A few years ago, a video went viral showing a woman walking around New York City. The woman was being covertly filmed by a person in front of her (with her knowledge) as she walked around. She was not wearing clothing that could be considered particularly sexy or revealing and her face was expressionless. The video wanted to show the sheer volume of catcalls and unsolicited male attention the average woman gets every day in this society. Dozens of men accosted her. Some simply said hello, some tried to flirt, some were vulgar, and one even followed her for blocks without saying a word. For many men, it was an eye opener; they had no idea that this was a reality of everyday life for many women. Others were critical of the video, dismayed and confused as to why men cheerfully saying, “Hello”, should be lumped in with the vulgar and creepy ones.
Others countered that this was indeed the point. The average woman walking down the street doesn’t know if the man saying, “Hello” or blurting out a cheesy pickup line is a good guy or if he is one of the creepers; or worse still, if he means her harm. Very few men go through their day fearing sexual violence. The stats of violence against women speak for themselves, but even these are not enough to sway some people’s opinions. But, for better or for worse, our world is becoming ever more digital and is increasingly being recorded, so now we have more and more footage of such incidents. This list is full of such footage. Some of the incidents are motivated by sexual violence, some are just general madness and anger, and some are cases of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But many of these are disturbing, so be forewarned.
15. Andreea Cristea Jumps off Bridge During Westminster Attack
Our first item is not that of an attack specifically on a woman, but rather a woman’s incredible escape from an attack. On March 22, 2017, Khalid Masood killed four people and injured another 50 near Westminster, in London, with his 4X4 and his knife. As he ploughed into a crowd of people on Westminster Bridge, one woman, 29-year old Romanian Andreea Cristea, jumped off the bridge and into the Thames to avoid being run over. She was in London to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday; he was also injured in the attack. Many of the victims were foreign nationals. Later, when she was pulled from the river, she was seriously injured, having sustained damage to her lungs and head. Masood, a British citizen, had become a radicalized Islamist at some point in his life. The terrorist organization Daesh (aka: ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State) has taken credit for Masood’s violent actions. Masood was also killed in the incident by police.
14. Woman Jumps Into Oncoming Traffic to Escape Assault
This is another case of a woman jumping into danger to avoid a more certain danger. Only this time, instead of a river, it is oncoming traffic. An unidentified 25-year old woman in Manchester, U.K., can be seen on CCTV footage being followed by an unidentified man. The man is following her at socially unacceptable close distance. He then reaches out to grab her bottom, at which point she leaps –possibly out of shock, possibly intentionally– away and into oncoming traffic. The woman, thankfully, escaped physical injury. Police were still searching for the man at the time this article published. It is unclear what the man’s intentions were. The best case scenario is that he grossly misperceived how, what he may have thoughtlessly intended as a cheeky or playful grab, would be perceived. Worst case scenario, he is a violent sexual predator. The woman had no idea which he might be.
13. Woman Fights Off Attacker
In this video, released three years after the incident in question, shows a woman being assaulted by a man in the garage of a University of Sydney building in Australia. In the video, you see the man walk up from behind the woman and then attack her, shoving her off camera. A moment later, he can be seen running out the garage and the woman running the other way. The woman, evidently, had successfully fought him off. She either has incredibly strong strikes or this man didn’t have the stomach for a fight; either way, good for her. The University of Sydney initially blocked the video’s release, leading some to accuse them of trying to cover up a problem of sexual assault on its campus. Police eventually released video in the hopes of catching the assailant, who to this day, remains at large.
12. Footage of a Woman Being Stalked
This movie is creepy in a way that classic horror movies are: you can see the creepiness and you know something bad is about to happen, but you don’t see it, as it occurs off-camera. But this is no movie; this is actual CCTV footage of a woman in Manchester, England, being stalked by a man. The video goes on for minutes and the man is clearly following the woman. She must have been aware of this and been very afraid, and rightfully so; he would go on to attack her and attempt to kidnap her at knife-point. Thankfully, he failed in his nefarious attempt and the woman escaped and called police. The man was still at large at the time of the video’s release.
11. Polar Bear Attack
It’s not just strange and sinister men women have to fear; there are also polar bears! OK, for most women –and people in general– in the world, polar bears do not pose an immediate threat. And thank goodness for that. However, one such place where polar bears can pose a threat is northern Russia, from where this video emanates. The bear attacks a woman who is lying on the ground, claws at her, and bites her pants. The bear is eventually scared off when somebody off camera throws something at it. The woman gets up and walks away with her pants around her ankles. Russians are a different breed. This bear may have had a disease like rabies to make it more aggressive, or perhaps had wandered into the town looking for food, as polar bears are under increasing stress to find food due to loss of their natural habitat from climate change. Whatever the reason, the Daily Mail article states the woman was admitted to hospital with only minor injuries and that the bear was sadly (though perhaps necessarily) killed. The article also speculates that the woman may have been inebriated.
10. Attack of the Teenage Girls
This item is unique on our list as the woman in question is not being attacked by a man, or even a wild animal, but rather other women. Teenage girls, to be specific. The incident occurred in Liverpool, in the U.K. There is very little information available about the attack in this article from the Liverpool Echo. We don’t know who the victim is, her age, or what injuries she sustained (though nothing in the footage suggests critical physical damage, though it is clearly a traumatic event). We also don’t know who these teen girls are or why they have manically attacked this woman. All we know is a bunch of teenagers attacked a woman and got caught when they shared the videos on Snapchat. Kids these days.
9. Woman Escapes East Berlin
This item offers us a little history on this list. After World War II, Germany was divided up into different sections by the allied powers. What was controlled by the U.S.A., U.K., and France became democratic West Germany while what was controlled by the U.S.S.R. became communist East Germany. Berlin, too, was divided thusly, only it was entirely surrounded by East Germany, so West Berlin had to have goods and resources flown in by the Allies. Nevertheless, many East Berliners tried to escape oppression by crossing into West Berlin, which led to East Germany building the notorious Berlin Wall.
8. Couple Escape Crocodile
It’s not just arctic animals who sometimes attack women, but tropical ones, too. The Mirror provides this CCTV footage from what they believe is a hotel in Kariba, Zimbabwe. A couple are enjoying a soothing, perhaps romantic late-night dip in the pool. But in comes this crocodile and makes things awkward by being a horrible third wheel. The man jumps out the pool right away and the croc goes after the woman (women really do seem to get the short end of just about every stick). The woman and the croc thrash about in the water before she manages to narrowly escape with her life. She doesn’t appear to have suffered a major injury, which is more than I can say for that hotel’s guest review rating.
7. Young Girl Fights Off Would-be Abductor in Walmart
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more awful than men victimizing women, now we have footage of a young child being attacked. The word “disgusting” doesn’t do it justice. Thankfully, in this incident, our cowardly monster of a man was no match for this tenacious little girl. The incident occurred in a Walmart when a mother reportedly turned away from her daughter for just a moment. Long enough for this cretin to swoop in and attempt to steal away with this young girl. The girl was smart enough to yell, resist, and make enough of a fuss that the perpetrator thought twice and ran off, leaving the girl unharmed, at least physically. We would like to teach our children that the world is full of good people who are likelier to help one another than hurt them. And that’s true. But then you see footage like this and now we have to live our lives thinking the worst of strangers.
6. Indian Woman Escapes Abductor
This CCTV footage was recorded last year in Bengaluru, India. In it, we see a 22-year old woman abducted by a man. The man casually, yet purposefully, walks right up to her. As he gets close, you can tell she is uncomfortable, as she turns to walk away. He simply picks her up by the waist and walks off with her. The woman says in the interview that she bit him on his hand, which angered him, and he struck her on the face so hard that she lost consciousness. He proceeded to molest her and the whole assault lasted about five minutes. The woman said she screamed relentlessly, but nobody came to her aid. This is perhaps the most disturbing part of the video. We see at least four people: two on motorbikes and two pedestrians, who surely either saw or heard the assault, and did nothing. As the old saying goes (possibly originally from Irish philosopher Edmund Burke), “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
5. English Woman Unwittingly Escapes R*pist
This is another example of some intensely creepy and nerve-racking footage. Thankfully, though, the woman in question escaped the incident unharmed. This CCTV footage is from Leeds, in Yorkshire in England. In it, you see a man walking behind a woman, stalking her. The woman is completely unaware of his presence. It’s like a scary movie. But sadly, this was all too real. She walks into a bar, thus unwittingly thwarting his sinister intentions. Lest you think this was merely a man innocently walking the same route as a woman, this same man would go on to r*pe and brutally beat another young woman, aged 18 years. At the time of this story’s publication, in April 2015, he was still at large.
4. Woman Escapes From Kidnapper’s Trunk
Here is some more CCTV footage that is positively cinematic, though again, I must reiterate, it is 100% real and this is a real woman who has narrowly escaped with her life. The incident took place in America, in Alabama. The 25-year old woman was reportedly mugged at knife point by man, but she didn’t have any money, so he forced her into his trunk. He then drove to a convenience store to use an ATM. After he returned to the car to drive away, the woman somehow managed to open the trunk and jumped out of the moving vehicle. She then ran into the convenience store for help. Amazingly, she only suffered minor injuries. At the time of the story’s publication last month, the man had not been caught, but he can clearly be seen in the footage.
3. Machete Attack in a Temple
For many people, a religious edifice is a place of spiritual serenity and sanctuary. So imagine being in your place of worship when all of a sudden a frantic man comes lunging at you, wildly wielding a machete. That’s exactly what happened to 50-year old Kunari Venkatswamy, when she was at a temple in southern India. A 25-year old man, Santosh Venkatesh, can be seen in the footage running at her from out of nowhere, with no provocation whatsoever, and maniacally slashing at her with a machete. Either Venkatesh didn’t have the stomach to actually kill Venkatswamy, or else he’s just terrible with a machete, or perhaps he had suffered some type of psychotic moment, because Venkatswamy escaped with only minor gashes and wounds on her left arm (I say “only” in comparison to what could have happened). Venkatesh was promptly arrested. Apparently, he blamed Venkatswamy for the heart attack that killed his father three years prior.
2. Woman Escapes Bataclan by Danging Out a Window
We began with a terrorist attack, and so too shall we end. Our last two videos come from the terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris in November of 2015. Islamist terrorists (purportedly inspired by Daesh) attacked several spots in Paris including the Bataclan, a popular venue that was host to a concert by the Eagles of Death Metal that night. A journalist, Daniel Psenny, captures the madness, chaos, and fear on his camera phone. In the footage, we see a woman dangling from what appears to be the third floor window. People below her on the street run for their lives, or otherwise lie on the ground, injured (or worse). The unidentified woman hangs there for what seems like an interminable length of time. Just when you think she cannot possibly hang on any longer and she is bound to drop, another survivor inside the Bataclan comes to the window to pull her inside. In terrorist attacks, we see the worst of humanity, but we also often see the best of it.
1. There, But For A Jammed Assault Rifle…
This is perhaps the most chilling story on this list. Just to think what was going through the minds of these people, one woman in particular, is depressing and frightening. This CCTV footage is from a café, apparently a pizzeria, in Paris on the night of the attacks. We see explosions and a hail of gunfire destroy the restaurant and injure several people. But what stands out most of all is when the terrorist approaches the café. He stops just outside the door, where an unidentified woman is hiding under a table. He holds his assault rifle up and points it downwards, prepared to fire a bullet through her skull and murder her. Thankfully, the rifle malfunctions and does not fire. The terrorist, possibly the Belgian Salah Abdelsalam, simply walks away, annoyed. The woman then runs away. I suppose you might call it an amazing stroke of luck, though were she really lucky, none of this would have happened at all. Imagine knowing you will be murdered in a second, only to have your life saved by a jammed rifle.