Laura Wiens ’05 was attacked in South Africa.

So I’m going to be a witness to my own attempted murder.

This past Saturday I was at the South African Museum, and was badly stabbed in the back of the head and neck while looking at an exhibit.

Presumably the assailant was going to rob me, but he was probably scared off by my screams and ran instead. (He was caught by the police outside, and I’m set to testify.)

Now it’s true that I am a foreigner, but I was not looking particularly conspicuous, carrying only a thin backpack and no jewellery.

And it was at four in the afternoon – a time which should be very safe to be meandering in a public museum on a Saturday – but the museum staff seemed shocked to learn that I was there alone. (“Shame, girl, you’re here by yourself? That’s very, very dangerous.”)

So perhaps I was a bit too brazen to presume that there are safe spaces for someone alone in South Africa, but I will say that I have never been to another museum that doesn’t check bags at the door or have visible security patrolling the rooms. Saves costs, I suppose.

This, then, will be a warning to foolish solitary people like me – may no one else’s blood join the history that’s written on the museum walls.

Thanks to a reader for the link.

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