Seattle Woman Uses Tactics She Learned from Self-Defense Class to Escape Brutal Sexual Assault
Kelly Herron was jogging in Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park for a day of marathon training on Sunday.
Four miles into her 10-miles run, the 36-year-old stopped to use a public restroom. “As I was drying my hands, I became aware that something was wrong,” Herron recalled to ABC News. When she turned around, she said she saw a man standing in the bathroom.
According to police documents, Gary Steiner — a 40-year-old registered level 3 sex offender in Arizona — allegedly 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 m—–f—–,’ ” Herron alleged.
Herron described how she was able to briefly get free by going into a bathroom stall, even jamming the door. However, Steiner allegedly came into the stall from the side and “started beating me in the face with his hand.”
During the altercation, Herron thought “this doesn’t have to be a fair fight” and defended herself by using self-defense tactics that she had learned in a two-hour class just three weeks earlier.
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“I was screaming at him, ‘Not today, m—–f—–.’ Being loud and not afraid. I mean, you are afraid but letting him know: You are not taking me down today, you are not going to win this fight,” Herron told local ABC affiliate KIRO of clawing her accused attacker’s face and escaping the bathroom.
According to court documents obtained by a KOMO, Steiner was locked inside the stall after someone put a carabiner on the door.
On Wednesday, prosecutors charged him with second-degree attempted rape after he allegedly told Seattle police that he went to the bathroom with the intention of raping a woman.
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Following the incident, Herron returned to Golden Gardens Park on Wednesday for the first time since she was attacked in the restroom.
“That was the only thing that was motivating me … I cannot be raped by this guy in this place,” she said to KIRO. “We don’t have to go down. We don’t have to be quiet about it.”