I arrived on station this morning to hear the news on the television that there had been fifty stabbings over the Bank holiday weekend*.
“Hmm”, I thought, “A few more than normal, but hardly news”.
Then I realised that they were talking about the whole country and not just London.
So now I was surprised at how just how low** the number of stabbings was
I don't know if it's just East London having a higher number of stabbings than the rest of London, thereby causing me to overestimate the number of stabbings we have but I wouldn't be surprised if there were nearly fifty stabbings every weekend in London alone.
I went to a stabbing yesterday – while we'd normally wait for the police to arrive to escort us into the house, the way that the job was sent down to us over the computer terminal let me think that I could safely approach.
The doorbell was answered by a young man with an obvious wound to the upper arm.
Getting him onto the ambulance I learned that he had 'come clean' to his long-term girlfriend about cheating on her two years ago. During the course of the argument she had then stabbed him in the arm with a kitchen knife.
Thankfully the wound, while deep, wasn't especially serious – for the ambulance side of things it is a simple job to dress the wound and take the patient to hospital. The doctors at the hospital would have to be more cautious, as the nature of the wound meant that the bone, or the layer of tissue covering the bone may have been damaged, in which case infection is a bigger worry than normal.
The police arrived and got the whole story – the first words out of my patient's mouth were, “I don't want her charged”. So the case will be referred to the domestic violence team but it probably won't go any further.
On the way to hospital I let the patient know how lucky he was – I've been involved in a couple of jobs where a domestic argument has turned into murder when the man has been stabbed by his girlfriend/wife. One was on Christmas eve.
My advice to everyone is that you shouldn't have an argument in the kitchen…
At the hospital the patient's girlfriend arrived with tears in her eyes. As soon as the nurse had finished assessing the wound the couple pulled the curtain across the trolley bay and hugged each other for a long time.
It's strange, but I know that I'd feel different about the situation if it had been the woman who had been stabbed. If he had stabbed her, then I would be thinking of how the woman was a victim – with a male being stabbed I'm more thinking about how daft he was in causing the argument in the first place.
With a male being stabbed by a woman, it is kind of expected that he will just 'get over it', while if a woman was stabbed by a man I would start imagining that this would be a possible start of a longer term abuse.
I'm vaguely comforted by the thought that if this was more a case of prolonged abuse I'm be just as sympathetic for the victim whatever their sex.
It's strange to examine your thoughts and see such a hidden prejudice – I guess that somewhere, while being brought up to act as a 'gentleman', I was programmed to see women as needing protection.
And to think I always considered myself a feminist.
*Due I think because of a number of high profile knife murders and the current police knife amnesty
**Obviously it would be really good if there were no stabbings at all…