The first event happened when I lived in my old house in a village. I used to walk across the park to my friends – and there was a gang of youths used to follow me round and be quite aggressive, at times they try to get cigarettes off you money and just ignored them most of the time. They started getting more aggressive. Use to chase after you and throw things at you, banging on the door late at night, and trying put things through the letter box, banging on the windows and throwing bricks and things like that. That was quite nasty.
And then more recently I walked over the park again, and there was a gang of teenagers, and they came chasing past. It was boys and girls. One girl snatched my spectacles off me and threw them into a wood. And ran off, they all ran off. Luckily one of the boys he must have felt a bit sheepish went and found them for me but it was pretty disturbing. The police were involved on that occasion. I was told they couldn’t guarantee my safety – I shouldn’t walk over the park at night. Even though it’s lit with street lamps. And I said ‘well you know I’ve a right to walk across the park’ and they said ‘well yes you have but we don’t advise you do. Should get a taxi to go round to your friends’. I’m not paying for a taxi just to go and see my friend at night.
So that happened in a public place?
Yes. You associate these sorts of things possibly with large city centres. But this is a rural environment.
Why do you feel they targeted you?
Well on the last occasion probably because I was walking with a stick, because I’ve got a bad leg, they probably thought I was an easy target. And before I don’t know if they knew I’d got mental health issues or something I don’t know. But it was pretty horrible.
Was there anyone else around when it happened to you?
No I live on my own and there’s no-one around at night. My friend’s older than me. But I thought I’ve got a right to walk over the park at night.
The things that’s really got to me is they said not to walk over the park. Not that they’ll do something about it. They said they not got the resources.
How did you feel?
The first instance worse in a way, I live in a big house, falling to bits, felt very, very, isolated and vulnerable. In my new situation, I live sheltered accommodation and I feel more secure than the other place but even so – I don’t want to be stuck in the house I want to go out.
Why have you agreed to share these experiences?
To show that these instances aren’t just confined to city centres in the rural environment which can be just as bad. come to your assistance, no-one knocking about.