It was 1978 and I was in my third year of University and working almost full time at night in a pseudo nightclub. I use the word pseudo because we didn’t have a liqour license although that didn’t stop our creative owner from rule bending.
It was a large, fairly uninspiring room which may or may not have been a warehouse at some stage with a kitchen close to the front where I served snacks and dispensed drinks. We had a cover charge and the bands got paid a percentage of the door takings.
Sally’s was in Buranda, a then dreary Brisbane suburb which just happened to be very close to the headquarters of Odin’s Warrriors, a bikie gang who thought a BYO nightclub just down the road was exactly what they had been looking for.
The owner tried to keep them out but there’s no point trying to tell a bikie what they can or can’t do if their mind is made up so Ivan decided to let them stay and besides we had no security back then.
They were always trouble one way or another as they were forever ready to punch or kick someone’s head in without even being provoked, ripping bathroom sinks off the wall or generally being as disruptive as possible. Always being pretty street smart, I endeared myself to them for safety sake in the only way they respected, by being tough and standing up to them.
And they liked that and they liked me and felt protective towards me, unlike the misogynistic way they treated their own women. It was appalling to watch, but this job suited me and I wanted to keep it and my head.
Now bikie gangs have many rules and one of them is that rookies, first year members, are basically on probation and during that time, they aren’t allowed to offer opinions or speak up. Their job is to obey and tow the gang line. Another rule is that you couldn’t take your belt off.
Now these guys were big drinkers, a bottle of spirits each a night was the norm and with no anger management techniques in sight these blokes were like walking powder kegs as one rookie was about to find out. It was late in the night and most of the patrons had left and for whatever reason, he not only expressed his opinion he then took his belt off and threw it on the table.
They then dragged him outside and bashed him and it all happened very quickly. They then rode off and left him bleeding on the footpath. By this time everyone had scattered and there was only myself (once again Ivan had left early and I was in charge) and the beaten up bikie to tell the story. I told him I was calling an ambulance but he begged me not to so I brought him inside, cleaned up the blood while he told me the ridiculous belt story. I went about cleaning up and getting ready to shut up when a group of the dreaded warriors arrived back and stormed in.
By now it was around 2 or 3 am in the morning and here I was with 6 or so hostile bikies who told me they’d come for him and that he was to go back to headquarters with them.
“They’ll kill me,” he said as they stood over him and surrounded him. I felt like I was in a B Grade movie. But unfortunately it was real and I was really scared.
All this happened very quickly once again and I could see they meant business but I wasn’t having it and had no intentions of getting drawn into an assault or possibly even a murder case and besides this was on my watch. The poor rookie was in my workplace and I wasn’t going to let anything happen to him while he was in my care. Or that’s how I saw it in my tired and terrified brain.
They tried to grab him and I yelled, ‘Stop. That’s not going to happen. Everyone, sit down and let’s talk this out.’
I honestly don’t know what came over me. I didn’t even know that I had the capacity to yell at and dictate to bikies with murder on their mind. And they were as surprised as me because they sat down. Shit, I thought, what now?
So I told them in the most assertive voice I could muster at 3 am, exhausted after a day at University and then 8 hours on my feet in this gin joint, that only over my dead body would they be dragging him out of here.
What the hell did I say that for I couldn’t help thinking. Was I mad? Did I have a death wish?
They could kill me, they could bash or rape me. It was terrifying but I stood my ground and I think this is what happened. Never before, had these guys encountered anyone who stood up to them and in particular a woman as diminutive as me. And it shocked them. They were bullies of the highest order and I had told them off like only their mother might get away with. They were used to getting their own way through threats, intimidation and violence and by hunting in packs.
That night taught me something very important about bullies and about aggressors in general. Inside they are scared little boys (or girls). I hid my terror very well and to them I wasn’t scared of them at all and they couldn’t understand it and because of that, they slunk away and left the rookie to nurse his wounds and me to be grateful that I’d survived another night at Sally’s.
Over the years as I’ve investigated and researched bullying and aggressive behaviour I’ve learned exactly how I managed to pull the bikie incident off, what internal position kicked in to enable me to have the courage to do that. It was an energetic shift that can be taught. I didn’t know it at the time but I had channelled my Divine Masculine, something I’ve perfected over the years.
Now that I see how much bullying is on the rise, and how the solutions on offer are so ineffective, I want to be part of the solution.
Check out my program BullyProof. So far, it’s a one on one offering while I work out a longer term strategy. This is not designed for children but for adults who are being bullied and parents of children who are the targets of such behaviour. So if that’s you or you know someone who this might help, either connect with me or pass this on.