Graphic image warning

Reporter Georgina Campbell speaks about vulnerability and an underbelly of violence after being swept up in a stranger's fist fight.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, police received reports of a brawl in central Christchurch, a 25-year-old woman had been injured in the crossfire.

I was that woman.

Advertisement

And I really hope the men involved saw my face gushing with blood and that that served as a wake up call to never use their fists again.

Because I'm disgusted by their violence, how they risked the lives of innocent members of the public and how they have made me feel unsafe.

It's hardly the first time something like this has happened either. Only three weeks ago a person was critically injured after an early morning brawl on the corner of Hereford St and Oxford Terrace in Christchurch.

It's pure luck that things didn't turn out quite as bad for me.

After a night out on Saturday, my friend and I were sitting at a table outside Sal's in The Terrace precinct eating a slice of pizza. I was admiring the rejuvenation of Christchurch's nightlife having not been in the city for a couple of years.

Two men started scrapping nearby, but it was brought under control swiftly and it didn't bother me too much.

But whatever they were arguing over, pizza or otherwise, the dispute had in fact not been put to bed. Instead it escalated, and there was a whole group of men going at it.

It took 10 stitches to sew up the gash. Photo / Supplied
It took 10 stitches to sew up the gash. Photo / Supplied

That's all I can remember before their heaving mass of bodies slammed into me. I wasn't knocked out but my head was spinning and I was struggling to register what happened.

My face felt wet, I reached up to touch it. I was greeted with blood but I couldn't see the damage.

Advertisement

You never know which way your instincts are going to go in these situations. I froze but my friend swung into action.

She had been pushed to the ground and mangled up with the furniture herself.

She asked a bystander to stay with me while she ran inside to get tissues for my face. His shirt joined the many items of clothes that would be sprayed with my blood by the end of the night.

My friend waved down taxis but they wouldn't take me to the ED because I was bleeding so much. Eventually a bouncer persuaded one it was the right thing to do.

I spent the night in hospital until a doctor from the plastics team sewed me up with 10 stitches on Sunday morning.

He told me the gash was almost to the bone and whatever hit me, a fist, an elbow or a piece of furniture, narrowly avoided the nerve that holds up the area above my eye.

It wasn't until I got back to my friend's house tucked up in bed with a hot water bottle that we felt the shock hit us.

I couldn't believe how lucky I was, if the injury had been a few centimetres in the other direction, it would have taken out my eye. If I had been knocked out, I could have fallen backwards and hit my head on the concrete.

I was shaken by being caught up in that sort of violence.

On the flight home to Wellington on Monday morning the passenger in front of me reclined his seat and I jumped out of my skin. My reaction frightened me.

But as the shock wore off I felt furious, disappointed and pissed off.

I should be able to feel safe on a night out with my friends, I shouldn't have to worry about getting caught in the crossfire of a brawl.

Some people I've told about the incident have asked me whether I'd been drinking.

That is not a reasonable question, that's edging towards victim blaming.

The question people should be asking is where is this underbelly of male bravado coupled with brutality coming from and how do we stop it?

Our society should not accept it, we must take a stand against it, because it's just not good enough that people are vulnerable on what should be safe streets.

Police are investigating.