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Revealed: BP Portrait Award shortlist

Image copyright Hopkins/Pironti

A nude painting of a photographer with her dog and a portrait of a 95-year-old grandmother are on the shortlist for this year’s BP Portrait Award 2019.

There are four finalists, selected from more than 2,500 entries from 84 countries.

The winner, who will pick up £35,000 in prize money, will be announced at a ceremony on 10 June.

All but one of the four shortlisted artists are first-time entrants to the prestigious competition.

One of the images below contains nudity.

Quo Vadis? by Massimiliano Pironti

Image copyright Massimiliano Pironti
Image caption Quo Vadis? by Massimiliano Pironti

Massimiliano Pironti’s portrait Quo Vadis? depicts his maternal grandmother, Vincenza, a former miller and factory worker, now aged 95. Pironti made sketches and took photographs in the kitchen of his grandmother’s home in the Italian town of Gavignano, returning to his studio in Germany for the painting process.

Pironti says: “My grandmother is an example of strength, dignity and authority. Every wrinkle tells her story and I wanted to capture her image to freeze time. This portrait is truly important to me. It touches emotional chords.”

Pironti is also a professional dancer and is currently on stage in a long-running production of the Disney musical Tarzan in Germany.

The Crown by Carl-Martin

Image copyright Carl-Martin Sandvold
Image caption The Crown by Carl-Martin Sandvold

Carl-Martin Sandvold made urban street art during his teenage years before beginning training in Norway, Italy and the US. Sandvold’s current studio is located on the site of Edvard Munch’s former estate on the outskirts of Oslo.

His self-portrait The Crown reflects his interest in “the challenges of life, the strangeness of being alive and other existential issues”.

He adds: “The crown symbolises the peak of power, achievement and material abundance. In this portrait, it suggests one of these things really solve anything.”

Imara in her Winter Coat by Charlie Schaffer

Image copyright Charlie Schaffer
Image caption Imara in her Winter Coat by Charlie Schaffer

London-born Charlie Schaffer’s portrait Imara in her Winter Coat portrays Imara, an English Literature student he met after moving permanently to Brighton.

Schaffer says: “She immediately struck me as someone who is uncompromisingly open and who wants to learn about anything and everything.”

Sittings for the portrait took place over four months, with Imara posing in her warmest winter coat to withstand the studio’s cold conditions.

Schaffer set out to paint only Imara’s face, but subsequently added the coat after being inspired by Titian’s Portrait of Girolamo Fracastoro in the National Gallery, London, with its subject’s similar attire.

Sophie and Carla by Emma Hopkins

Image copyright Emma Hopkins
Image caption Sophie and Carla by Emma Hopkins

Emma Hopkins was born in Brighton in 1989 and is self-taught. She focuses almost exclusively on nude portraits and studies of human flesh.

Hopkins’ portrait Sophie and Carla depicts the photographer Sophie Mayanne and her pet dog Carla. Mayanne is known for Behind the Scars, a photography project about people’s scars and the stories behind them. It is an interest which Hopkins shares. She says: “I want to understand as much as I can about what it means to be human. We are not just the clothed person we present to the world. We are the mind and body that we inhabit.”

The BP Portrait Award 2019 exhibition will run at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from Thursday 13 June to Sunday 20 October 2019.

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Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-48092573

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Two More Victims Found in German Crossbow Murder Mystery

German police searching the apartment of a 30-year-old woman who, along with two others, was fatally shot with a crossbow in an upstairs room of a German B&B have found two more victims who reportedly died the same way.

The bodies of two womenboth reportedly also shot with crossbows, according to news reports therewere found in a bedroom of the apartment on Monday, two days after the three bodies were discovered at the guesthouse in Passau. Police there say they likely died several days earlier.

None of the five victims have yet been identified by name.

Detectives went to the womans home in Lower Saxony after it was discovered that she had booked the triple room in the B&B under her name.

Local news outlet Merkur reports that one of the new victims may be the 30-year-old womans sister. Neighbors said the 30-year-old was quiet and dressed in a gothic style. One neighbor said, She never greeted anyone.

The grim discovery was made on Monday in Wittengen, Lower Saxony, hours away from the macabre discovery at the B&B in Passau, where the 30-year-old woman, a 33-year-old woman and a 54-year-old manall German citizenswere found by a chambermaid in a triple room. They had all been impaled with crossbow arrows, known as bolts. The older man was described as a skilled archer who often carried crossbows in his white pickup truck, according to the German news service DPA.

The man and the older of the two women, who were both from Rhineland-Palatinate but apparently did not live together, were found hand-in-hand on the double bed with several arrows protruding from their chests and heads, investigating prosecutor Walter Feiler told the German news agency DPA. One arrow nearly went all the way through the mans head, according to several German press outlets.

The younger of the women was impaled on a single arrow and was slumped in a pool of blood on the floor. Police are not revealing a suspected motive or a precise method for the triple homicideor even if it is being considered a murder-suicidebut they have so far excluded the possibility of a killer on the loose. We still assume that no other people were involved in the deaths of the three, Gaisbaue said, though he admitted that the discovery of additional bodies in one of the victims homes had complicated the investigation.

Two crossbows thought to be used in the killings were found on the floor of the B&B, Bavarian police spokesman Stefan Gaisbaue confirmed to The Daily Beast. A third crossbow was found inside a duffle bag on the floor. Arrows were scattered around the room. Police have not said whether any crossbows were found at the newer crime scene.

The threesome had checked into the B&B during a torrential rainstorm at 10 p.m. on Friday, according to the manager of the guesthouse. They did not carry luggage when they checked in, but security camera footage shows that one of the women went out to the vehicle to retrieve large bags, presumably with the crossbows inside, after the reception desk closed for the night.

A hotel guest told local newspaper Merkur, that the group was strange and that the man had a long white beard and wore a formal suit. The women were reportedly wearing all black. They had asked for food but since the kitchen had already closed, they took snacks and soft drinks to their room. They had booked breakfast for the next morning, but failed to show up.

The two crime scenes are nearly 430 miles apart. The Northern Saxony apartment is close to the town of Hanover and the Passau B&B is near the Austrian border, which divides the investigation between two jurisdictions. Initial autopsy reports on the Passau victims will be available Tuesday, which should help determine a cause and time of death.

Crossbows can be legally purchased by anyone over 18 for hunting in Germany. It is not yet clear whether the crossbows found at the crime scene were those used by hunters or recreational archers. Murder by crossbow is extremely rare, though accidental injury by shooting is fairly common across Europe. Authorities say they will announce more details about the two new victims and a potential motive in the days ahead.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/german-crossbow-mystery-two-more-victims-found-hours-away-from-trio-in-bandb

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Guy Wanting to Get a Deal on 10 Pressure Cookers Ends up Suspected Terrorist

Going into this, you’d think the worst the can come out of it is that the store finds out that you’re trying to take advantage of them. But no, it can get much worse. That said, you’d think it would dawn on this guy *a little* earlier that it might look *a little* strange to be buying this many pressure cookers. To see what a stupid person can do with a pressure cooker in the kitchen, among other things, here’s some cooking fails

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Read more: https://cheezburger.com/8283909/guy-wanting-to-get-a-deal-on-10-pressure-cookers-ends-up-suspected-terrorist

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Why America Cant Solve Homelessness

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The lunch rush at St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall is a snapshot of the changing character of American homelessness.

The first thing that strikes you is the sheer number of people the soup kitchen serves. The line outside starts forming two hours before the food is ready. Diners file in, eat quickly and get up as soon as they’re finished. They know someone is waiting outside for their seat.


Over a hundred people move through the line to receive a bagged lunch outside of the St. Vincent De Paul Dining Hall on April 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City.

Even more striking than the scale of need are the shifting demographics of who is eating here and why. The homeless population is getting younger, staffers say, and more likely to have children and full-time jobs. In one hour, over taco salad and Fanta, I meet fast-food employees, a former car salesman who lost his home in the financial crisis and a pregnant 31-year-old whose baby is due the same month her housing vouchers run out.

But the biggest surprise about St. Vincent’s may be the state in which it’s located. Just four years ago, Utah was the poster child for a new approach to homelessness, a solution so simple you could sum it up in five words: Just give homeless people homes.

In 2005, the state and its capital started providing no-strings-attached apartments to the “chronically” homeless — people who had lived on the streets for at least a year and suffered from mental illness, substance abuse or a physical disability. Over the next 10 years, Utah built hundreds of housing units, hired dozens of social workers ― and reduced chronic homelessness by 91 percent.


A volunteer counts people receiving lunches at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall.

The results were a sensation. In 2015, breathless media reports announced that a single state, and a single policy, had finally solved one of urban America’s most vexing problems. Reporters from around the country came to Utah to gather lessons for their own cities. In a widely shared “Daily Show” segment,Hasan Minhaj jogged the streets of Salt Lake City, asking locals if they knew where all the homeless people had gone.

But this simplistic celebration hid a far more complex truth. While Salt Lake City targeted a small subset of the homeless population, the overall problem got worse. Between 2005 and 2015, while the number of drug-addicted and mentally ill homeless people fell dramatically, the number of people sleeping in the city’s emergency shelter more than doubled. Since then, unsheltered homelessness has continued to rise. According to 2018 figures, the majority of unhoused families and single adults in Salt Lake City are experiencing homelessness for the first time.

“People thought that if we built a few hundred housing units we’d be out of the woods forever,” said Glenn Bailey, the executive director of Crossroads Urban Center, a Salt Lake City food bank. “But if you don’t change the reasons people become homeless in the first place, you’re just going to have more people on the streets.”

This is not just a Salt Lake City story. Across the country, in the midst of a deepening housing crisis and widening inequality, homelessness has concentrated in America’s most prosperous cities. So far, municipal leaders have responded with policies that solve a tiny portion of the problem and fail to account for all the ways their economies are pushing people onto the streets.

The reality is that no city has ever come close to solving homelessness. And over the last few years, it has become clear that they cannot afford to.


Eric (not his real name) is exactly the kind of person Utah’s policy experiment was intended to help. He is 55 years old and has been homeless for most of his life. He takes medication for his schizophrenia, but his paranoia still leads him to cash his disability checks and hide them in envelopes around the city. When he lived on the streets, his drug of choice was a mix of heroin and cocaine. These days it’s meth.

Despite all his complications, Eric is a success story. He lives in a housing complex in the suburbs of Salt Lake City that was built for the chronically homeless. He has case workers who ensure that he takes his medications and renews his benefits. While he may never live independently, he is far better off here than in a temporary shelter, a jail cell or sleeping on the streets.

The problem for policymakers is that Eric is no longer emblematic of American homelessness. In Salt Lake City, just like everywhere else, the population of people sleeping on the streets looks a lot different than it used to.

As the economy has come out of the Great Recession, America’s unhoused population has exploded almost exclusively in its richest and fastest-growing cities. Between 2012 and 2018, the number of people living on the streets declined by 11 percent nationwide — and surged by 26 percent in Seattle, 47 percent in New York City and 75 percent in Los Angeles. Even smaller cities, like Reno and Boise, have seen spikes in homelessness perfectly coincide with booming tech sectors and falling unemployment.  

In other words, homelessness is no longer a symbol of decline. It is a product of prosperity. And unlike Eric, the vast majority of people being pushed out onto the streets by America’s growing urban economies do not need dedicated social workers or intensive medication regimes. They simply need higher incomes and lower housing costs.

“The people with the highest risk of homelessness are the ones living on a Social Security check or working a minimum-wage job,” said Margot Kushel, the director of the UCSF. Center for Vulnerable Populations. In 2015, she led a team of researchers who interviewed 350 people living on the streets in Oakland. Nearly half of their older interviewees were experiencing homelessness for the first time.

“If they make it to 50 and they’ve never been homeless, there’s a good chance they don’t have severe mental illness or substance abuse issues,” Kushel said. “Once they become homeless, they start to spiral downward really quickly. They’re sleeping three to four hours a night, they get beat up, they lose their medications. If you walk past them in a tent, they seem like they need all these services. But what they really needed was cheaper rent a year ago.”

Other research has found the same connection between housing costs and homelessness. In 2012, researchers found that a $100 increase in monthly rent in big cities was associated with a 15 percent rise in homelessness. The effect was even stronger in smaller cities.

“Once you’re homeless, it’s a steep hill to climb back up,” Bailey said. “When an eviction is on your record, it’s even steeper. And even if you do get back into housing, you’re still one illness or one car problem away from becoming homeless again.”

And rising affluence isn’t just transforming the economic factors that cause homelessness. It is also changing the politics of the cities tasked with solving it. Across the country, as formerly poor neighborhoods have gentrified, politicians are facing increasingly strident calls to criminalize panhandling and bulldoze tent encampments. While city residents consistently tell pollsters that they support homeless services in principle, specific proposals to build shelters or expand services face vociferous local opposition.

“The biggest hindrance to solving homelessness is that city residents keep demanding the least effective policies,” said Sara Rankin, the director of the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project at Seattle University School of Law. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that punishing homeless people makes it harder for them to find housing and get work. Nonetheless, the most common demands from urban voters are for politicians to increase arrests, close down soup kitchens and impose entry requirements and drug tests in shelters.

“Homelessness is a two-handed problem,” Rankin said. “One hand is everything you’re doing to make it better and the other is everything you’re doing to make it worse. Right now, we spend far more effort undoing our progress than advancing it.”


Dorriane Olson, 47, organizes her belongings in the courtyard at Library Square on May 1, 2019, in downtown Salt Lake City. Olson works a job overnight and tries to sleep during the day. She says she’s been on a waiting list for housing for two years.

No municipality demonstrates this dynamic better than Salt Lake City. Thanks to rising housing and construction costs, the building of new homeless housing has slowed to a trickle. A plan to replace the city’s central homeless shelter with a handful of smaller, suburban facilities has been delayed and scaled down due to neighborhood opposition. In 2017, after years of demands by downtown residents and businesses, Utah initiated a $67 million law enforcement crackdown on the population sleeping on the streets of its state capital. In its first year, the campaign resulted in more than 5,000 arrests — and just 101 homeless people being placed into housing.

And there are no signs that it’s going to get better. The economy is creating new homeless people faster than cities can house them. And the worse the problem gets, the harder it becomes to solve.

“The entire system has stalled,” said Andrew Johnston, the vice president of program operations for Volunteers of America Utah, one of the largest service providers in Salt Lake City. “As the economy has improved, policymakers seem to believe that the market will supply affordable housing on its own. But if you don’t put public and private money into it, you’re not going to get it.”


Three years after she escaped from homelessness, Georgia Gregersen’s most enduring memory is how quickly she fell into it.

“I’m a waitress, I’m at home with a new baby and three months later I’m sleeping in an empty parking garage,” said Gregersen, who now lives in a Salt Lake City suburb.

Her story plays out as a series of unraveling safety nets. She had been trying to get clean for years, but the waitlists for rehab were months long. She got on methadone when she found out she was pregnant, but it cost $85 per week, almost as much as she had been spending on heroin. After her son was born she was eligible for daycare vouchers, but the never-ending paperwork — “something was always wrong or required another appointment” — meant she never actually got them.


Georgia Gregersen at her home on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 in Taylorsville, Utah.

Eventually, the cost of childcare and the stress of being a single mom got to her and she relapsed. Within weeks she had lost her job and handed her son over to her parents. Her aunt, with whom she had been staying, asked her to move out.

Sleeping outside made her even more desperate to get clean, but everywhere she turned her options were cut off. Every halfway house and detox center in Salt Lake City was full. When she applied for subsidized housing, a government official told her it would take two years just to get on the waiting list.

“I thought, I’ll probably be dead by then,” she said.

Gregersen spiraled downward in 2015, right around the time Utah announced it had ended chronic homelessness. Unlike the recipients of that experiment — most of whom required 24-hour, lifelong support — Gregersen didn’t need permanent supportive housing. She needed every other form of support to be adequately funded and available when she needed it.

“We always look to one thing to be the answer,” she said, “but I needed everything, and in concert.”

Gregersen’s story perfectly encapsulates the challenge of urban policy in a changing and deteriorating America. Truly ending homelessness will require cities to systematically repair all the cracks in the country’s brittle, shattered welfare system. From drug treatment to rental assistance to subsidized child care, the only way to address the crisis is through a concerted — and costly — expansion of government assistance.

And yet, even as homelessness becomes a defining feature of urban growth, no city in America can afford to meaningfully address it.  

“Politicians keep proposing quick fixes and simple solutions because they can’t publicly admit that solving homelessness is expensive,” Kushel said. Before the 1980s, she points out, most of the responsibility for low-income housing, rental assistance and mental health treatment fell on the federal government.

Since then, though, these costs have been systematically handed over to cities. Between 1980 and 1990, the number of low-income households receiving federal rental assistance dropped by more than half. Hundreds of thousands of mental health treatment beds have disappeared. Despite having far deeper pockets, the federal government now spends less per homeless person than the city of San Francisco.  

The relentless localization of responsibility means that cities are spending more than they ever have on homelessness and, at the same time, nowhere near enough. L.A.’s recent $1.2 billion housing bond is one of the largest in American history. It will construct 1,000 permanent supportive housing units every year — in a city where 14,000 people need one. According to a 2018 analysis, Seattle would have to double its current spending to provide housing and services for everyone living on the streets.

Smaller cities have an even wider spending gap. According to Salt Lake City’s Housing & Neighborhood Development Department, building one unit of affordable housing costs roughly $154,000. Providing a home to all 6,800 people currently accessing homeless services would cost the city roughly $1 billion — two-thirds of its entire annual budget.

“We know that it’s cheaper in the long run to provide housing for homeless people, but cities don’t get money back when that happens,” said Tony Sparks, an urban studies professor at San Francisco State University. Expanding social support and building subsidized housing require huge upfront investments that may not pay off for decades. Though the costs of managing a large homeless population mostly fall on hospitals and law enforcement, reducing the burden on those systems won’t put spending back in city coffers.

“If you know how city budgets work, everything goes into a different pot,” Sparks said. “When you save money on health care, it just goes back into the health care system. It doesn’t trickle sideways.”


Georgia Gregersen at her home.

But all the challenges of funding their response to homelessness doesn’t mean cities are entirely powerless. For a start, municipal leaders could remove the zoning codes that make low-income housing and homeless shelters illegal in their residential neighborhoods. They could replace encampment sweeps and anti-panhandling laws with municipally sanctioned tent cities. They could update their eviction regulations to keep people in the housing they already have.

Cities can also, crucially, address the huge diversity of the homeless population. Rankin points out that for young mothers, the most frequent cause of homelessness is domestic abuse. For young men, it is often a recent discharge from foster care or prison. The young homeless population is disproportionately gay and trans.

All these populations are already interacting with dozens of municipal agencies that haven’t been designed to serve them. Even without major new funding sources, cities could do a lot better with the systems they already have. Schools, for example, could provide social workers for unhoused students. Libraries could invite health care workers to help homeless patrons manage their chronic illnesses. Law enforcement agencies could reorient themselves around outreach and harm reduction rather than arrests and encampment sweeps.

The key, Rankin said, is to make these changes consistent, dynamic and permanent. Like paving roads or running buses, cities will never be “finished” with the goal of preventing and alleviating homelessness. Unless something fundamental changes in the American economy, it is something they will have to do forever.

Back in Salt Lake City, Gregersen is now finishing her college degree and volunteering at the Utah Harm Reduction Coalition. I ask her what she sees as the legacy of Utah’s high-profile approach to homelessness.

“We’re afraid of throwing too much money into this issue,” she said. “We do a little bit here and a little bit there. And then, when it doesn’t solve the whole problem, we say it didn’t work and we try something else.”

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HuffPost’s “This New World” series is funded by Partners for a New Economy and the Kendeda Fund. All content is editorially independent, with no influence or input from the foundations. If you have an idea or tip for the editorial series, send an email to thisnewworld@huffpost.com.

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/homeless-utah-end-america-salt-lake-city_n_5cd1cac0e4b04e275d511aba

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Father Of 4 Daughters Refuses To Sugarcoat His Instagram Pics, Already Has Almost 1 Million Followers

Simon Hooper, AKA Father of Daughters, has become an Instagram sensation and successful author by chronicling the ups and downs of being a father of 4 young girls.

With almost 1 million followers enjoying his daily stories, delivered with a large dose of humor and without the usual sugarcoating of ‘perfect parenthood,’ Simon has made quite the journey from being a “24 year old man-child with no idea of what being a dad involved.” The realities of being forever outnumbered by the ladies in his life, he is the single male in a household with 5 women, has taught Simon valuable lessons about fatherhood, feminism and equality.

Scroll down below to see a realistic, humorous perspective on parenting, and let us know what you think in the comments!

#1

“No, this is not a background extra milking their scene in some low budget B movie horror film. It’s the moment when I was getting headshots taken for my book & Ottie decided she absolutely positively couldn’t give me a moment to myself – transforming my moment, very much into her moment. Clemmie scooped her up seconds later & I can laugh at this now but it does remind me just how hard it can be to achieve the simplest of tasks when a wailing child is within close promixity – thanks @philippajames for catching the memory & exposing the realities behind the image you see in the book!”

#2

“We vowed early on that we wouldn’t dress Ottie & Delilah the same as Frankly it weirds me (and other people) out & makes the task of identifying them harder than threading a needle while wearing oven gloves covered in baby oil. We wanted them to embrace individuality, to be a seperate entities unto themselves & forge their own paths forward through life. What do they want to do? Dress exactly the same, all the live long day. If I attempt to offer up garms that are not identical, the world implodes in a crescendo of screams that dissolve eardrums & both of them get naked quicker than still life model who really likes his job. After getting so close to the end, I find myself riding the long snake everyone hates, all the way back to square 1. They win. Wear what you want. Sorry nursery, good luck telling them apart. “

#3

“Did anyone else get the memo to inform all parents that its international opposites day today? No? Me neither but Apparently all children have been informed it’s totally ok to do the exact opposite of what all overbearing full grown humans tell them to do. Case in point – this evening’s Bathtime – I said “please stop splashing! mummy will kill me when I forget to tidy this up later”. What they heard was “please go ahead & start up a toddler induced wave machine the scale of which could be used to test war ships, soak the floor & then flail about like a confined depressed killer whale which will eventually eat it’s trainer”. Turns out it’s fine though as the water has now drained through the cracks in the floor boards & has seeped through the ceiling downstairs. This only even happens when I’m in charge on my own. Coincidence? “

#4

“Somehow, we blinked and 10 years of marriage with this one has vanished over the horizon in the rear view mirror, yet she still has the ability to take my breath away, give me the kind of heart palpitations that would worry a GP and generally make me feel like & act a 15 year old man child who knows he’s punching above his weight. Thanks for putting up with me, for having all the babies & for agreeing to share your life with me @mother_of_daughters , I promise to keep things interesting and to make our lives together the best they can be . Here’s to the next 10 – let’s just try to procreate less this coming decade.”

#5

“Ottie & Delilah still confuse the hell out of me but I’m starting to see differences. They could be mistaken for a narcissistic toddler starring in the mirror, yet they’re obviously wired differently when it comes to tackling everyday problems that 18mth olds face. Much like a team building exercise at work that no one really a cares about (apart from Phil in finance) this morning the twins tackled the age old conundrum since bowls were invented – “How do I drink the milk at the bottom of the sodding bowl if the bowl’s stuck to the table?” Ottie opted for the traditional ‘spoon the milk on the table & face plant in it’ – standard. Delilah thought outside the box & employed brute strength to overcome the gravity of the entire planet & poured the bowl, tray still attached, down her gullet. Somedays I struggle to express in words just how proud I am of these 2.”

#6

“Just so we’re clear, this isn’t an ad!! This evening I successfully picked up all 4 girls & completed an emergency shop on the way home. With my arms laden with life admin essentials, everyone disembarked from the car & bounded off towards the house, arguing over who could scream the loudest. Every that is apart from Ottie, who instead decided to do her best impression of discarded flavourless chewing gum & welded herself to the pavement. A 2 minute silent stand ensued during which time 3 people walked passed this small human obstacle & tried to help encourage her to give up on horizontal protest / cloud gazing session, yet she proved to be tougher to shift than lipstick from a carpet (and that’s tough, believe me). I honestly couldn’t tell you why this all started, but it finished with her getting up, starring at me with death ray eyes that went straight through heart and walked off as if I was nothing had happened. I’ve been in meetings where I wished I’d employed this tactic. Oh to be 2 again. “

#7

“I always wonder how toddlers view festivals as it’s such a break from normal life. They see a lot of adults stand in a field usually reserved for farm animals & watch them slowly regress to being teenagers again, shouting “I love this tune!” Or “who’s this band – I’ve never heard of them”, while embarrasing their families by dancing as if their limbs were independently controlled by an invisible puppet master. They’re treated to a muffled audio experience of the world through neon ear defenders while observing other children run around, seemingly free of supervision (although infact mum & dad are taking turns to have ‘eyes on’ & make sure they don’t stray too far), fuelled by a day long course of glucose supplied by parents wanting an arguement free afternoon. Their nappies get changed under open skies & sleep covered in coats, only to wake and find they are still in same field, but the sun’s gone to bed, everyone’s covered in glitter & daddy is sporting a childs tutu. It must be a very confusing sensory overload, but they seem to love it & a break from norm is something we all need now & again”

#8

“I seriously believe that all parents suffer from some form of mild Stockholm syndrome. Depsite being oppressed & forced to work a servant to our pint sized captures, like a free buffet lunch, we always come back for more. This is especially true when I go away for work. The first day I embrace my freedom & revel in that rarest of commodities – silence. But within 48 hours I strangely miss being yelled at & forced to clear up other people’s poo and start to really pine for home. In my mind I would return to 4 perfect children who would greet me with open arms & proclaim their lives were incomplete in my absense. The reality was 50% of my girls acknowledged my return & within 5 minutes my tired jet lagged body had been transformed into fleshy climbing apparatus while i listened to a list of things that broke while I was away & now needed fixing. I don’t think Anya even knows I went away as she’s now permanently hard wired into Fortnite! I sure they missed me but it still amazes me how quickly normality is resumed!”

#9

“Conventional wisdom tells us that the passage of time through space happens at a constant rate forwards, but when you have children, that changes. I can only conclude that there’s a rip in the space time continuum right above the girls bedroom as time just vanished this evening, leaving me feeling like I’d be screwed hard by a flux capacitor with anger management issues. One moment it’s 6.30pm & I’m rounding them up for a bath, then I blinked & it was 8.15pm the world had fallen apart. Bath time – a tsunami nightmare that would have drowned the entire cast of ‘honey I shrunk the kids’. Teeth – a stand off that ended in toothpaste in the eyes. Story time – A jackanory balls up that left me questioning my life choices. Bed time – a yoga session for hyperactive chipmunks that ended with Ottie hiding for 15 minutes in silence & me shouting down the street in the dark because I thought she’d gone (only to be found eating a chocolate egg under Anya’s desk covered in a blanket). Of course, as I’d focused all my energy on these 2, the elder ones hadnt even had dinner! It may have only been a total of 1hr 45 minutes but I’ve aged several years on the process. I’m stongly considering calling Doc Brown to take be back to 2015 so I can get a vasectomy. “

#10

“Yes piers, this look is for you. Now I’m not one to get drawn into nonsense that is designed to provoke a reaction because, unlike Piers morgan, I’m in not a toddler in an adults body. But when a man, who’s views come straight out of the back pages of lads mags from the 1920’s, mocks men for carrying their babies in a carrier, I get quite annoyed. I’ve had a child attached to me for the best part of a decade and as anyone knows, accessorising your outfit by wearing a child is so in right now. In fact I used to double up for that extra ‘wow’ factor so I guess in his mind I must be 200% emasculated and basically have a vagina. There is nothing more manly than a dad demonstrating their ability to care for their child and if you think otherwise, then you look around and move with the times. One day the dinosaurs will all die out and turn to oil, leaving the next generation to laugh at the views of the relics that went before them, but in the mean time, let’s avoid giving a soap box to people who use it to simply annoy everyone.”

#11

“I may have a Y chromosome where women have an X but that microscopic piece of biology should be the only thing that differentiates us as we all travel on this journey through life. As a Father of 4 daughters, I don’t want my girls horizons to be limited to what people tell them they can do, so I embrace my responsibility as a parent to support and encourage my girls to be what they want to be, to celebrate & further the accomplishments of those trail blazers that have gone before them like Emmeline Pankhurst, Ella Fitzgerald, Coco Channel, Marie Curie & Henrietta Swan Leavitt who, with a team of all female astronomers, catalogued the stars in the night sky when men told them they couldn’t. Our children will be the ones who will break glass ceilings, forge new paths & make the discoveries that takes the human race to places we can only dream of today, so my message to my girls is to GO BIG, GO HARD & do what they said you can’t do in whatever field you choose – be the boss of your own destiny.”

#12

“Motivating a child to move that flattly refuses to use their own legs to support their body weight can be so frustrating, you end up developing a permenant eye twitch so dramatic, everyone around you thinks you’re trying to flirt with them. I’d employed the tried & tested method of walking away from the statue like infant until they are a mere dot on the horizon while repeatedly saying “I’m leaving now”, but like a dog who’d released they were about to be dragged to vets, she refused to budge, so, with no buggy, my parents carrying the shopping & me not willing to waste my already diminished bicep strength on carrying yet another child, I employed what I had available – A bag for life. It worked a treat – the only draw back – I now have one arm that Mr tickle would be jealous of. “

#13

“Dads change nappies too: Apart from the ballsy women with bladders apparently the size of a old pea that barge into mens toilets to avoid the queue of cross-legged females snaking around the building, many ladies probably have no idea what goes on in the room marked ‘Gentlemen’. Well here’s the secret – it’s usually a lot of guys peeing into urinals trying to overcome stage fright, a couple of blocked toilets, a few broken taps, a floor that’s like walking on glue and occasionally a guy struggling to change their kids nappy – jacket laid on the toilet seat, on his knees in a cubicle, keeping the broken door shut with his arse. Why? Because, believe it or not, in 2019 many men’s toilets still don’t have changing tables. That means we either rough it in the men’s, use the disable one go alfresco (behind a tree / down an alley) or pass responsibilities to the ladies in our lives. This needs to change. And I’m not just talking about the nappy. Any dad’s out there with horror stories to share? Is your country better than the UK? I want to get legislation changed so can do what has to be done in relative comfort and hygiene! “

#14

“The transition from cots to big girls beds is akin to getting transferred from Alcatraz to a minimum security prison that has an honesty check out policy at the gate. Now after reading 2 & half books (mainly to ourselves while they perform gymnastics and laugh at their own shadows whilst simultaneously down a bottle of milk quicker than a sailor in a drinking competition) & the lights go off, there is literally nothing more than our hopes and dreams to stop them conducting nocturnal excursions around their room, which they apparently carry out in lead boots, or at least that’s what it sounds like from downstairs. That’s the moment @mother_of_daughters & I play the old ‘it’s your turn’s game to see who has the futile job of returning them to their beds. Toddler straight jackets anyone? “

#15

“Being an older sibling in what is classified as a large family can be a thankless task. Through no fault of their own both Anya and Marnie have been drafted in, conscription style, into being unpaid nursery workers to allow us breathing space to make dinner & reheat that cup of tea for the 4th that now has a skin so thick you can hold the mug upside, safe in the knowledge that nothing will come out. They had no voting rights when it came the size of our family or when we dished out roles & responsibilities and I’m sure that 75% of the time they find the small people that intruded on their cost setup & take up the vast majority of our parenting attention more an annoying than emptying the kitchen bin only for the liner to break , but without them stepping up, this mass of organised chaos we call family life just wouldn’t work. Here’s to the unsung heroes, to older siblings. You don’t realise it yet, but you’re the ones that keep us parents sane. “

#16

“Usually bedtime is like walking into a warzone, a warzone with low level lighting, soft furnishings & bunny rabbits. Its a place where books are used as sharp cornered weapons and children break camoflague from underneath soft toys to lob bottle shaped milk grenades indiscriminately at people over 4 ft tall, but tonight was different. In the time it took me to get milk squared away and peg it back upstairs, the twins exhausted all of their energy reserves, allowing the silent assassin, sweet sweet jetlag, to stealthly slip in behind enemy lines and render them comatose. This was our victory photo. Of course the victory is bitter sweet as I now have to move these dead weights & will no doubt be revisited by them at 3am when they think it’s morning, bit for now, we’ll bask in the glory that is 2 little girls that fought the good fight, but lost to sleep. (See stories for vids).”

#17

“Children are basically human versions of a ‘find my phone’ app – as annoying as it maybe, if kids are making a noise, you then at least know where they are, it’s when they’re silent that you need to worry as it usually results in a mess I’ll get blamed for, a lot of scrubbing & a dubious home insurance claim. This evening I walked in on the aftermath of ‘operation sunblock’ – a covert operation to liberate all the suncream from my confines of my bedside drawer. The results – 2 well moisturised guilty looking girls who smelt like holiday & won’t be getting a tan anytime soon & a floor more slippery that an overexcited eel who’d just won a jelly wrestling competition. Lessons to learn: 1). if its silent, something bad is happening & 2). I will always be the blame even if when I’m nowhere near the scene of the crime. “

#18

“Much like logical reasoning & a tandruming child, heat & babies don’t mix well. This was this morning at a time that most people might call the night but the twins decided it was a perfectly acceptable time to start their, and therefore, our day. I’ve got home after a night out later than this! (granted, not recently, but still). For those professionals out there, note Clemmie is performing the classic ‘iPad over the face’ technique to maximise shut eye time while still providing entertainment. I on the other hand have no protection and was forced to stare at the ceiling, listen to fully grown humans in costumes talking like babies (never forget there’s a adults inside a teletubby – you’ll see it in a whole new light) while getting occasionally face grabbed by sweaty milk covered hands until my alarm went off – it felt like I was bring subjected interrogation torture but I had no answers. “

#19

“Seeing as 90% of my followers are the opposite sex to me, perhaps you can help me work something out. As a father and a man, figuring out the intricacies of female relationships with eachother is more complex than solving a 12 sided Rubiks cube with my toes, blindfolded whilst reciting π to a 1000 decimal places. One moment they’re kissing eachother for no apparent reason, the next, they’re ripping eachothers hair our in clumps so big, they could be used as wigs for dolls. Girls then seem to graduate to emotionally tearing eachother apart which can be 100 times worse than physical attacks. Many female relationships seem like they’re pertually balanced on a knife edge between BFFs and mortal enemies & I’m flummoxed by the whole thing. I’m not saying that men are any better and this is obviously simplistic view but I’m interested as the concept of sisterhood is simple on the outside but a potential minefield on the inside!”

#20

“To those that think having a child is the end of your social life, to those that think it’s all over. To those that believe that being a parent means a complete change in life style – don’t ever forget who you are and what you loved doing before your have a small version of yourself to look after. Embrace what you have and involve them in your life. Dont settle. Don’t turn things down. Dont become just a parent. You are who you are and having children doesn’t mean you should limit yourself or what you want to do, especially it comes to enjoying yourself. You can still smash a festival and be a good parent as demonstrated by my wife @mother_of_daughters . We are living proof!”

#21

“Either Delilah is using the fridge to conduct climate simulation training for a nursery day trip up the north face of the Eiger that I don’t remember signing the consent form for or I’ve just caught the person responsible of foot prints in the butter & the constant vanishing of yoghurts, frankfurters, grapes, blueberries and cheese strings. This also explains why she always had a cold stomach and looks permanently guilty. Note to all fridge designers – I need a decent fridge lock and shelves that can’t be used and steps. Anyone got any bright ideas to stop the human fridge magnets that doesn’t involve gaffer tape?”

#22

“Much like Bear Grylls, when the parenting team is cut by 50% for any period of time, you’re allowed to do things you wouldn’t normal do in order to survive (just with less drinking of my own urine). @mother_of_daughters has been away for 3 days now & although I haven’t drastically changed the rules or deliberately sabotaged the routine that’s taken longer to construct than the Sagrada Família, I may have created some subsidence in the foundations. It’s now ok to get dressed in the play room while eating breakfast. Clothes can be worn for 3 days in a row if desired because it’s not worth the argument. Scatter cushions are banished to the floor as they are a complete waste time (especially on the bed), the twins will now only get out of the bath if carried simultaneously like sacks of old potatoes while I whistle the theme tune to block busters (I have literally no idea where that one came from) & bedtime happens when I can get children to stop hiding & lie down. Oh & as a special surprise, the twins will now only refer to their mother as ‘Clemmie’ because I trained them to – ok, that change was just for my own entertainment. “

#23

“Forget ultra marathons, this summer has been 2 month long endurance parenting test that’s pushed us beyond what we’d previously thought humanly possible. It’s tested our ability to balance childcare with work & to not forget where the girls are at any one time, our patience with bored kids (despite being offered every activity known to man) & our skills in pulling together meals that aren’t scoffed at my our in-house restaurant critics. @mother_of_daughters & I have be played off eachother, been eaten out of house & home on a daily basis, argued until the blood vessels ruptured in our eyes & confiscated screens over a million times while aging about 20 yrs in the process, but we’ve also laughed a lot, made some memories & emerged at other end of the summer holidays tunnel smiling & without having killed each other, so we must have done something right. Only another 16 more years of this to go before they all leave the nest & I start crying permanently for the rest of my life because I want them back.”

#24

“This is a long one, but it’s worth it so bear with me. Day 6 & my parents are driving across the country to come & provide a helping hand. Having been on our own for so long, I’ve been running food stocks at bare minimum levels but after gazing into the fridge this morning, it became apparent that unless I wanted to feed my mum & dad cling film wrapped bowls of non descript half eaten meals, out of date yoghurts & veg that was growing new species, we were going to have to do a food shop before they arrived. Hands down the worst experience of the week – Delilah escaped the buggy & while chewing a pack of new Zealand lamb, proceeded to run away from me like a dog that had been stung in the arse by a genetically modified hornet. Minutes later a security guard returned her to me while I pleaded with ottie not to open the yoghurts. She ignored me & proceeded to dip her entire fist into it & do a picasso on the buggy. Oh joy. When we got to the checkout, i proceeded to unload everything from my basket , only to do a 180 & find my 2 Rays of sunshine had got out of their restraints again & were now proceeding to strip quicker than an overenthusiastic nudist on the first day of their holidays – Coats were thrown, wellies were discarded & trousers we round ankles. After members of the public helped load my shopping, i dressed them only for them to then scream solidly for the next 5 minutes without breath as I waited for everything to be scanned. I could actually feel my ass sweating from the stress as all eyes burnt holes in my head. I then forgot my pin number & after struggling to pull together enough cash , I realised I’d bought so much I couldn’t carry it home without ripping my fingers to bloody shreds. To top it all, I got home only to realise I’d left the beer I bought on the floor by the tils. As you can imagine, the twins & I aren’t talking right now. We need some space.”

#25

“Putting these 2 to bed tonight got me thinking about the families whose daughters & sons didn’t come home last night, those children who became victims of the tragic events that unfolded in Manchester last night & how those parents won’t get to kiss their kids goodnight. As a parent, you always do you best to shield your children from the darkness that exists in the world, but sometimes your best efforts can’t stop bad things happening to defensless victims who are just going about their lives. I hope that as my children grow up, the next generation can see a way through all the hatred that exists today and find a way to live harmoniously. Variety is the spice of life – learning about other cultures, beliefs and ways of living helps develop your own views, builds intelligence and enriches your life experiences. We just need a bit more love in the world. My thoughts are with the families that have been effected. Give your kids an extra big hug tonight. “

#26

http://www.boredpanda.com/parenting-life-father-of-daughter-simon-hooper/

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I Spent Half My Life Feeling Shame For Being Asian In America. Heres What Changed.

“Your daughter might have to be held back a year. I think she might be retarded.”

My horrified Chinese immigrant parents gasped as my preschool teacher unprofessionally vocalized her concern that I wasn’t singing my nursery rhymes as well as the rest of my peers.

“If I advance her to kindergarten, things will have to change at home.”

The following year, I began elementary school and started to learn English intensively as Mandarin took a backseat. I began memorizing lyrics of pop songs, boy bands, whatever was going on with Britney Spears, as well as the lineups of MTV, Nickelodeon and the Disney channel just to take part in conversation. But over the years, it became much more than that.

There is a private hell that comes with being a first-generation kid. Growing up smack dab in the heart of Silicon Valley, California, my small suburban town — San Carlos — was predominantly Caucasian, nearly 80% to be exact. From first through fifth grade, each day was a marathon as I sat through classes with my peers and attended supplemental speech therapy — primarily to learn the “th” phonetic — which was nonexistent in Mandarin.

“Th-uh, not suh. Though, not zough. Then, not zen.” I’d repeat these hundreds of times a day like my life depended on it.

While most of my classmates ended their days with sports or dance, I went home to repeat everything with my mother and teach her vocabulary that she didn’t already know. I’d build more and more confidence to speak, but then every so often I’d watch in horror as a classmate would mockingly pull the corners of their eyes and felt all my progress unravel.

While most of my classmates ended their days with sports or dance, I went home to repeat everything with my mother and teach her vocabulary that she didn’t already know.

____

In grade school, I would stockpile brown paper bags from crafting classes to hide the bright pink “Thank You” bags in when my mom would pack my delicious, but “fragrant” homemade lunches. In addition to learning coursework, speech and English, I’d quietly observe the mannerisms of my peers. And whether it was slang, comedic timing or how to be a good friend, I became obsessed with the unabashed personalities of my gregarious classmates as I remained in my private quarters and bonded with the more compassionate wallflowers.

Some days when the pressure felt too immense, I’d keep my head down without uttering a word and count the hours until I was able to free myself of all speculation, bullying and conformity. And as soon as my mom or dad picked me up, I stepped into a portal — greeted by melodic, sentimental Chinese pop songs blaring out of the car like an ice cream truck — that transported me far away and returned me back to the little rituals that managed to remain intact at home.

At night, after homework assignments and reconstructed lessons, my family and I gathered around the TV in crazed anticipation of our trashy Chinese soap operas that all seemed to feature some variation of a doe-eyed protagonist, caught in the center of an agonizing love triangle with two mediocre men. I’d then fall asleep in my mom’s arms as she read me stories about karma, reincarnation and the importance of living a purposeful and altruistic life.

When friends came over, I swapped my Mahjong tiles with unsuspecting Monopoly and Candyland centerpieces.

But when friends came over, I manically expunged my room of all items indicative of culture like it was a crime scene. I pulled out my bin of Disney princess dolls and crammed Totoro and Hello Kitty into the darkest depths of my closet, praying that Toy Story wasn’t based on a true story. Goosebumps, Nancy Drew, Lemony Snicket, and multiple volumes of Harry Potter inconspicuously hid my collection of translated Buddhist fables. Mahjong tiles were swapped out with unsuspecting Monopoly and Candyland centerpieces.

I became queen of the double life.

_____

Slowly but surely, after years of engineering a convincing image, I found my own voice and finally felt like I had my footing to interject in conversations without social anxiety. The feeling of making my classmates laugh at something other than my accent or accidental responses in Mandarin became my fuel for developing my American identity, but in turn, caused me to rapidly neglect and erase my cultural heritage.

Over the years, I found snappy comebacks to the dreaded, “Where are you from, where are you really from?” question; “my mother’s womb” was my favorite and evoked the most eye rolls — but I never failed to realize that I would always be seen as an Asian female before being known for my character, personality, or anything else. At some point, after years of conditioning, my Asian identity became an afterthought as I feigned a sickeningly-perfect valley girl accent and proved to myself that my California-girl identity could successfully take the helm.

In my mind, this path of assimilation was what my parents had been pushing me toward ever since my education took a turn when I was 5. They never recognized their actions, or mine, to be motivated by shame, but rather, it was the drive to succeed — and assimilating was what it took. I grew to love this version of myself and took pride in being surrounded by American friends while still having a soft spot and deep understanding of the immigrant narrative.

In college, speaking Mandarin became so rare that it was like pulling out a magic trick if my friends and I happened to be dining somewhere I could place orders or specify dietary restrictions in my native tongue. But even then, oftentimes servers would come running to my rescue — forks in hand — when they saw noodles landing in my lap from how poorly I attempted to use chopsticks. To some extent, I enjoyed straddling the line of gray area to avoid being grouped into any archetype — confusion was my greatest preventative measure for avoiding racist stereotypes.

In college, speaking Mandarin became so rare that it was like pulling out a magic trick if my friends and I happened to be dining somewhere I could place orders or specify dietary restrictions in my native tongue.

I grew to realize that no part of me fit either identity quite correctly though, and that’s what’s become the most difficult aspect of being first-generation American. Among my friends in my hometown, I stood out as having foreign origins that needed constant explaining, and in Taiwan — my parents’ native country — I looked and felt out of place and spoke Mandarin as well as a 6-year-old, at best.

The longing for relatability became most reflected in my love life, of all places. Whether coincidental or an inadvertent pattern, most of the people I’ve dated in my 20s have either been immigrants or first gens with backgrounds differing from my own. I’ve found that the comfort of being with someone who intimately understands the clash of cultures makes me feel less alone on my journey, and learning about new backgrounds also provides the challenge to acknowledge and embrace differences. Of all the things that’ve stemmed from this valuable experience, I’ve come to truly understand the depths of identity and the way it’s had a role in shaping each person I’ve met.

____

Though my parents made it a point for us to visit Taiwan as a family every couple of years, I lost connection with my cultural roots. Through the remainder of high school, undergrad, masters, and entry into my career, it became less of a priority to see my family abroad.

Then this past February, I intended to go back to Taiwan to visit my grandfather, but he died exactly one month before my arrival. When I finally made my way to Taiwan, I felt the overwhelming weight of everyone I had lost (my aunt, my grandparents) and brokenheartedly experienced my first trip back without them. Visiting their home — where I had spent so much of my younger years — struck the fault line of guilt, shame and sadness that I had been suppressing for years.

I stared at the lifeless kitchen where my grandma once filled with her vibrance as she would stand for hours on end—intuitively selecting seasonings, stirring savory stews while gently handling decadent desserts and chopping vegetables with such swift precision — it was like watching a one-woman gourmet symphony in flow. Her flavorful meals became the foundations of my mother’s arsenal of recipes.

As I made my way into the living room and sat in my grandpa’s cushioned armchair, I remembered him sipping tea and telling me his favorite stories about my mother in her younger years. In their old rooms — now used for storage — I recalled memories where I’d perch on their laps as they’d dote on me and shove little pouches of milk candies and pineapple cakes into my pockets before my mom could confiscate them. In all of their display cabinets were two decades worth of washed-out photos of me and my siblings, reminding them of the love they had for us that spanned across time and oceans.


The author and her mother.

On my last day in Taiwan, we journeyed through lush forests of the rolling Yang Ming mountains carrying bundles of incense, flowers and fruits to honor my grandparents. “Mom, dad, we’re here to see you — Alliey’s here to see you,” my mother announced with tears streaming down her face as she lit each bundle. With a flood of emotions and the stings of incense evaporating into thin mountain air, I dropped to her side completely lost in my grief.

As much as I longed for my grandparents, their absence and this shared time with my parents was the deepest reminder that I came from a culture that was not to be forgotten.

____

I still wonder what took me so long to return to Taiwan. Was there really no point in the last 15 years that I could’ve taken a week to see my family? The glaring answer that I couldn’t lie to myself about any longer was that for years I associated my cultural background with shame and the antithesis of acclimating to American culture. I couldn’t understand then that preserving my cultural identity didn’t automatically equate to the impediment of being a normal American girl. In my decision to divide the two, I allowed judgment to rule my life for so many years, and consequently all of my decisions were made out of fear instead of love.

Instead of deflecting questions now, I take every opportunity to explain any component of my culture to anyone who takes an interest, but more importantly, I make the effort to ask my family about their past experiences and the way immigrating shaped their identity. In so many ways, it is all a way for me to reacquaint myself with parts that I left behind and confidently move forward to define — for the first time — what being Asian American really means to me. It took me half my life to overcome this perception of shame and find a way to honor and celebrate my heritage, but in this journey, I know I will be able to continue this beautiful path to reconnection for the remainder of my life.

Have a compelling first-person story you want to share? Send your story description to pitch@huffpost.com.

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/overcoming-shame-of-being-asian-in-america_n_5cda521ae4b073aa0b32a5cd

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50 True Stories Of People Who Escaped A Murderer By Dumb Luck

***

My husband and I live above our place of business. Out alarm company called us at 3AM to say there was a motion detect alert, just one, in a weird place. We assumed it was a mouse but went to reset/check it out.

Husband ended up face to face with a burglar who was on his way out the window he had broken. He ran back inside, I called 911 and we heard mad chaos going on in the depths of the building. So much crashing and smashing.

Burglar monkey climbed a 10′ iron gate, bodily smashed through two sets of commercial grade glass doors and was outside again. My husband was like yeah FUCK this dude, tore after him and tackled him. He got him on the ground and pinned him.

Bear in mind the whole time I’m narrating to 911, and chasing around in panties and tank top. I was a bit behind my husband, in the middle of the street about 15′ away when a minivan squealed around the corner.

It was his GF/getaway driver. I luckily missed it- I was super focused on reading the license plate which was one of those cutesy font out of state ones and therefore hard to read but she yelled “Get the fuck off him or I’m running your bitch over.”

Then she tried to. The audio and video I had to watch for the trial was horrifying. I had blocked it out nearly completely, and really didn’t remember how close it was. She guns the engine at me, I throw my hands up in front of my face when I realize what she’s doing and scream, and jump out of the way with inches to spare.

He jumped in and off they went. He bled all over my husband (YIKES) and eventually the DNA and the partial plate info nailed them. They’re both in prison. Addendum, trials SUCK.

***

My dad was a meth addict. He did lots of fucked up things – dropping me off at trap houses to have “sleepovers” with other “coke babies”, living in a house full of animal shit and hoarding. He sicked his pitbull on a black child. He was a real fucking character.

One night he came looking for my mom and I at our place. Mom wasn’t there. Grandma was babysitting me. I was sleeping in bed when somebody started to try and open my window. It was locked, but they kept jamming something into the bottom to try and force it open. At the same time, I heard the living room door being tried by somebody else. My grandma snuck into my room in her nightgown, apparently woken up by the same thing, and told me say NOTHING. Don’t even whisper. We laid under my bed while a group of men shouted for my mom to come out, slammed their hands on the windows to try and break them, and jumped on my grandma’s car.

She called the police and barely whispered into the phone. Eventually the cops arrived and the men scattered. Long story short, my dad and his other methhead friends came to the house with guns and knives with every intention to kill me and my mother because she was going to get custody of me. If my mom wasn’t so vigilant with locks (we had three different kinds on the front and back doors), we would have died.

***

My sister had this one friend when we were growing up I always got a bad vibe from. She would try to pick on my little brother but I would always stop her. I was 8, she was 10. Once we were at a lake and all the kids were swimming. I swam out to the deep roped off part but I was still little and really shouldn’t have. She kept acting weird and getting closer to me making this weird laugh. She pushed me off the wooden pole in the water and I got scared and started to swim back but she came up behind me and pushed me under the water. It didn’t click at first that she was trying to drown me but after she aggressively pushed me under the 3rd time I had this crazy moment of clarity. It was like the world slowed down ever so briefly. I relaxed and let myself sink, swam underneath her, and came up behind her. I grabbed her hair and shoved her face into the water, keeping my legs on her back so her body couldn’t rise. I waited until her struggling slowed down and let her come up. I waited in the water saying nothing, bracing myself for her retaliation but she just looked panicked and swam back to shore.

I told my sister who had already expressed that the girl was weird. We confronted her together and she just looked really dazed. In a monotone voice she said “I’m sorry, I didn’t know it would be like that.”

It wasn’t until I replayed those words in my mind later that I realized what she was saying was ‘Sorry I tried to drown you, it wasn’t until I was almost drowned myself that I realized how horrible it is to do to someone.’

***

I was out with a few friends, and with us was a girl that had just broken up with a psychopath (we didn’t know he was a psychopath, we found out that night). We were just walking back home from a restaurant, it was about 1 AM, and the guy came running out of nowhere, I don’t know how he knew where and when to meet us. He ran to the girl, lifted her shirt up and stabbed her in the gut, literally splitting her belly open like a fish, and then ran off. This whole thing happened really quickly, so we were all in shock. The girl was holding her own intestines in her hands and she was so shocked that she didn’t even seem scared, wasn’t screaming or anything. She just stood there. We called an ambulance and they managed to somehow put everything back and sew her up. This happened about 3 years ago and she still has pretty serious problems with her digestive tract, can’t eat certain things and that kind of stuff. That image of her just standing in the middle of the pathway holding her own guts will remain stuck in my head forever. The guy got 13 years in jail btw.

Edit: Now that I think about it, a big part of why they broke up was his constant abuse towards her weight. She wasn’t even fat, just a bit on the chubby side, I wouldn’t even call that overweight, but he would always tell her that she had a big gut. That was almost an obsession for him. So maybe the fact that he stabbed her in the abdomen is a symbolic action of some sort. I don’t know what was in that fuckhead’s brain and I honestly don’t even want to know.

***

I’m grew up in a poor country in South America and in the city I lived in we had a lot of slums. Think of a stereotypical slum somewhere in Brazil or Colombia, and that’s what we had. I am from a middle class family so we grew up mostly away from the dangerous areas, but every once in a while our worlds would intersect.

One such instance was during a school trip to a part of the slum that was fighting back against the gangs by trying to create jobs and keep their streets clean from drugs. We went there to study this phenomenon and to help paint some of the houses of the locals as part of a community service initiative.

Everything was trouble free until one of the gangs decided that this was the day when they would march into this part of the slum and reassert their dominance. Like 10 mean looking dudes just went straight up to the house of the local community leader to give him a chance to change his ways. This apparently pissed a lot of the locals off who gathered around the house and started getting very agitated. They weren’t as well armed as the gangsters, but there were probably 200-300 angry people with machetes, pipes, some guns, just getting angrier and angrier. Eventually the gangsters caved in and agreed to leave, but the crowd was out for blood and they pounced on them and beat the shit out of them and dragged them through the streets.

To answer the question of how we escaped a murder attempt. The crowd at this point was running high on emotions and adrenaline and like a collective hive mind they decided that our arrival was probably what prompted the gangsters to come to their slum in the first place, so they wanted to teach us a lesson to never interfere in their business again. Our teacher panickingly stuffed us all into the small school bus and drove off as people were coming at us and waving their machetes menacingly in the air.

I’ve read about the phenomenon of “crowd mentality” before but largely dismissed it. On that day I experienced it and it was the single most dangerous and scary thing i’ve ever seen. Here were a bunch of largely peaceful people who just wanted to do an honest day’s work and not get caught up in gang bullshit, suddenly turning into violent zombies who wanted to chop my head off.

***

Serious:

I had a guy high on both meth and acid break into my apartement in college. Somehow he was convinced he lost his glasses inside. Im doing dishes when my door gets slammed open. Next thing I know he is behind me im being choked to death in my kitchen.

As I was loosing consciousness I grabbed my roomates acrylic bong and frantically swung over my shoulder into his face. The bong broke but did nothing as the guy was choking me even harder. So I swung it again. Because the bong broke the first time I was hitting the guy with a 6 inch claw of acrylic glass.

Afterward his scalp and part of his cheek were hanging off the side of his face. Essentially I scalped him with a bong.

So I chase the guy out of my house. There is easily 2 feet of snow outside. He tries walking back to his house through a cemetary as a shortcut (Seriously 😂). And he passes out in the cemetary. The police only found him because I called the cops and they followed the blood and footprints through the snow.

And thats the part I was supprised about the most. I hit the guy on his scalp. There isnt much blood in a scalp compared to most the body. But my kitchen was covered in blood. His blood was on my refridgerator, counter, floor and celing… it was almost as traumatic to clean it. My roomates were gone for winter break. Thank god my roomates girlfriend came over and helped me.

Now as for the guy. The cops couldnt charge him for 2 days because he needed blood transfusions. He was charged with assault, breaking and entering and attempted murder. Not sure what he got convicted of but he went to jail for 4 years.

***

When I was two weeks into my first job as a 16 year old (at a smoothie establishment that should be known to NBA fans), we were robbed. It was late, and my coworker’s friends had been playing pranks on her all day, so when I saw someone burst through the door, i thought it was just that. Until, that is, i had something metal pressed against my back and an arm wrapped around my chest. The robber gave the whole stereotypical “give me all the money” spiel, and ordered us to go into the back room, kneel down, and face the wall. As I was kneeling and hearing him walking towards us, time seemed to slow down. Thankfully, I had been refilling juices whenever he came in, and so the door to the back room was partially blocked by a heavy cart. With whatever substance he was on, he wasn’t coordinated enough to get past it to us, so he fled. He was followed by my coworker’s husband and caught. When he was caught, they found an industrial sized pipe wrench wrapped tightly in his fist, so that he could get a stronger grip when swinging. I’m so glad that cart was there. Once a year or so, I would look him up in the parish prison roster to see if he was still in jail. One year, he suddenly wasn’t. I later found him named in a lawsuit as having stabbed his cellmate a half dozen times while the guy was asleep. Definitely doesn’t seem like the nicest of people. Nine years later, I’m still unpacking this incident in therapy – it’s why I dont like walking around cities at night or sitting where I can’t see the door.

***

I was exiting a bar once after last call and was with a friend who was a medic. We saw a girl laying in a snow bank near a telephone pole who had just been hit by a car. We ran over and tried to help her, some others were already on the phone with 911 and I, not having any medical training didn’t have anything to contribute but didn’t want to just leave, the whole situation was concerning.

I turn around for a second and start to hear people screaming… I turn around a a minivan was heading for us, the few people around this woman. They already started to run, but I was too late…

He hit me as I was trying to flee… put the car in reverse, ran over me again, and then went forward and run over me a third time.

Turns out the guy was high and drunk and got into a fight with the women’s bf, whom I bared a strong resemblance too. He thought I was him. Not to throw a pity party for myself but 9 years later I have a ton of medical issues, and my life pretty much started on a downward spiral since then… but sure, I guess I “survived”.

Edit: For everyone wondering about the guy, An off duty cop watched the whole thing go down, and copied his license plate number. He was apprehended 20 minutes later & charged with attempted murder, along with many other things.

He plea’d out to just 3 years in jail. He had actually killed someone else a few years before drunk driving. How they thought that was appropriate is beyond me.

***

I got jumped by two grown men when I was a freshmen in college. I was walking back from my friends house and it was about 30 past midnight. One posed as a homeless man asking for a dollar and the other had on a security jacket like he worked for the university’s safety patrol. When I passed the homeless guy saying I had nothing to give him, I saw the “security” guy walking towards me. This is when I felt a rear neck choke hold and the “security” guy started whaling on me. I had my bag on me, but like I said, I literally had nothing on me. They couldn’t take me down to the ground (surprisingly..I must’ve had an adrenaline rush). The guy posing as a homeless guy said “open the back pack, find anything let’s dip”. This lasted about 2-3 minutes, but it felt like forever. The whole time I could feel something pointy in my back, but I just like to think that the guy was extremely excited, and it wasn’t a knife. Luckily, it was right outside my friend’s house and a couple of them came running out when they heard the commotion. The guys fled immediately when 3 of my friends came sprinting towards them. I still look behind me when I walk home alone.

***

When I was a kid I was riding my bike home from a friends house at sunset. I rode past the community pool which had been closed for a couple months. There was a car in the lot with a guy in it. I didn’t think much of it as I continued the trek home. I cut through the local elementary parking lot which has gates. I get like 20 yards past the gate and I see that car pull up at the bottom. Thinking that’s odd. Anyhow he backs out away from the gate. My spidey senses were kinda tingling at this point. I get up to the school and head towards teacher parking lot which is my standard direction. As I’m about to turn the corner I see headlights from the parking lot. I stop and peek around the corner and it’s that fucking guy again. I flip my bike around and start going the long way around the school. He sees me but just gets back in his car. And starts driving around the front of the school. I camp in these bushes, heart pounding. He is slowly driving up and down the front of the school keeping an eye on the teachers lot. Another car comes down the street and he has to move his dumb car out of their way. As soon as he does I just blasted up to the street and full tilt flew my bike into some random open garage. So I’m hiding in the garage waiting for him to come around again. But he doesn’t. I give it a few minutes then decide to pop my head out. Still no one. Ok I’m a few blocks from home just gotta go for it. Bust out the bike and start hauling ass home. Not half a fucking block later this dude turns the corner on me. I just veer my bike into some random lawn and run up to the front door. I look at him and he’s just in the street staring at me. I grip the front door handle praying to any and every god these people don’t lock their doors. I see his reverse lights flicker and I know he just put it in park. I just rip that door open, run inside and slam it. Two old people just sitting there. I look at them and I’m like some dude is trying to get me out there. They don’t completely believe me cause they barely react to what I said. But they don’t kick me out or anything either. I’m watching the dude from their window and he’s just chilling. Then the grandpa looking dude gets up from his Lazy Boy and opens the curtain to look for himself. When he does this the asshat in the car just leaves. Old guy is like well looks like he’s gonna leave. I’m like I’m not leaving for a bit. So I hang out for 10 min and no creepy abductor car to be seen. I assume he figured i called the cops. Finally I’m like I have to get home. This is before cell phones were common for average people. I hop on my bike and I swear it felt like I drove 35 mph the whole way home. Get home and tell my parents. I’m exhausted and in complete shock. They basically brush me off. I’m stunned that every adult I interacted with acted like I was crazy. I basically never talked about it again it was so traumatic to talk about at the time.

That image of him in his car while I held the door handle to the random house is permanently seared into my brain. To this day it’s still as crystal clear as if it happened yesterday. Like 18-20 years later i decided to confront my parents as to why they didn’t do anything that day. They were like wtf you talking about. I explained it far better than I could’ve when I was a kid in complete shock. Anyhow, with the current, more expansive explanation my mother b-b-b-broke down. She started crying at this public restaurant cause she saw how serious I was when I was like how could you ignore what I said that day. As well as talked about how that morphed my stranger danger techniques for better or worse. Thankfully I was on the verge of puberty and ended up becoming a giant human being so my actual fears diminished quickly as I could defend myself. Until I moved away from that town however, I looked every day for that god damned car. Never saw it again. I would fantasize about what I’d like to do if I ever found that guy, hell, I still do.

TLDR dude tried abducting me at like 10-12 years old. Got lucky hiding in random garage and some old people’s house. Never got any level of justice

***

I was around 20-21 years old and walking home at about 3 am after a night out and I was absolutely plastered from drinking so much, I was about 200 meters from my house when a hooded figure jumped out from behind a bush and immediately had a knife pushing into my stomach as he grabbed my neck and tried pulling me in, fortunately I was stronger and pulled away, he went to lunge at me with the knife when suddenly he stopped, stared for what felt like an eternity but was probably a second or 2 and then said “Holy shit, I haven’t seen you in so long, my bad mate” and then walked off like nothing had happened. I still don’t know who he was to this day.

***

If you’re from the area I’m from this will probably sound familiar. But I got absolutely black out drunk at an end of the year/graduation party and ended up having to get taken home early. Later that night another student at the party ended up stabbing and killing 5 people. Turns out he had mental issues (schizophrenia) and thought everyone at the party was a werewolf/vampire who threatened his life. He never went to jail but ended up being founded non criminally responsible instead…

***

Had a homicidal roommate. He would graphically describe his murderous fantasies in vivid detail to me. Very gory stuff like peeling faces off and slicing guts open. Over the course of my time knowing him, he would describe his victim in detail. Every element of his descriptions aligned perfectly to me, with unsettling detail. I would confront him about this numerous times, stating I felt unsafe and asking if he wanted to hurt me etc. He would always slide around the questions with his words, never saying anything reassuring or direct. These conversations always left me feeling much more unsettled.

One day he just walks into my room with a dazed look on his face, almost as if he were in a state of psychosis. He sits on the foot of my bed not saying a word. I sat on a chair about 4 feet in front of him, and asked him what’s going on? I had a very disturbing feeling at this point. He quickly reaches into his pocket, pulls out an open-blade knife, and lunges at me. My first and only instinct was to lunge back at him. I grabbed him by the shirt, pressed my forehead to his, and screamed, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!”. Shaking him as hard as I could. His eyes went scared, he dropped the knife, and just stumbled on his words, uttering “I don’t know, I don’t know’” as he walked out of my room. In hindsight what I did was pretty dangerous, I should have decked him right in the face or something else. He was a pussy when under confrontation, so I don’t know if he could have actually stabbed me. It was scary though! I reported this incident and past behaviors to the apartment management. He was evicted, the police got involved and searched his room. They found “illegal weapons” in his closet, whatever that means.

***

This all happened many years ago.

I was a lead man at a factory. A girl starts working there, and I take an interest. After a few months, I find out she is in a terrible drug-fueled abusive relationship. Every night, I tell her to call me, I’ll come get her. Finally after months, she calls me, I come get her and take her to my house.

The guy she was in the relationship with didn’t take too kindly to me taking her away. He spends the next 2 years harassing and threatening us.

A few months after she and I got married we went out for a few drinks. Her ex just happened to be at the bar we went to. He apologized to us for the threats and harassment. We were sitting outside talking with a few other people.

Next thing I know, I’m on my back on the ground with someone choking me. I try all I can to get them off of me, but being blindsided and them being on top of me, it wasn’t easy. As I struggle to get free, everything goes black, then I see “the light at the end of the tunnel”. In that moment I was certain that this was the end of me. I somehow manage to get a better hold of this person’s head, and I yank them off of me. We run to the car and get away.

A week or so later, my wife had been talking to everyone she thinks might know what happened. Turns out, her ex had paid 2 people $50 to kill me that night.

***

Chilling with the bros drinking at a park. As we drive off to leave, a car coming our way almost hits us. Driver obviously reacts like “wtf” and I guess the other car noticed.

They turned around and caught up to us at a stop sign. Other driver asked if we had a problem, we told them stop driving like assholes. Then their back window rolls down and two guys in the back draw Glocks with drum magazines.

We just kind of froze up at first but then our driver pulled off hastily. Later found out those guys got arrested for shooting someone else that same day.

***

A couple of years ago my brother and I went to walk the dog at like 11pm. We left through the side gate (live on a corner) and right as we exit I see this weird looking dude at the corner of the footpath walking weirdly towards us. Got bad vibes and told my brother to get the dog and get back inside. This dude is walking kind of side on and hiding something in his hand behind his back, as I’m getting my brother through the gate the dude says something like “oi mate can I come in, I need a blanket I’m freezing” I just ignored him and went inside and locked the door. We then get a call from the people who live two doors up, the same dude knocked on their door and their 10yo son opened it to see the dude holding a fucking hatchet. Anyway I’m glad I went with my gut on that one.

***

I was 15-16, at a party. I went outside on a balcony for a smoke with someone I was talking to, and there was already a guy out there. We chatted as a group, and the friend went back inside. I started chatting with the guy who was already out there, who seemed a little funny. He started talking about how he was in the Army for a little bit but got kicked out, then pulled out a big knife and handed it to me. I looked at it and gave it back to him. At that point he pushed me against the edge of the balcony, put the knife to my neck, looked me in the eye, and said “do you know why I wanted to join the Army? I wanted to fucking kill people, man. People just like you”. He then made a slicing sound with his mouth and took the knife away, then started laughing.

I went inside, grabbed my gf, and we locked ourselves in a bedroom. He ended up smoking a lot of meth that night and was kneeing holes in the wall and beating on the door. I slept with my knife under my pillow. The next morning he seemed totally normal, except for the fact that he had turned his jeans into short shorts.

Fucking scary looking back on it.

***

When I was 15 my schoolfellow, whose brother I was friendly with, asked me to follow him outside to a lightly wooded area behind our school where kids used to go smoke. Everything seemed totally normal- we were making casual small conversation- and once we got to the spot I said “hold on, I have to take a piss”. Turned my back on him to do the deed and next thing I felt was a super hard punch to my upper right back. Turns out this “punch” was actually a stab- specifically, a stab with an 8″ knife. He was kind enough to A) inform me I’d been stabbed and B) remove the knife. Survival instinct kicked in and I fell to the ground pretending to be dead, because he would of kept going otherwise. Once I fell to the ground he took my watch off my hand, which we soon learned (according to him) was the impetus for the stabbing- he planned to pawn it (a $200 Fossil watch my mom bought my on vacation to Italy a couple years earlier) and buy some coke. Once he ran off and I started getting up I noticed something was very wrong… I couldn’t breath. My friends happened to be behind the school when I emerged from the wooded area yelling for them to go get help as I’d just been stabbed. They thought I was joking around as I usually did, but one of them finally came over after I fell to my knees and saw I was being for real, blood going everywhere. They’d fetched a teacher who proved to be the human embodiment of incompetence- she got the bright idea to have me lay on my stomach, which could of expedited the process of flooding my lungs with blood, but thankfully didn’t as I only stayed in that position for a few seconds. The pain began to intensify as I was constantly gasping for air, but also some nerve damage had been done and my movement was greatly constricted. They propped me up against the lockers by the back entrance, where my blood coated the wall, and it took about 25 min for the ambulance to arrive. I was still in a great deal of pain even with the oxygen mask on, but it was nothing compared to the pain I’d experience shortly after in the ER/OR where they made a 5-6″ incision under my armpit in order to get at my lung so that they could insert a chest tube. The feeling of having the doctors hands INSIDE of me, feeling around and holding my lung while I was still awake (under local anaesthetic) is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever encountered and a sensation I will never forget. I still don’t know why they couldn’t have put me under fully for such a procedure instead of administering local all around my body… At this point my parents had been brought in and were in hysterics after seeing me on the OR table with blood everywhere. My mom was at home when the principal called to notify her what’d happened and ordered a cop to drive her to the hospital, a trauma centre about 30 min away from our home. My dad was at work on a construction site and went into a rage, getting together a band of his friends/workers to come to the hospital to find out who did this- they wanted to go kill the guy, but my mom managed to talk some sense into him. I was the most innocent 15 year old kid, never into drugs, alcohol, gangs, etc. and struggled for a long time with the question of “why me?” when there were so many much worse people out there than me… not that anyone deserves this kind of punishment. Was a $200 watch worth it? I spent a couple weeks in the hospitals trauma unit and then a further month or two at home recovering. Whoever stitched me up did a horrible job as they kept coming undone and I had to visit the ER several times to have that fixed… bleeding out in public was NOT fun… Psychologically it honestly didn’t do too much damage as I think I was just too young to grasp the full weight of what’d happened… but physically it left the entire area around my upper right back and right arm/armpit completely numb for the rest of my life. I was also told that the lung could randomly collapse at any time– apparently that’s a possibility for those having suffered a traumatic pneumothorax, can anyone confirm?–, but it’s been almost 15 years since the incident and I haven’t had any major issues with the lung thus far. The guy who did it was 17 and protected by the young offenders act here in Canada, which means he did zero jail time for this… I think he just got some community service hours. Blows my fucking mind- what a dysfunctional system…

***

Someone shot 17 semi-automatic rounds into my house while everyone was asleep.

They nearly shot my kids, they hit my bed I was sleeping in, there were bullets dinging around the room. It was pure dumb luck no one got killed because it was over by the time we were even able to react.

***

Like a decade+ or so when I was a kid my family and I took a trip to Tanzania for safaris. Well, one night near the Kenyan border we were out spotlighting for bush babies when a pair of headlights appear in the distance and blocks our car. A bunch of dudes with AKs hop out of their truck and our tour guide drops his head to the wheel and keeps his hands on it. Me, being what like 10 whined “what’s happening” and my parents basically quietly and sternly told me to shut the fuck up and stay down. Any time the guys with guns ask our tour guide questions he would just mumble responses and not look up. Apparently my mom watched the dudes rubbing their crotches and staring at her and my sister (who is just a year older than me). After probably like 10 minutes (but it was so long ago and I was so young I don’t really know) the dudes put their guns down, hop in their vehicle, and drive away. While pressing our tour guide for questions we would only get response like “oh they were just game wardens looking for poachers” and other bullshit.

Turns out it was (according to my parents after snooping around) a Kenyan militia who goes around and kidnaps tourist groups to hold for ransom. They stop one group, call up the owner of the park/ preserve, and say basically they’ll let this group go if he agrees to pay the ransom but if he doesn’t they’ll kill them and ruin his business if they don’t get X amount of money. If the game warden agrees to their ransom then they let the first group go. If he doesn’t then they kill and/or rape them. And then try again with the next group. If he doesn’t pay the ransom by then, well you get the picture.

Awfully, although this was one of the more urgent near death experiences our family has had, we still laugh about it since something terrible like this happens on nearly every trip we go on with the family. Israel and Egypt, nearly had bombs go off on us. South Africa, got stuck in a river with a very territorial hippo and jeep stuck on a termite mound with a very pissed leopard stalking us. Also in Tanzania I stuck my face in a boomslang and didn’t notice. India something else happened but I don’t remember what, I’ll add it if I remember. It’s a running gag with our family at this point, and we just assume any family trip we take something awful will go wrong. So much weird random shit happens to our family that our friends ask “what happened this time?” after a trip.

***

I don’t know if this counts because I didn’t find out until ten years later.

When I was 7-8 years old, when my parents broke up. My dad apparently tried to kill me and my mother, along with everyone in the household at time. Including the cats. He failed to get in house. The 2 times he tried.

***

In my late teens, I used to buy my weed from random dudes in the projects (low income housing.)

One day we gave some money to a guy named 40. He took it and went inside one of the buildings. We waited in the car for several minutes. We started to think he had taken our money and left. Right about that time, a car full of coked-up white dudes pulled up beside ours. Apparently my friend owed them money. They pointed a gun at him and said that if he had enough money to buy weed, then he could pay them back.

I really thought they were going to shoot us and just drive off like it was nothing, and I hadn’t even done anything wrong. I thought I was gonna pee my pants.

Right about that time, 40 came back out with our weed and an even bigger gun. He scared them away and then we went back to his apartment and smoked a blunt. What a good man. Turns out he was only selling weed because he had a 6-year-old daughter and that was the only way he knew to give her a better life than he had.

I babysat his daughter occasionally for the rest of that summer. I really hope she got a decent childhood and that her dad stayed safe and out of jail.

***

My brother has BPD and is totally incapable of controlling his emotions. He saw red and came at me with a steak knife and stabbed me several times in the neck. I guess I was lucky in that most of the stabs glanced off me as I was protecting myself with my arms, he didn’t really strike any clean shots where it could have cause me to bleed seriously but he wasn’t really aiming. A few inches to the left and he could have hit a major vein.

***

I was 15 and outside in my garage petting my cat. It was November so it was already dark by 5pm. Someone opened the door behind me without me hearing, grabbed me by my Ponytail and starting dragging me outside. They hit me on my head with a brick and knocked me out. Pulled me halfway around my house when (I’m guessing this is when) they stabbed me on the left side of my stomach. This must have brought me out of my daze, because my mom said she heard me scream from inside where she and my brother And sister were in the kitchen. They came out the front door and saw me bleeding out on the side walk, called 911. had 12 stitches (double layer) and a severe Concussion, and whiplash. didn’t eat and hardly slept for a week. They never found them.

***

Sophomore year of college went with a freind to go hang out at his old college. We were supposed to crash with a few freinds of his but we met a few ladies and ended up at a pool party. Next day went home and my freind started getting calls from one of his buddies moms asking if he’d seen him.

Turns out in the middle of the night a few guys broke into the house kidnapped my friends buddy and roomate. Took there car and drove them out to the middle if nowhere and executed them. I guess it was part of some gang initiation.

I was supposed to sleep there with my freind. I still somtimes think about it and get the shivers.

***

Serious

May 18, 2018. School shooting at Santa Fe Highschool, I was a sophomore at the time. Don’t really want to dive into the details but I remember running through the grass thinking that they were shooting into the crowd of kids running. Scariest moment of my life, but at least im here for the 1 year anniversary of it all.

***

A customer pushed me onto a rollercoaster track in the station (I work in a theme park), luckily rides are covered in sensors, and I tripped one. Which stopped the ride.

***

Was walking with a few friends to hit the bars after a bottle of Tequila as a young dumb 17 year old, through an abandoned dockyard because fuck getting a Taxi, we’re invincible right? Well outta nowhere a dozen men ran out of the darkness near a crumbling abandoned water tower with knives shouting at us, so we all take off naturally. Now we get to the bridge on the other side of the dockyard and my friend gets grabbed and the assailant goes to plant a knife in his back, I grabbed the guy and pulled him into some bushes right by the Waters edge. My friends continued to run and made off fine, I however was corned, and stabbed 4 times, including once in the head (will upload pics for proof if this takes off). As I’m lying against the fence and they’re deciding who’s going to finish me off one of them starts shouting my name because I knew him from school. He might have been in with the wrong crowd but he rugby tackled the one that was about to finish me off, pulled down the fence and sent me running. Still think about him time to time, between the Fluoxotine and the PTSD.

***

I was abducted at a gas station during undergrad. The locks on my car were broken, and as soon as I got back in, a strange man came in and forced me to drive him to an ATM. I am paralyzed with fear so any sense or reason I had went out the window. He claimed he worked at Wendy’s and for my generosity he would give me all the Wendy’s I ever wanted. On the way to the ATM he showed me pictures of his daughters (on his clearly stolen cell phone). Then a Whitney Houston song came on the radio and he starts BAWLING his eyes out and screaming “Why do all the good people have to die, only bad things should happen to bad people.” I go to the ATM, take out cash, give it to him thinking it’s over. He then makes me get back in the car and drive him somewhere else. We pass by some train tracks and I’m thinking this is it, this is where I will be murdered. He asks me what I’m studying in school, and I tell him Biochemistry. “I believe in jet propulsion and all that shit. WE ARE NOT ALONE ALIENS ARE AMONG US.” He then makes me pull over at a gas station and he tells me “drive away sweetheart”. I call the cops, had to do a line-up, apparently this dude had done this to a ton of other women, and some were less unscathed than I was….

***

Some time ago when I was like 14 years old I found a second handed guitar advertised online for a very cheap price, I wen’t ahead and contacted the seller, who ended up being someone who studied in the same school I studied in, so I went to his house and found that the guitar had no strings, which was no a problem to me but we got to an agreement of him putting new strings on the guitar if I went with him downtown to purchase them, to which I said yes.

We went downtown, got the new strings, and while getting back, a random guy approached us and started asking for money, I paid no attention but then this random guy pulled out a fire gun and pointed at us, he said that he was the guy in charge of the zone that we happened to be walkind around and that we must pay him in order to cross by.

I was kind of in shock but then the guy I was with (the guitar seller) started a discussion with the guy who had the gun and while they were doing that, the seller told me to run, and with no doubt I startet to run away as fast as I could right thourgh the middle of a street and between running cars, something obiously dumb, but I was in shock, so that was my reaction.

I remember that when I started to run, that guy still had the gun pointing at us, so while I ran I was weirdly expecting the sound of a shoot, but luckily that didn’t happen.

***

I used to live on the outskirts of downtown and would go visit a friend that lived downtown. He lived in a place that’s kind of like a halfway house so he wasn’t allowed to have overnight guests so I’d leave his place at around 10pm and catch the bus back home. The streetlights at the nearest bus stop were all out and that made me uncomfortable so I decided to walk to the next stop which ended up being an awful decision. There was an old guy under the influence sitting at this bus stop and he tried to hit on me. I ignored him and then he called me a bunch of names and started acting violent. I turned around to walk away and he reached over to grab me by my hair. He starts punching me, we fall to the ground and then he starts slamming my head into the concrete repeatedly. I was so focused on trying to fight back I never screamed or anything. A minute later a group of men end up pulling this guy off of me, restrain him and call the police. If those guys had not been in the area I probably would’ve died because the old guy was not slowing down. I was too traumatized to show up to court when he was charged so he ended up only serving 3 months.

***

I was walking to a bus station at 6 in the morning, and some dude on the sidewalk pushed me over and sliced at my throat with a knife, then walked off. Luckily his knife was blunt as fuck and so I got away with just a cool scar. I asked a guy who had witnessed the whole thing to help me call the police, and he said nah. Then I went on with my day.

***

Well. My mom got mad at me when I was 20 and I didn’t give her money for her birthday, which I’m assuming was to pay off drug dealers of hers, so she stabbed me between the ribs. Ended up getting stuck in the bone and had to get it taken out in surgery.

***

I went to Trafalgar square for new year with my friend about 18 years ago! We got totally sloshed on whiskey, fantastic atmosphere, 100s of people walking around! From memory I must of looked really pissed (that’s whisky for u), went for a stroll outside the bar on my own, stumbling probably, grinning ear to ear, when a stranger took my arm and started walking away with me. I was so out of it I just went along!

We bumped into a couple and I very quietly pleaded that I didn’t know this person! Thankfully they stopped and pretended they knew me and dragged me back!

Always dread to think what would of happened!

***

I was riding in a train across Eastern Europe. I was running low on money and even though I had been warned that a woman should not travel alone in second class seating I did not spring for first class. I was sitting alone in one of the compartments that seats six. This was also a mistake and a very stupid one to sit alone. Eventually the train stopped and a man got on – he was very drunk. He came into my compartment and I guess thought I looked like his ex-wife. He attacked me. If it were not for the fact that this particular station was the border between two countries I would be dead. Instead border patrol from both countries were on the train and while I was unable to scream, the door was open and at least a half a dozen uniformed men jumped him and saved me. I was in the hospital for a little while but recovered. At one point during the trial, one of the cops asked me if I wanted him and his buddies to hold the guy down while I hit him. I thought he was joking. So I said no, go ahead you do it. I was also joking. But it turns out they took it seriously and were about to! I did put a stop to that at least. But they were so offended that someone from their country would attack a young female American tourist. They were furious with him. So many people there depended upon tourism

***

I was doing volunteer work in Central America, working in a really bad area of the capitol city–it was a slum built on top of the city’s garbage dump. The whole place reeked of trash, and there were large metal cylinders coming up out of the ground throughout the area to vent the gas from decomposing garbage underground.

As a fellow volunteer and I walked down a dirt path, two men approached us. I’d never seen them before. They were acting strangely, but I just thought they were drunk or high–a lot of people in the area drank rubbing alcohol to get drunk, since it was cheaper than beer or liquor. Over time, drinking the rubbing alcohol would really mess with their brains.

As the men got closer, they began acting really friendly–too friendly. One of them came close to me, trying to put his arm around my shoulders. At first, it seemed like the behavior of a guy who gets happy and friendly when he’s drunk. However, an alarm went off in my head, and I gently–but firmly–pushed him away. I tried to make it seem lighthearted and playful, like, “Hey, man! How’s it going?” (Affectionate shove.) I didn’t want to make a scene, since I was a gringo; I didn’t want to seem like an ugly American.

This went on over and over down the whole path–he’d get close, I’d shove him off, he’d come close again. Finally, my friend and I came to a fork in the path, and we went one way while they went another.

After we got to the house of some people we knew, we told them about the two guys. (I was so focused on protecting myself, I didn’t even notice much of what was happening with the other guy.) They said, “Oh, everyone around here knows him. That’s his routine–he comes up to people, pretends to be friendly, puts him arm around them, then pulls out his knife and stabs them in the stomach.”

I was that close to getting stabbed to death.

***

Was a bouncer at a club in LA for a minute in the 90’s. Stopped some dudes clearly affiliated (in a gang) at the door after they refused security checks. After a few minutes of their threats & Manson lamps they left spewing all sort of warnings.

A little later it starts to wind down and because it’s a little slow & we’re overstaffed so I start to drink. I get a bit drunk (not wasted, but sleepy-buzzed) so I tell my buddy I’m going to go lay down in the back of his car for a while.

A few minutes after lying down I realize I have to piss. I get out and stumble a few into a spot between a guard gate (for a parking lot) and a building for a little privacy (there’s a few dozen people milling around in front of the club). I’m about 25 feet away from the club’s entrance and just off an alleyway.

While I’m relieving myself, a dude runs right past in front of me, around the guard booth to my rear, and unloads a 9mm (recovered rounds from back seat/trunk/roof/bumper) into the back seat of the car I’d just crawled out of.

“bam bam bam bam…” Unloading into the car.

He then turns, runs right back past me, and down the alley into the night. Don’t think he saw me at all.

Nothing really came of it. Except my partner was convinced I was a “marked man” and refused to be near me for a year or so.

Edit: holy crap, I kind of expected this to get buried. This was Los Angeles. I was about 25 (almost 50 now) so some specifics are long gone – but I remember this: my buddy was genuinely terrified by this, I don’t think he knew anything about it (in fact he seemed to interpret the event as a larger conspiracy to have me snuffed – not some random pissed off dude making a point/getting jumped in) and because he ditched the car/wouldn’t take my calls it got left at that. For those concerned with the car – it was, like, a 1980’s rusted out sedan…maybe a $500 car. Details about the slugs/number of rounds fired were relayed to me later by third parties (my friend and I were known in the neighborhood, people were talking about it). Thank you for the well wishes. Honestly though, this wasn’t even the first time I was shot at (it’s been a long strange trip).

***

Throwaway because it got some media. I’m a criminal defense attorney. I was representing this guy that had embezzled almost $500k from his business partner. He was looking down the barrel at several years in prison, a bunch of his assets had been seized by the government, was being sued by multiple creditors for north of $2 million, and was in the midst of an ugly divorce and wasn’t allowed to see his kids. I was one of 3 lawyers he had – criminal, civil and divorce. He was drinking a lot and using coke — I used to get this incoherent phone calls in the middle of the night that ranged from threats to crying.

He came to my office one day and asked for me but I was in court. My secretary said he was perfectly civil. He then went to his divorce lawyer’s office and shot him to death. Got stopped by the police a short distance away and was wounded in a shootout. He would later tell the cops that he had come to my office to shoot me that day and also planned to shoot his civil attorney.

***

I have a friend who had a party at his parents house when he was in high school that a ton of random people went to. He got super drunk during the party and went upstairs to go to sleep, knowing that his friends would watch the party for him. My friend woke up from his nap to a guy from his school sitting on top of him stabbing him death. He was stabbed seven times before it stopped and he laid there on the bed dying. The only reason he is still alive is because his best friend came upstairs to ask him if it was alright if he made a frozen pizza and found him. The assailant was put in jail and recently was released and it scares me to know that a guy who “wanted to know what it would feel like to kill someone” (said during the trial), is still out there free.

***

I jumped out of a moving vehicle. This was in college in a different country. There were commuter buses that takes us to and from the campus and dorms. I had to stay 30 mins later for a project so around 7:30 PM by then the commuter rush was gone. I was the only passenger and I was sitting at front next to the driver.

He was acting already shady, it was dark and rainy. He made a sudden dark turn of a grassy unlit hill. He said somethings wrong with the tires. I said Im getting off, he wont let me.

The hill leads to a cliffside where rapes and murders have happned before. I had the pointy stick of my umbrella facing him ready to jab if he tried anything, which he tried to reach/grab for me. I jumped and ran straight to the highway were another commuter bus stopped surprised seeing a girl coming out of the tall grasses.

I saw the driver of my previous ride, speeding away. Nothing was wrong with his tires.

***

My supposed best friend decided that my wife and I were too perfect. Therefore it must all be an act and I was obviously abusing her.

He was at our house after I made an awesome dinner and we were having fun drinking and singing karaoke.

I went to the kitchen to put some glasses away, came back and leaned on the couch with him slightly behind me to the left of me.

Then I heard a thunk and felt an amazing amount of pain on the top of my head. He had picked up the whiskey bottle on the table and smashed it into my skull.

I was very confused as to wtf was happening. Then the blood started pouring. I didn’t want to get blood everywhere so I went to the kitchen.

Dude is pacing back and forth saying weird shit. I thought about my gun (which was close by) but I wasn’t thinking quite straight. He left.

I had a huge concussion and still suffer side effects from it.

My number 2 goal in life is to live longer then that asshat just so I can shit on his grave.

***

I (18F back then, now 25) was on my way home at night after meeting a friend.

My home was just 10 minutes away from the trainstation. After a few minutes I felt someone following me. No big deal I tought, just someone else walking home. But I started walking faster. I realized the person behind me was catching up…weird. In my head I started to make up scenarios of how to defend myself if the person would attack me. Never would I think of this to actually happen.

Well, until I felt something on the back of my head, hitting me hard. I went furious. I turned around and attacked the guy. My mind was just full of anger towards this stranger who, what I thought, hit me.

We were wrestling until I fell on the ground. He was sitting on top of me, strangling me. I tried to crawl my nails into his eyes as deep as I could, but I started to black out. Suddenly there was this tought in my head “wake up, or you will die”…well, adrenaline kicked in again and I opened my eyes and screamed of the top of my lungs, attacking him again.

That helped. He stood up and began to run. I layed there for a few seconds, then I started to run home, still screaming.

My mom was already at our door and opened for me because my screams woke her up (or her mother senses, who knows?) She immeadiately called the cops and they could arrest him on the same night.

It turned out that he actually shot me in my head from behind. They assume that the gun didn’t work properly, the bullet didnt penetrate my skull and stuck in there, but as far as I know they never found out why the gun misfired. I’m glad though. He told the cops that he already followed me a few times in the past, but never had the guts to “do it”. He wanted to kill me and rape my dead body.

***

My wife, my kids and myself went to church one time and we ran into one of my wife’s old “flings”, this guy followed my wife around and our daughter and kept trying to talk to them. So I confronted him about it and told him to back off.

As we were leaving he makes sure to yell across the parking lot telling my daughter good bye. My wife forces me in to the car and we leave. So I message the guy on Facebook to ask him what his problem is and he tells me that my wife and daughter are his friends and I have no right to tell them who to be friends with. I told him again to back off our I would call the police.

Fast forward a week (I worked every other Sunday) I get a call from the pastor saying that they had to call the police on the guy because he was causing drama looking for me. When they arrested him he had a back pack with him that had a sawed off shotgun, a meth pipe and some meth in it.

***

Walking home from my pregnant gf’s house at the time.. Honestly it wasn’t a bad neighborhood. Well I’m walking basically just minding my own business, passed these guys maybe 3 or four of them , they were heading the other direction on the other side of the street.. Something told me to look back and right as I did that, one of them had a gun pointed to the back of my head.. I turned around fully and was just like yo! They were like give us your money etc I had a wad of dollars and not sure if it was quick thinking but I stuck my thumb in between the cash pulled it out and threw it on the road and it scattered.. As they went to pick it up I bolted.. These assholes chased me.. I just run to some dudes house who luckily for me he was cool let me in closed the door and called the cops.. A few weeks later those same dudes were arrest

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/thought-catalog/2019/05/50-true-stories-of-people-who-escaped-a-murderer-by-dumb-luck

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Three People Found Impaled on Crossbow Arrows in Quiet Bavarian B&B

A chambermaid cleaning rooms on the second floor of a Bavarian bed & breakfast in the southern German city of Passau found three dead people impaled on long arrows in one of the rooms.

When she first peeked into the room on Saturday morning, she didnt realize a figure on the bed was human, according to Merkur news website.

Somebody put a doll on the bed, the cleaner said to a colleague who was down the hall, Merkur reported. The two cleaners then pushed the door open to find a man, 54, and two women, aged 30 and 33, with arrows stuck through their mid-sections. On the floor were two crossbows, presumably used in the killings.

The guesthouse describes itself on its website as a nature getaway. Here you can relax, relax and find your inner peace again, the hosts promise.

The three mystery visitors were from Rhineland-Palatinate, according to local press reports. The 33-year-old, who booked the triple room with a double and single bed online for three days for $95 a night, was from Lower Saxony, some 300 miles away, local media said. Residents in the 33-year-olds home town said she kept to herself and rarely left her house. It is unclear if the other two people were a couple.

The three arrived around 10 p.m. in a white pickup truck late Friday in a driving rainstorm, the hotel manager on duty Sunday night, who did not want to give his name, told The Daily Beast.

When they arrived, the hotel manager said, they asked for food, but the kitchen was already closed so they took packaged salty snacks, several bottles of Coca Cola and water to their room. He said they were hungry, so they booked breakfast for the next day, but did not show up in the morning.

It was a strange group, one of the hotel guests told Merkur news. The man, who had a long white beard that extended down to his mid-chest, wore a formal suit. The women were both dressed completely in black. They said good evening and just wanted to get to their room quickly,the guest said.

None of the guests reported hearing any strange noises overnight, according to the local press, though a violent storm and the raging river next to the guesthouse may have muffled any noise.

Currently, there are no indications that anyone else participated in the deaths, according to police spokesman Stefan Gaisbauer at a press conference Sunday afternoon.

It was not immediately known how the trio knew each other, but it was reported by the German press that they were not assumed to be in the same immediate family based on their identification, which they left at the front desk when they checked in.

Autopsies have been ordered to determine the time and cause of death. The guesthouse reopened for business on Saturday night but the room in which the deceased were found was sealed until further notice.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/three-people-found-impaled-on-crossbow-arrows-in-quiet-bavarian-bandb

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‘Everyone was her sister’: Woman killed at synagogue honored

A photo of Lori Kaye, who was killed Saturday when a gunman opened fire inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue, is displayed Monday, April 29, 2019, at left, during Kaye’s funeral in Poway, Calif., as her daughter Hannah speaks at right. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Family and friends remembered a woman killed in a shooting at a Southern California synagogue as a generous person dedicated to spreading kindness, with her daughter telling the crowd Monday that she knows her mother would forgive the man who took her life as she worshipped.

A memorial service for Lori Kaye, 60, drew a packed congregation, including the three people wounded in the attack, federal and state lawmakers, a representative of the Israeli government, and city and police leaders.

Kaye’s daughter Hannah said she knows in her heart that her mother has forgiven the 19-year-old man who killed her Saturday at the Chabad of Poway near San Diego on the last day of a major Jewish holiday.

“Her light has reached all crevices of this planet,” Hannah Kaye said.

The daughter said she would miss singing in the car with her mother and dancing in the kitchen. Her mom always bought a second cup of coffee and bagel because she knew someone would want them, Hannah Kaye said.

“Everyone was her sister, her trusted confidante. Everyone was her friend,” Hannah Kaye said.

The synagogue’s rabbi, Yishoel Goldstein, lost one of his fingers in the shooting and comforted worshippers with his hand wrapped in blue bandages. Noya Dahan, 8, and her uncle Almog Peretz both suffered leg wounds in the attack but were released from the hospital and honored Kaye on Monday.

The U.S. State Department’s new envoy on anti-Semitism told the packed synagogue that the Trump administration is committed to fighting the evil wherever it lurks.

“I’m here to say we are at war with these people,” Elan Carr said, vowing to fight anti-Semitism in “every city in the United States.”

Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/us/everyone-was-her-sister-woman-killed-at-synagogue-honored

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‘Prostitution is seen as a leisure activity here’: tackling Spain’s sex traffickers | Annie Kelly

Its staggeringly big business in Spain, where demand is being met by traffickers. Can a groundbreaking team turn the tide?

On a sunny morning in Madrid, two young women duck down a side street, into a residential block and up to an apartment front door. Then they start knocking. Marcella and Maria spend a lot of time banging on doors and yelling through letterboxes all over the city. Most of the time, these doors never open. When they do, the two women could find themselves in trouble. Their job on the frontline of Spains fight against sex trafficking is a dangerous one; both have been assaulted and threatened. Yet they keep on knocking, because they have been on the other side of those doors, forced to sell their bodies for a handful of euros, dozens of times a day, seven days a week.

To say that prostitution is big business in Spain would be a gross understatement. The country has become known as the brothel of Europe, after a 2011 United Nations report cited Spain as the third biggest capital of prostitution in the world, behind Thailand and Puerto Rico. Although the Spanish Socialist party, which two weeks ago won another term in government, has promised to make it illegal to pay for sex, prostitution has boomed since it was decriminalised here in 1995. Recent estimates put revenue from Spains domestic sex trade at $26.5bn a year, with hundreds of licensed brothels and an estimated workforce of 300,000.

Supporters of decriminalisation claim it has brought benefits to those working in the trade, including making life safer for women. Yet this vastly profitable and largely unregulated market has also become infested with criminality, turning Spain into a global hub for human trafficking and sexual slavery.

Prostitution becomes sex trafficking when one person moves, detains or transports someone else for the purpose of profiting from their prostitution using fraud, force or coercion. In the UK, thousands of women are thought to be trapped in sexual servitude, but the scale of the problem in Spain is staggering. Until 2010, the law didnt even recognise human trafficking as a crime. Now the Spanish government estimates that up to 90% of women working in prostitution could be victims of trafficking or under the control of a third party such as a pimp who is profiting from them. Between 2012-2016, security forces in Spain rescued 5,695 people from slavery but acknowledge that thousands more remain under the control of criminals.

Since it passed its first anti-trafficking laws in 2010, the government has been scrambling to get on top of this crisis, spending millions of euros on an emergency plan to target the individuals and gangs operating with impunity. In 2015, it went further and created formal alliances between security forces, prosecutors, judges and NGOs, to rescue victims and prosecute the perpetrators. Survivors such as Maria and Marcella now find themselves playing a crucial part in bringing the battle to the criminals who once sold and exploited them. But can Spains new alliance of defenders really turn the tide against the traffickers?

***

I meet Maria and Marcella, both in their mid-20s, in the offices of Apramp, an organisation set up to protect, reintegrate and assist women in prostitution. Apramp helped them escape their traffickers, and they are now among its outreach workers. Their day job is to identify potential trafficking victims and try to offer them a way out. They find women they think might need help on the streets, in hostess clubs, and in some of the 400 residences they say are operating as informal brothels in Madrid.

Maria,
Maria, a trafficking survivor who helps others forced into prostitution. You dont have time to realise what has happened to you. Photograph: Ofelia de Pablo & Javier Zurita/The Guardian

Both shrug off the suggestion that they are brave. When Im wearing the Apramp vest at those apartments or on the streets, I dont feel scared, Marcella says. We know from our own experience theyre doing much worse things to the girls and women inside. So it only makes us more determined.

The two poised and eloquent young women, dressed like students in jeans and trainers, have lived through terrible things. Maria, petite and softly spoken, her brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, was brought to Spain from Romania by someone she trusted: she thought she was going on holiday with her new boyfriend. Instead, he drove her over the border using their EU residency cards and within 24 hours she was on the streets.

It just happens so fast, she says. Its difficult to describe how much you can be broken in such a short time. The shock and the trauma makes you go into survival mode. You dont have time to realise what has happened to you. She spent eight months being prostituted on street corners, in brothels and in strange apartments. Youre alive but youre not really existing, she says. Not one of the men who paid to sleep with me asked me if I was there out of choice, or whether I wanted to be doing this. They didnt care either way.

She was told by her pimp that she would have to pay off a debt of 20,000 before she could go home. With Romanian women, the traffickers threaten to kill your mother or your sister or your children if you dont pay off your debt, she says. People always ask, Why didnt you just run away or go to the police? but they dont know what theyre talking about. You cant just stop a random person on the street and ask for help, because someone you love could get killed. The police in Romania are often corrupt. You think, why should it be different here?

The promise of freedom in return for paying off the debt almost always turns out to be a lie. Maria says that, throughout her time under the control of the traffickers, she was hit with hundreds of tiny charges: shed have to pay for clothes, rent for the corner she worked, for condoms and sanitary towels. If she didnt bring back enough money, she wouldnt eat or shed be beaten.

Debt is invisible, Maria says. Its not a physical chain but it works the same way. She says some traffickers force women to get breast implants and even though the operation costs around 3,000, tell them they have to pay back 10,000. Marcella nods in agreement. She was trafficked from her native Brazil after applying to do a masters in Spain, a university course that turned out to be bogus. She was forced into prostitution immediately after she was collected from the airport. If Apramp hadnt found me, I think Id be dead by now, she says.

The fact that she not only survived but is now able to help others in the same situation has been an essential part of her recovery. The mafia take you and destroy your whole identity. Even now, youre recovering but you can never forget your past, she says. Doing this work really helps.

From
From left: Jos Nieto, Spains leading anti-trafficking law enforcement officer, Roco Mora, director of Apramp, which helps trafficked women, and prosecutor Beatriz Snchez.

Between them, Maria and Marcella have helped dozens of women and girls escape their traffickers. Its a process that takes months, sometimes years. Afterwards, Apramp finds the women somewhere safe to live, offers counselling and legal support, and helps them find work. We have to show them that their lives are worth living again, Marcella says.

Roco Mora, Apramps co-founder and director, sweeps into the room and embraces Maria and Marcella, who are about to start their afternoon shift. The only ones who really understand what we are facing are the survivors, she says. Tall and immaculately groomed, Mora is one of Spains best-known anti-trafficking advocates; her rage at what she sees happening on the streets is raw and visceral. What Spain is facing, she says, is a huge violation of the fundamental rights of women and girls; anyone labouring under the impression that the majority of women working in prostitution in Spain are doing so by choice is deluding themselves. The sex industry profits from the sale of women who are being controlled and exploited through debt, violence or psychological manipulation, she says. Our mobile unit has contact with 280 women a day and almost 100% are victims of exploitation and trafficking.

There are many reasons why Spain has become a hotspot, but for Mora, the biggest single factor is cultural. Spains sex trafficking epidemic is, she says, just the most extreme manifestation of the countrys problematic attitudes to women and sex. There is huge demand for prostitution here. Its become so normalised that its just seen like any other leisure activity.

One survey in 2008 found that 78% of Spanish people consider prostitution an inevitability in modern society. And demand is huge: another survey, conducted in 2006, found that nearly 40% of Spanish men over the age of 18 had paid for sex at least once in their life. Mora has recently seen a radical change in the kind of men buying sex. Before, it was largely older men sneaking away from their families. Now, both the women on the streets and the sex buyers themselves are getting younger. The social stigma isnt the same as it was when I started out, she says. We have a generation of young men growing up believing they have the right to do anything to a womans body if they have paid for it, and they dont have to worry about the consequences.

As a young girl, Mora watched her mother (also called Roco) start Apramp from their kitchen table. At 18, Mora was studying by day and driving a mobile health unit through Madrids red-light district by night.

A
A club in a high-end neighbourhood of Madrid.

When my mother started this work, it was mainly getting health services to Spanish women who were engaged in prostitution to feed their families or a drug addiction, she says. Two decades ago, criminal gangs started to take hold. And it really was a radical change. There was suddenly a lot of violence and coercion men on the streets watching the women and taking their money.

Now, she says, most women in prostitution in Spain are foreigners: Apramp works with women of 53 different nationalities. And the gangs are more sophisticated and more ruthless. They no longer need men on the street, because they are controlling the women through debt, fear and psychological control. This is what makes it much harder to fight, because many dont see that they have a way out.

***

On Calle Montera, one of Madrids busiest shopping streets, eastern European or South American women stand alone or in small groups. Maria and Marcella point out that many of the women they help dont look like trafficking victims: it is easy for people to walk past them and not realise. Maria says many are also acting as human signposts, indicating that there are houses filled with other women nearby. When we get back to our car that evening, flyers have been stuck under our windscreen wipers offering a two-for-one deal on women for the special price of 30.

A short walk from Calle Montera is the HQ of the Centre of Intelligence and Risk Analysis, run by Spains national police. Jos Nieto is its chief inspector and Spains leading anti-trafficking law enforcement officer. As with Mora, anti-trafficking work has become Nietos vocation. He has spent more than 20 years trying to develop an effective police response to a human rights catastrophe that, until 2010, wasnt even included in Spains criminal code.

When I started in 1997, I was part of the brigade that believed all prostitutes did this work because they wanted to, he says. But its like an illness: at first you feel that something is wrong but you havent got a diagnosis. But as soon as you put a name to it, everything changes. You see it for what it really is.

He explains the myriad reasons why Spain has become such a magnet for sex trafficking networks; a perfect storm, he calls it. First, we are fighting a crime that is socially acceptable, because prostitution is accepted and embraced by many people here. Second there is geography: We are at the centre of all major migratory routes. The main victims we are seeing trafficked and forced into prostitution are Romanian, West African and South American. You can cross from Romania to Spain with an ID card. Africa is just 15km from us. We have a historic and a linguistic connection to South America.

As in many countries, a prosecution is almost impossible without a victim willing to disclose their situation and testify against their exploiters. There is great fear among victims that if they tell the police, they will be sent back to their countries with their debts unpaid, Nieto says. It makes policing very difficult; if the women dont ask for help, there is a limit to what you can do. Here in Spain, prostitution itself isnt illegal, running a brothel isnt illegal, so you have to prove that what is going on is more than meets the eye.

A
A sex worker takes a break in Colonia Marconi. There is huge demand for prostitution here. Its become so normalised.

That evening, Nieto, the Guardian photographers and I join an undercover police unit conducting inspections of private clubs in Barrio de Salamanca, one of Madrids most high-end neighbourhoods. Although the police have all undertaken anti-trafficking training, their main job tonight seems to be restricted to checking ID and carting any woman found to be working illegally off to the police station.

At our first location there is a short period of confusion as our two unmarked cars drive up and down the street trying to find a parking space. By the time we enter, the music is already off and the club deserted other than four women sitting silently on bar stools clutching their ID cards and a manager conspicuously cleaning glasses behind the bar. None of them is Spanish. The women all appear to be here on student visas, and shake their heads when the police chief asks them if they need help. There is no evidence that these women are victims of trafficking, but it seems ludicrous to expect anyone to disclose anything in this environment.

At other clubs, a few women who dont have the right ID are loaded into a van. In one, three very young Chinese women sit silent and apparently terrified in their underwear on a cracked fake leather banquette, while police check the damp and dirty premises. A lone punter, a sweaty Spanish man in his 20s, is ejected from a bedroom at the back; outside another, a sexy nurse uniform hangs on a hook. The women keep their eyes fixed on the thickset Chinese man behind the bar as he chats easily to the police and shows them his licence. As we leave, the heavy metal door slams shut with a thud, leaving the women inside. One of the officers runs a hand over his face and exhales. Dios mo, he says. My God.

Yet Nieto believes there is hope and says the new strategy of creating formal alliances between police, prosecutors and frontline services is putting more pressure on criminal gangs. In particular, he cites coordination with Apramps Mora: With her help, were making connections with survivors, were following the money and sending people away. Were making the traffickers understand that the Spanish police are something to fear.

Uniforms
Uniforms in a Chinese brothel. In Spain, prostitution isnt illegal.

Nieto has been working with prosecutor Beatriz Snchez for the past decade. Since 2010 the formidable Spanish lawyer has overseen more than 100 trafficking cases; in 2012, she succeeded in sending Ioan Clamparu, the capo of the biggest prostitution trafficking ring in Europe, to prison for 30 years. She is upbeat, funny and warm, but steely in her determination. Weve made huge advances in prosecuting and convicting human traffickers, she says. But many cases get dismissed or dont go to trial. Snchez says only one-tenth of the trafficking cases she takes on make it to court because the burden of proof is high, requiring witness statements and months of police work. Often cases are organised and transnational, involving the movement of huge amounts of money. They are complex crimes that are difficult to dismantle. Under Spanish laws, you need proof of the use of extreme violence and intimidation to prosecute cases of pimping and coercion. All forms of pimping need to be criminally punishable, she says. Only then can we effectively stop human trafficking.

Snchez says her natural optimism can be blunted by the uphill struggle to get cases to trial. It would be hard if I was doing this alone, but the good thing is I have Roco and Jos were a team, she says. So when you are down and feel like things are hopeless, you have a reason to carry on. The others can pick you up and say: Come on! We must keep going! Snchez keeps in touch with all the women she represents. Seeing them rebuild their lives is as satisfying as seeing their abusers go to prison, she says.

***

We visit one of Snchezs former clients, Helena, at the offices of Proyecto Esperanza (Project Hope), the NGO that has supported her through her court case. Her family is from Ecuador but she was living on the outskirts of Madrid, with a Spanish passport, when she was forced into prostitution in her own neighbourhood five years ago, after falling victim to fraudsters who lent her money. They threatened to kill her small children if she didnt work as a prostitute to pay it back. When I was in that situation I didnt see a way out, and the longer I did it, the more I died inside, she says.

It took years, but in the end her traffickers were sent to prison and Helena was awarded landmark compensation of 100,000 by the state, 92,000 of which was estimated to be what her traffickers had earned from the sale of her body. She is yet to see any of this money, and her debts to family and neighbours remain unpaid. I still owe 12,000 to friends and family from that time in my life, and I have no idea how to pay it, she says. But for now she is surviving. Proyecto Esperanza is helping her find a job and providing counselling. She has a home and is rebuilding her relationship with her children. Despite her experiences, she is trying to teach them that the world can be a good place.

Helena praises Snchez for giving her the courage to do this. Beatriz was always so positive and strong at a time when I didnt believe in myself at all, she says softly. Now I am trying to learn to love myself again. And thats what I want to teach my kids that no matter what other people do to you, it is important to love yourself and to look ahead. That in every terrible situation there can be a light at the end of the tunnel a way out of the darkness.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/may/11/prostitution-tackling-spain-sex-traffickers

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Everything Coming & Going On Netflix In May! – Perez Hilton

It’s very nearly May, and that means the end of Game Of Thrones is just around the corner! Yep, Summer is coming! LOLz!

So what will you binge on now?

Luckily Netflix has you covered with quite a lot of original programming this month — lots of the scary variety that is.

There’s the highly anticipated Extremely Wicked Shockingly Evil And Vile, featuring a spine-tingling performance by Zac Efron as serial killer Ted Bundy, as well as the first streaming season of the revived Lucifer.

Some timely film choices as well. You can rewatch Zombieland before this Fall’s sequel or catch Kiernan Shipka in The Blackcoat’s Daughter, the spooky horror film she starred in before becoming Sabrina.

See everything coming and going on the streaming giant next month (below)!

Available May 1

Knock Down The House (Netflix Film)

Munafik 2 (Netflix Film)

Angels & Demons

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Casper

Chasing Liberty

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Part 1 & 2

Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat

Dumb and Dumber

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Gosford Park

Gremlins

Hairspray (1988)

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Her Only Choice

Hoosiers

Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer: Season 2

John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky

Just Friends

Revolutionary Road

Roswell, New Mexico: Season 1

Scarface

Scream

Snowpiercer

Taking Lives

The Da Vinci Code

The Dark Crystal (1982)

The Matrix

The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix Revolutions

To Rome With Love

Wedding Crashers

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Zombieland

May 2

Colony: Season 3

Olympus Has Fallen

May 3

A Pesar De Todo (Netflix Film)

All In My Family (Netflix Original)

Alles ist gut (Netflix Film)

Cupcake & Dino – General Services: Season 2 (Netflix Original)

Dead to Me (Netflix Original)

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (Netflix Film)

Flinch (Netflix Original)

The Last Summer (Netflix Film)

Mr. Mom

Supernatural: Season 14

True and the Rainbow Kingdom: Mushroom Town (Netflix Original)

Tuca & Bertie (Netflix Original)

Undercover (Netflix Original)

May 4

Like Arrows

May 6

Abyss (Netflix Original)

May 7

The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution

Queen of the South: Season 3

May 8

Lucifer: Season 4 (Netflix Original)

May 9

Bathtubs Over Broadway

Insidious

May 10

Dry Martina (Netflix Film)

Easy: Season 3 (Netflix Original)

Gente que viene y bah (Netflix Film)

Harvey Girls Forever!: Season 2 (Netflix Original)

Jailbirds (Netflix Original)

Pose: Season 1

ReMastered: The Lion’s Share (Netflix Original)

Shéhérazade (Netflix Film)

The Society (Netflix Original)

Wine Country (Netflix Film)

May 12

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj: Volume 3 (Netflix Original)

May 13

Malibu Rescue (Netflix Original)

May 14

Revisions (Netflix Anime)

Still ‘Laugh-In’: The Stars Celebrate (Netflix Original)

Weed the People

May 15

Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed!

May 16

Good Sam (Netflix Film)

Take Me Home Tonight

May 17

1994: Limited Series (Netflix Original)

Chip & Potato (Netflix Original)

It’s Bruno (Netflix Original)

Maria (Netflix Film)

Morir para contar (Netflix Film)

Nailed It!: Season 3 (Netflix Original)

See You Yesterday (Netflix Film)

The Rain: Season 2 (Netflix Original)

Well Intended Love (Netflix Original)

White Gold: Season 2 (Netflix Original)

May 18

The Blackcoat’s Daughter

May 20

Rosario Tijeras (Mexico Version): Season 2

Prince of Peoria: Part 2 (Netflix Original)

May 21

Arrow: Season 7

Moonlight

Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (Netflix Original)

May 22

A Tale of Two Kitchens (Netflix Original)

One Night in Spring (Netflix Original)

The Flash: Season 5

May 23

Slasher: Solstice (Netflix Original)

Riverdale: Season 3

May 24

After Maria (Netflix Original)

Alta Mar (Netflix Original)

Joy (Netflix Film)

Rim of the World (Netflix Film)

She’s Gotta Have It: Season 2 (Netflix Original)

The Perfection (Netflix Film)

What/If (Netflix Original)

May 27

Historical Roasts (Netflix Original)

Outlander: Seasons 1-2

May 28

Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

May 30

Chopsticks (Netflix Film)

My Week with Marilyn

The One I Love

May 31

Always Be My Maybe (Netflix Film)

Bad Blood: Season 2 (Netflix Original)

Black Spot: Season 2 (Netflix Original)

How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) (Netflix Original)

Killer Ratings (Netflix Original)

When They See Us (Netflix Original)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3F9n_smGWY

And here’s everything that’s going (below)!

Leaving May 1

8 Mile

Chocolat

Cold Justice: Collection 3

Dances with Wolves

Disney High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Dr. No

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

For Your Eyes Only

From Dusk Till Dawn

From Russia with Love

Godzilla

GoldenEye

Hostel

Jaws

Jaws 2

Jaws 3

Jaws: The Revenge

License to Kill

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Sixteen Candles

Sliding Doors

Somm

Somm: Into the Bottle

The Birdcage

The Dirty Dozen

The English Patient

The Lovely Bones

The Notebook

The Other Boleyn Girl

Tomorrow Never Dies

Watchmen

May 11

Switched at Birth: Seasons 1-5

May 15

Bill Nye, the Science Guy: Collection 1

May 19

Disney’s Bridge to Terabithia

May 22

The Boss Baby

May 24

Southpaw

May 31

I Know What You Did Last Summer

West Side Story (1961)

[Image via A24/Netflix/YouTube.]

Read more: https://perezhilton.com/everything-coming-going-on-netflix-in-may/

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Beauty Vlogger Tati Westbrook Says ‘Bye Sister’ To Ex-Friend James Charles! WATCH! – Perez Hilton

Tati Westbrook has cut ties with James Charles!

Last month, the two began feuding after the 19-year-old YouTube personality shared an endorsement at Coachella for Sleep Vitamins by SugarBearHair, a direct competitor of Tati’s beauty brand, Halo Beauty. Though he later apologized to her on Instagram Story, Westbrook claimed James did not personally reach out to her following the drama.

In a 43-minute video posted on Friday, the 37-year-old beauty starlet officially cut ties with Charles after she felt “blindsided.”

She said in the clip:

“It wasn’t just about vitamins or Halo, it was just about being lied to and feeling disrespected… And you know, James Charles had nine days after Coachella to talk to me. He knows where I live, it’s not far from him. He could’ve come face-to-face and chatted with me because he knew this would hurt me.”

Tati also said the two allegedly had conversations about other people making deals with SugarBearHair, but James told her he was loyal to her and her brand.

After the Coachella post went up, James allegedly texted her saying, “I just did this post, no big!”

For Tati, this is “pretty typical” behavior from Charles.

“I know he has a way of just getting what he wants… I always blamed it on his age, I was like, ‘He’ll grow up, it’s fine.’ I wanted to be someone who could give him solid advice.’”

Vitamin feud aside, Tati also said she ended her friendship with James because she does “not support” the person he has become.

“There’s so much going on with James Charles right now that I do not support. I do not agree with… Fame, power, and a fat bank account will change almost anyone. And if you don’t have people that will tell you to your face that you’re doing the wrong things, you will change. I tried to be that person for you James, I really tried. I don’t think there’s any getting through to you, and I don’t want to be friends with you. I don’t want to be associated with you.”

Following James’ Insta Story apology — which she said she felt pressured to accept — Tati alleged that Charles spoke with “drama” YouTube channels Tea Spill and Here For The Tea, to tell his side of the story as opposed to mending their friendship.

“This is not strategy to me, this is me having someone that I mentored, someone that I cared for, really not care for me and exhibit that.”

She also slammed fellow YouTuber Gabriel Zamora — who made a May 4 video called “Makeup and Opinions” where he sided with Charles and slammed Westbrook for her “fraudulent behavior” — who claimed their relationship was transactional.

“I have not asked him for a penny. I have never been on his Instagram.”

Tati also spoke about James’ alleged romantic pursuit of straight men.

“It’s really disgusting to manipulate someone’s sexuality, especially when they are still emerging into adulthood, and don’t quite have everything figured out… You are using your fame, your power, your money to play with peoples emotions. You’re threatening to ruin them, you’re threatening to embarrass them and you’re doing that to have them behave sexually in your favor, even if they’re straight. And you know what? That’s not okay. That behavior is not okay.”

She added:

“Whether you’re a woman, a man, gay, straight, bi, whatever sexual orientation you are, that is your personal call and it is not for someone else to take… It is not for someone else to play with. It is not for someone else to mess with. And how dare you laugh about it and make meme, after meme, and retweet, and this, and that, and ‘I love straight boys’ and make it a joke. Because this behavior is not normal. It’s not okay. Cracking someone’s sexuality is not an escape room. This is s**t that will follow them for the rest of their lives. You need someone to tell you to stop it. That’s what I did, in your kitchen, in front of Gabriel Zamora.’”

Charles has yet to respond.

WATCH the full clip (below):

[Image via Tati/Youtube/James Charles/Instagram.]

Read more: https://perezhilton.com/tati-westbrook-james-charles-cut-ties/

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