I live in a small town in North Texas. Our town is often listed on the “Safest Towns in Texas”. It’s quaint, quiet and honestly it can be a little boring. I love to go for jogs in the early morning hours. I plug in my earbuds and I’m off. I leave my house before dawn to attend my Camp Gladiator work outs (like an outdoor bootcamp). My 17 year old daughter rolls in from work sometime around 10:00 pm. I’ve never once been worried about our safety. The only time I’ve been scared going to my car was because I watched a particularly intense Walking Dead episode.
My fairy tale land came crashing in around me 3 weeks ago. It was Super Bowl Sunday. We had all the kids in the house watching the game, eating pizza and playing board games. We’re a loud bunch when we get competitive. As I headed out to bring a bag of trash outside, my husband joined me. We were chatting about this and that standing on our front porch. Suddenly we heard a woman’s voice yelling. At first we figured it was kids playing and chasing each other. Then it got more desperate and louder. We started running in the direction of the screams. It was dark and we couldn’t see anyone. My husband called out “Are you okay? Do we need to call the police?” Then a man took off running away from us. We quickly saw a woman come out of the shadows. She was crying and trying to call 911. As we approached her we saw she had a busted lips and both knees are bleeding.
She was crying so hard, I took her phone to give the 911 operator our situation and location. As she calmed down, she was able to tell us what happened. She was walking in the dark (about 7pm) with her headphones in and a man came out of nowhere and grabbed her from behind. He started groping her and tearing at her clothes. For two hours we sat with her consoling her and helping her retell her story to the police. My teenagers brought water and aspirin. One thing that really struck me is how GUILTY the victim felt. Granted walking at night, by yourself, with headphones in may not be the wisest decision.
BUT as I’ve mentioned, we live in a very safe (very boring) little town. You would never expect this brazen attack here. Especially on a fairly busy street in the evening. I’d say this was a reality check for many of us. The assault was reported on all the local news channels and media outlets. At the very least, I hope others of us who run, jog and walk our streets have taken note. In no way am I saying we should stop our activities. I am angry about this violence and I for one will not be scared to live my life. I will not give him the satisfaction of “stealing” my freedom. I will, however, by more aware of my surroundings. I now have a running belt and it’s armed with pepper spray, a personal alarm and a Kubotan (see YouTube videos on how to use this weapon).
This man is still out there. Please watch out for each other. If you See something, Say something. If you hear someone in trouble, don’t assume it’s not your problem. “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other “ – Mother Teresa