that, but I turned around the corner and realized that the street was completely deserted. There was no one I could call for help, except for a car parked with open doors waiting for those guys to come back.
I turned back and saw that they were coming towards the car, and somehow it was as if they didn't see me there. I don't know whether I was miraculously invisible or they were too busy to mind me, but they got into the car and sped away.
Luckily they didn't hurt any of the women, and they didn't steal anything from me, at least not my stuff, but they did something worse; they stole my peace! They stole my hope, they stole my faith in people, and I couldn't trust anyone anymore, not even the old lady sitting in the seat next to mine, on the bus that I took right after the guys drove off.
I have never thought of women as easy targets. I grew up surrounded by strong women, so when I saw that there were other five women at the bus stop, I had felt safe. But what are seven women against two men with a gun?
I have never thought of women as easy targets.
That afternoon I found out that we are the targets, not because we are weak, but because we are not cowardly enough to use guns to defend ourselves.
As much as I hate any kind of fight, I give credit to the fights that don't use guns but rather people's skills of defense and attack. At least it is fair, at least you get to fight for yourself, instead of having your whole life taken from you in a blink of an eye.
Although the circumstance had casted me as a victim, I know I am not the only one; the guys that robbed my friend and the other women are victims too. They are victims of the system, of a society that cares more about trivialities than education.
In Brazil the government cares more about building stadiums for the World Cup and than building a good education or health system, and the results are there on the streets: robbery, assaults, homeless people, and drug dealers. I am not taking the responsibility out of these people, because to be good or evil is a choice, but some people feel like they don't have the power to choose.
Although the circumstance had casted me as a victim, I know I am not the only one; the guys that robbed my friend and the other women are victims too.
So I started to think about those guys, back when they were children, I bet they didn't dream about becoming a robber or murderer, but something went wrong. But I believe in change, I believe in rehabilitation, I believe that, as Anne Frank said, "people are really good at heart."
You may find this silly or even meaningless, but ever since that night, I have been praying for these guys and for every person that feels like they don't have a choice, that they can't afford to be an honest person, because trust me it costs a lot to be good, to tell the truth, to be selfless and honorable, but the result of all these things is priceless, I promise!
Let's Chat! What do you think about the price of peace? Tell us below!
Luana is Christian girl whose faith inspires her to be the best version of herself every day. Besides her work as an administrative supervisor, she is a freelance journalist and writes a column about real life experiences, focusing on topics relevant to social projects, volunteer work, and awareness campaigns for the Brazilian website www.hollywoodeaqui.com. She also had the opportunity to interview Nicholas Sparks, Wm. Paul Young and L. J. Smith.
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