APD: Woman is our hero

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The elderly victim in a Saturday night burglary and attempted sexual assault in Andalusia is being hailed as a hero, and her actions could serve as a lesson to women, Chief Wilbur Williams said Tuesday.

Police arrested 22-year-old Christopher Lee Steadman in connection with the attack, and based on physical evidence, police know they have the right man, Williams said.

“If you’ve seen the picture of this guy, you can see how this woman defended herself,” Williams said of the victim. Steadman, who allegedly broke into the Lark Street home through a rear window just before 6 a.m. Saturday, attempted to rape the elderly woman; however, she fought back – and won, Williams said.

“This woman is our hero,” he said. “Oftentimes, in situations like purse snatching or the like, we tell women to just let the person have it. But, in this situation, this man broke into her home and tried to hurt her. This woman, though, she decided Saturday was not the day she was going to die. She went about taking care of business.”

Williams said once police responded to her home, the woman said she believed her attacker would be easily recognizable.

“She demonstrated what she did to him,” Williams said. “In this case, this victim decided she was going to become the aggressor. She was going to fight, not flight. Honestly, I believe because of her actions, because of her decisions and the energy she put into it, it kept her from being harmed further.”

In Steadman’s mug shot, scratches on his neck and facial areas are visible.

Williams said the majority of sexual assaults involve females and are performed by men looking for submissive, easy targets.

“And she was not it,” he said of the victim. “This is my personal advice that I have given my wife and my daughter – resist with all the energy you have. Make them do what they’re going to do right there. Don’t submit. Don’t comply. Fight.”

Williams recommends going for the “soft areas” of the body – the eyes, ears, nose, and of course, the groin area.

“Different people have different suggestions, but this is my take,” he said. “Go for the soft areas. Our victim, she repeatedly punched, scratched and kicked her attacker. She nearly pulled his ears off. In this case, we have enough DNA evidence that we could have made the case with her or without her. Of course, it’s better to have her as a witness than as a murder victim.

“She was in her own home,” he said. “She had no place to go, no place to flee. She had no choice, and she chose to stand her ground. In this instance, she got the upper-hand, and boy, did she do a number on this man. Who knows where it could have gone if she was submissive to him.”

Steadman, who was recently released from a prison up north after serving time for burglary, is charged with burglary I, attempted rape I and sexual abuse I. He remains in the Covington County Jail under a $600,000 bond.