Sexual Assault: Real Women Share How They Escaped Vicious Attacks

woman, rapeLike many women, I take comfort in the fact that violent crime is down in the United States, according to the FBI. But that stat can be misleading when it comes to sexual assault. Despite the overall dip in crime, the CDC cautions that there is still a 1 in 5 chance that a woman will be raped in this country. For college students, that's 1 in 4. However, there is one group of victims for which there are few, if any, stats: women who got away from a would-be rapist.

While they may not have been raped, they still wrestle with feelings of shame, fear, and mistrust. To aid in the healing process and possibly help others, CafeMom readers have chosen to share how they escaped a vicious attack. Each circumstance is different, but there is a common thread among these harrowing stories -- they survived thanks to wit, luck, and at times, brute strength. More importantly, they want women to know that attempted rape is still a serious crime and if it has happened to you, you are not alone.


She kept her cool...

When I was 19, I was living in my own apartment on the third floor of a large building. As I got to my floor, there was a man sitting there right on the steps. He told me he had just gotten out of jail, and he was looking for someone to rape. I stayed calm, ended the conversation as soon as I could, and quickly walked to my apartment. When I got inside, I called my parents, who lived nearby, and told them I was in danger. My father came to get me, and I never spent another minute there alone.

Her Golden Retriever came to her rescue...

When I was 10 years old, I got off the school bus and saw a strange car waiting at the bus stop. I assumed it was one the parents picking up a kid. I lived on a dirt road then and the bus didn't go down it. I was the only one that lived on that side of the road so the other kids went down another street and I walked alone. I noticed that the strange car turned down my street and was following me slowly. I started to run and the man got out of the car and chased me. My house was a half a mile away, so I was trying to make it to the closest house, which was a quarter of a mile down. 

I started screaming for help and he was just about to catch up with me when my Golden Retriever, Annie, came out of nowhere and tore into him. She had heard me screaming from a half a mile away and she climbed our six-foot fence and ran to get to me. I ran to the nearest neighbor while she distracted him. When I got to the neighbor's house, the wife called 911 and my parents, and calmed me down. I started crying because I was worried that he would hurt Annie. The husband picked up his gun and said, "I'm going to go get your dog, sweetie."

When he got to Annie, he found that she was holding the pedophile at bay, refusing to let him chase me, and he was bleeding profusely. She and the neighbor chased him up the street to his car and he drove away, but he got a license plate number. That man was arrested the next morning when he came back from the hospital. He ended up with 30-plus stitches from Annie in both hands and legs, his hip, and his stomach. We found out that he was a recently paroled, registered sex offender who had raped and murdered another ten-year-old girl. It was his third strike, so he's now serving a life sentence without parole. 

She kicked him where it counts...

When I was 16, I was accosted by a male cook at the restaurant I worked at in the walk-in cooler. He blocked my exit and started trying to feel me up. The guy was about twice my size and about 10 years older than me. I screamed and yelled and finally got in the position to knee him in the junk. As he doubled over I got out of the cooler, told my boss what happened, and when it was clear that nothing was going to be done about it, I walked out.  Thinking back on it, I should have called the police or at the very least told my parents, but I was to upset and confused. I took a self-defense course shortly after.

She became armed and just as dangerous...

When I was about 28 my ex-husband broke into my townhouse, snuck up the staircase, peeked into my bedroom and I looked right at him.  He started heading towards me at full speed when my new boyfriend sat up in the bed and yelled at him.  Who knows what would have happened had he not been there with me. And yes I had changed the locks and had a restraining order against my ex- he subsequently turned into a stalker, both on the internet and in "real life".

Finally, I bought a handgun and trained with my uncle and cousin who are both police officers on gun use and safety. My ex was informed I was now armed and dangerous and ceased contact.

Her friends were looking out for her...

I was at a party and made the mistake of drinking more than I should have. I ended up alone in a room with a few of guys who talked me into playing strip poker. Before anything too terrible happened, a few of my guy friends realized I had gone missing at about the same time as these four guys, so they came looking for me. They made up a story about why I had to go with them, and when they got me home, they chewed my ass for about two hours for being dumb enough to get myself in that situation. I did not know it at the time, but those four guys had a particularly nasty reputation for getting girls blackout drunk, and having a one woman gangbang with her.  So that was probably what they had planned with me, too.  Thankfully, I had friends that had no problem spoiling their fun.

She wouldn't let go...

A couple of my boyfriend's friends stopped by on their way down town to a club. They said they just needed to pee or get a drink or something. Almost as soon as they came in, one of them started flirting with me and getting touchy feely. I just pushed past him but he kept pressing the issue. At some point I walked into my room and he came in behind me. The tussle became him on top of me, pinning my arms down with one leg between mine. The other friend didn't look comfortable but sure as heck didn't stop him. Eventually I got my arms free. The jerk was actually trying to kiss me, as if any part of this was romantic or exciting for me. I put my hands around his neck and squeezed, all the while telling him to get off me. As I was choking him, he actually got annoyed with me and that was when the other friend said they should go. I don't remember being massively upset at the time but later on I realized what had really happened - he had attempted to rape me.

She was saved by her cell phone... 

I was with a friend at his apartment waiting for his roommate to get home so we could go out that night. He held me down on his couch. I kept telling him no stop it. He said, "But I thought this is what you wanted."  He just kept trying to tear off my clothes and pulled his pants down. As he was trying to unbutton my pants my cell phone went off. It actually scared him. I answered and pretended to get something out of my purse. I excused myself and walked out the door and ran through the complex. I came up on a couple women and was bawling my eyes out saying to call the police. He was swarmed at his place and they took him down when he tried to resist. In court he told the judge I was a whore. The judge said, "I would shut up if I were you because I have no problem throwing you in jail." Needless to say he never got charged. He was only charged for the pot he was growing in his closet that they found. I had a restraining order. It's been expired and I asked for a lifetime order. They said that would cost $5,000. I've moved a couple times and I make sure where he's living and if he's near.

She found safety in numbers...

When I was 20, a girl friend and I went to a party.  She knew the people and the area, but I didn't.  I was basically the designated driver.  We had a fun night and while she was saying good bye to a few people, I went to sit in the car.  One of the guys from the party, a huge country boy, opened the door and was talking to me.  Next thing I knew he started putting his hands all over me and saying very crude things.   He was so much bigger than me (I am a whopping 5' tall), I was really scared.   Thankfully, my friend and a few of her buddies came over and pulled him off of me.   It was very scary.

She fiercely fought back...

I was hanging out and drinking with my boyfriend and his friends and he went to buy more beer. A guy I did not know came to the party and started talking to me. The next thing I know, three of my boyfriend’s friends and that guy I didn't know were pushing me up against the wall and were tearing my shirt open. I freaked out and started fighting, biting, screaming and kicking. One of the friends told the others to leave me alone because it was f----ed up and my boyfriend would be pissed when he came back. He offered me his shirt because mine were torn off.  I reached to take it and he grabbed at me again. The other three had walked a little bit away, so I took a chance and ran! I ran out the door and kept running until I reached my friend's house that was a few blocks away. I did call the cops, but nothing was done.

She found an unexpected ally...

I had been up to a dance club several times right after I turned 18. We had always gone on a Friday night and it was a lot of fun. One Saturday a few of my more geeky friends were hanging out having some beers and we were a bit bored. I mentioned the club and we decided to go. When we got in the place had a very different vibe than I had experienced the other times I had gone.

I noticed is that every other girl in the club had the same dress on but in varying florescent colors - pink, green, blue. It was a tank top with a short mini skirt and a slit on the right side. We basically stood out like sore thumbs. We commented on it but were having fun so we blew it off. A girlfriend and I decided to go out on the floor and dance. We were dancing together but then a guy started dancing behind me and another behind her. We kind of separated at that point. At first everything seemed fine until another guy came up in front of me. I had had my eyes closed -- I close them when I am dancing because I enjoy just hearing and feeling myself moving to the music. When the second guy got in front, I opened them and realized I was encircled by a mob of men and my friend was nowhere to be seen.

I got a little nervous and started looking for a way out. That's when I felt the guy in front try to unbutton my pants. I pushed his hand away but he was being persistent. I saw a thin spot in the crowd and kind of shoved leaped as hard and fast as I could. Luckily, it took them completely by surprise or I wouldn't have made it out.

I booked it as quickly as I could to my table of friends and asked where the other girl was. They pointed to an area close to where I had been, but they couldn't tell exactly where in the mob she was. When I looked over I got chills. I'm not talking about a handful of people either. It was a good 50-60 men in that mob that had been around me. I looked at my friends and realized they weren't going to be able to help. When I say geeky, I mean guys who played role playing games, read science fiction, and studied the bagpipes. Not the kind of people that would be helpful in a bad situation. I told them if I wasn't out in 5 minutes, to call the police.

I then stayed out of arms reach while walking along the outside of the crowd until I caught a glimpse of my friend. At which point I quickly ran up, reached in, grabbed her by the arm, and yanked her out as hard as I could. I shoved her towards the table as I was grabbed and being pulled back in. I have never been so scared in my life. I was pretty sure I wasn't getting out again and I was about to be gang raped, and most likely killed. Just as I was about to be dragged back in, this group of other guys I had seen standing by the bar got in between me and the mob. Turns out he was the gang leader and gave me mad respect for going back for my friend, so he told them I was with him. We danced for a song and afterwards he told me he was impressed with how big my balls were, then walked me back to the car and told me to be more careful and pay more attention to my surroundings. That was the last time I went back there.


These women may have gotten away, but experts say they all have experienced a severe trauma. "People who escape an attempted rape need counseling just as much as those don't," cautions Anita Smith, forensic social worker and clinical trauma specialist. "They may think they are okay, but there is still a lot of fear and anxiety." Another major problem: "They don't report it because they think people will blame them or say they shouldn't have been where they were," she says. "So in a lot of cases, these perpetrators are still out there, making it even harder for the victim to move on. The bottom line is that many of these women are still scared and need help."

**If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, you can find help and support at the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1 800 656 HOPE (4673) or Safe Horizon Crime Victims Hotline 1 866 689 HELP (4357).

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