I am sure that most people who hear about a stabbing terror attack breathe a sigh of relief, thinking it’s not such a big deal. A knife is better (less bad) than a gun or a bomb right? And if the victim was “lightly injured” that means its effect will swiftly disappear. Right?
Kay Wilson is a British-born Israeli tour guide, jazz musician and cartoonist. She is the survivor of a brutal terror attack. Since the attack she is a public speaker for StandWithUs and OneFamily Together. She has described her attack in a TedX talk. Her survival and her ability to express what happened to her are both reflections of great fortitude of spirit. I don’t know Kay personally but I am certain she would tell you that it is only her ability to befriend Arabs and continue to strive for peace that reflects the strength of her spirit. I can say that being able to keep your head when you are undergoing something so extreme is extraordinary. I can also say that for most people who have undergone extremely traumatic events it is both healing and at the same time terribly painful to articulate what happened to them because recalling the memory and bringing it out to the light of day is, on some level, reliving it. Expressing it releases some of the horror but also makes it happen again. In some cases the sense memory is relived – not just reliving the emotions but also reliving the physical pain.
There is no other way to say it. Kay is a very brave woman.
It is extremely rare for me to post someone else’s writing so please pay attention to the piece below. It is not easy to read however I ask that you read it till the end and really think about this. What would it be like if it was me instead of her? How would I feel? What would I do? What would I expect my government to do?
When you hear news that there was a stabbing terror attack think of Kay’s words.
What Is It Like To Be Stabbed 13 Times?
By Kay Wilson October 8th, 2015
Imagine what it is like…. to be stabbed. Most of you probably can’t.
Firstly, the word “stabbed” does not do the experience justice. In Hebrew it is even worse, because “stabbed” is the same word לדקור that one uses when being “pricked” by a needle.
Let’s start with what it feels like. In my case, it felt like a hot poker being bored into my flesh and each time he tugged out the serrated knife, I had the sensation that my bare skin was being raked over with razors. Maybe it would be easier for you to understand if I said it was a pain that felt like my finger nails were being ripped off, over and over again.
Then there is the adrenalin. This makes a body tremble, yet conversely it makes it heavy. It’s rather like the moment when we only just escape being in a car wreck, or the sensation you feel when you are looking down from the edge of a cliff. It’s like that. Your stomach turns and your blood drains from your head. It feels like this is happening, over and over again.
When the “stabbing” is over, there is the cold. The bone gelid, biting cold – due to shock. I remember even the warm December sun felt like ice on my flesh. Every “stabbing” survivor will have felt the cold of death.
Then there is the beating. He was hitting, smashing, pummeling, thumping me so hard. He broke over 30 bones. Many “stabbing” survivors have broken bones because of the force with which the attacker plunges the knife into their prey.
Then there are the visuals. In my case, I watched for half an hour two sadistic men, (who were once little boys) waving their machetes in the air, teasing us by putting it across their own throats. I remember the sun glinting off the knife, sparkling, flashing in the forest. I remember his dark eyes, dead eyes, indifferent with the sheer boredom of the up-and-coming execution of two innocent, defenseless women. Most of the recent victims did not face their attackers for half and hour, but even a second is enough – seeing that madness on their face, seeing that knife coming towards them – it’s enough; believe me, it’s enough. And watching someone being murdered, is a “sacred” experience, in the sense that you are seeing something that we were not born to see. This is the hardest emotion to even begin to describe. It will take me the rest of my life to articulate what it does to a person.
Then there is the taste. A dry mouth: an instant reaction that comes with shock. In my case when he knocked me to the ground, I landed on my face so there was blood in my mouth. There was also bile – one often throws up under extreme fear. I can guarantee that the “stabbing” survivors all had a dry mouth and some may have tasted bile.
Then there are the sounds: I heard my bones crunch. I heard my flesh rip. I heard him grunt and pant as he tried to beat me to death and hack me up with his meat cleaver. I heard them scream Allah HuAkbar, I heard myself say “Shema Israel,” and I heard my Christian friend whimper “Jesus help me.” It is terrible to be so helpless and hear someone you love, pray, scream and beg for their lives. It is a terrible thing to hear yourself do the same. Many of the latest “stabbing” survivors have also had the horror of helplessly watching those that they love be murdered in front of their eyes. Many have experienced the loss of self-dignity that comes with begging for your life.
There is more to being “stabbed” than meets the eye. I am sharing what it is like, not to invoke sympathy for myself, but rather arouse compassion and a desire to help the growing, daily number of Jewish people who are experiencing to some degree what I did. These are people whose lives will never be the same again, no matter how lightly, moderately or seriously wounded they are.
This is terrorism.
And this, for the survivor, is only the beginning…..