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As a brother of two sisters and a boyfriend to a petite woman, reading the story about a Seattle woman named Kelly Herron absolutely gave me chills — especially since I used to live in the city and am familiar with the spot a terrifying incident recently occurred.
Herron, who was running through a local park called Golden Gardens last weekend, was sexually attacked by a stranger while in the women's bathroom, only saving herself thanks to some swift judgement and badass skills she learned from a self-defense class she recently completed.
Talking to ABC News, hearing Kelly recount the incident is absolutely terrifying.
"As I was drying my hands, I became aware that something was wrong," she said. When she turned around, she said, she saw a man standing in the bathroom. At that point, according to police, Gary Steiner — a 40-year-old registered sex offender in Arizona — assaulted her.
"He immediately took me down to the ground, hit both my knees and legs, and then it was a fight on the bathroom floor, and I just kept screaming, 'Not today, motherf*cker,'" she said. She repeatedly screamed the phrase at him throughout the attack, and she said it became her "battle cry."
The story almost sounds like a scene from a movie, with the 36-year-old woman trying to escape into a stall to fend off her attacker, until he was able to find a way in, where the struggle continued.
"I got into that stall, flipped on my back, and I tried to kick the door lock shut with my foot," Herron said. But she missed the lock and jammed the door. Steiner entered the stall from the side and, she said, "started beating me in the face with his hand."
Luckily, Kelly Herron had a, potential, life-saving moment, as she thought to herself, "this doesn't have to be a fair fight," and began scratching his face with her nails.
"All those little things that I learned in my life ... how to punch and everything came back to me," she said. "I started to feel like I was going to lose consciousness ... but I got another surge of adrenaline, and I reached for the door and was able to get out."
Eventually, a passerby from outside the bathroom heard the fight and, thanks to a carabiner, was able to detain the attacker until cops came.
Saying she learned to go for "hard bones and soft fleshy places, so I just started hitting the side of his head" during her self-defense class, Kelly Herron was able to walk away from the incident with a lot of bruises and, presumably, internal scars.
The attacker, who has previous assault records, is being held on $750,000 bail and faces charges of attempted rape in the second degree and second degree assault.
This is a badass story, so kudos to Kelly for fighting her way towards protecting herself. She deserves a round of applause from us all.
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