Gabrielle Walsh, 18, was approached by her attacker and two men in central Manchester when she was out with a friend on Saturday night. She expressed her disinterest when they approached her and kept trying to walk away from them, but they kept following them and trying to talk to them.
Trigger warning: Images of gendered physical violence
In recent news of how men can't take being told no, a teenage girl was knocked out after she said no to a man on a night out with a friend of hers. Gabrielle Walsh, 18, was approached by her attacker and two men in central Manchester when she was out with a friend on Saturday night. She expressed her disinterest when they approached her and kept trying to walk away, but they kept following her and her friend to try and chat, said Gabrielle, according to Daily Mail. So, in an attempt to get the men to leave them alone, Walsh told them, "I'm sorry, I'm not interested."
But, her comments weren't taken that well by the men and led to one of them engaging in unprovoked, violent behavior. "They kept harassing us. I was saying to [my friend] Kyle: "Let's go". Then he hit me - he fully knocked me out," said Gabrielle. "When I woke up I was on the floor and the three of them had jumped on Kyle as well." The two girls received help from volunteers at Village Angels community safety group, who provided them with basic first aid.
"They tried to get me an ambulance but they said it was a two-hour wait so I just got a taxi to the hospital. They didn't do much, they basically just gave me some eye drops and told me to go home. I went back to the eye hospital today and they said I've got a blood clot on my eye. I still can't really see out of it, when I open my eye all I see is yellow," Gabrielle said. A friend of hers took to social media to share pictures of the injury and an account of what happened.
It has been shared hundreds of times since. "I'm not a rude person, I just said: "Sorry I'm not interested"," said Gabrielle, who added that she's now quite scared of going out alone because of the attack that happened to her. "I think it was a jealousy, ego thing because I rejected him in front of his friends," she added. "Girls feel like they can't say 'no'. They feel like if they say no then they might hurt you and in this case, it was true."
"It's scared me, I'm scared to go out, I've always got to be with somebody," she added. There's not much out there about the attacker, except that he's white, around 5ft 8in tall, and was wearing a pink t-shirt. Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester City Council's city center spokesperson, condemned the attack and said he would seek help from officials to identify the attacker through CCTV footage.
"I am horrified to hear about this horrific attack. We will check our CCTV system to see if we can identify the attacker," said he. The post on social media read: Last night my best friend was attacked by a man who was in a group with 2 other men. Around about 3:30 just off bloom street in gay village by a group of 3 men one being the attacker. He was around 5’8/9 With black hair and tanned skin. He punched her once to the face unexpectedly and she instantly fell over and went unconscious.
After she had woken up she had seen her other friend had also been attacked and that she was bleeding heavily from her eye. This attack was completely unprovoked as she simply told the guy she wasn’t interested in him and as a result, he did this. My friend is now currently in the eye hospital waiting to get stitches in her eye as he’s opened the muscle on her eye. Please, can everyone share this and if anyone was there or knows any more information on the appearance of the guy it would be a massive help as she deserves justice.
When women talk about sexual assault and are told to "just say no", there is never a nuanced understanding of why women are often terrified to do so. The harsh reality is that any woman in a situation where she wants to be left alone by a man has to make a calculated decision to say 'no' to him because sometimes the consequences of saying no are horrifying. So the next time you see a story about sexual assault or harassment (you know you will) before you judge the woman for not explicitly saying no, remember that sometimes saying no can be a matter of life-or-death.