Would-be victim is hero, role model

Published 11:41 am Wednesday, December 5, 2012

“You go, Granny.”

I had to say it. You know you all were thinking it after reading the front-page story of the elderly Andalusia woman who fought off a would-be rapist on Saturday.

Being a victim of sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault is not a laughing matter. So, I say the first statement, not mockingly, but with a resounding note of admiration.

In conversations with law enforcement, I learned a little more about the events that landed the 22-year-old man in jail.

And, quite frankly, after seeing the man’s photo, I’m surprised he didn’t make a trip to the ER before checking into the Blue Roof Inn.

I heard he nearly had his ear ripped off, so I say again, “You go, Granny.”

In today’s paper, Chief Wilbur Williams offers valuable tips to women who may be faced with a similar situation.

I think it’s valuable advice.

I’ve never talked to my girls about the possibility of an assault. It’s one of those things that you think will never happen to you or to someone you know.

And while we don’t know the name of Saturday’s victim, we can’t say we don’t know her. She is someone’s mother or grandmother, church sister or the woman in front of you in the grocery store line.

We women should learn how to protect ourselves, and we should talk to our daughters early about it.

When I was a college sophomore, I made a late night trip to a Wal-Mart not far from the university campus. I don’t remember what it was I needed, nor do I remember how long I was in the store. What I do remember was the note stuck under my car door handle that read, “I like the way you carry yourself. Meet me at the McDonald’s parking lot when you’re done.”

My 19-year-old self thought that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard, tossed the note in the backseat and drove back to the dorm.

My 35-year-old self knows that I may have narrowly avoided being raped, hacked into tiny parts and dispersed in desolate wooded areas in parts unknown.

I mean, who does that kind of stuff? Serial killers, that’s who.

Our young women may not know the difference, and as parents, we should teach them to trust their instincts, to pay attention to their surroundings, and of course, to protect themselves.

That’s advice that goes for anyone of any age.

If Ms. Lark Street is reading The Star-News today, I’d like to say this to her, “You are an amazing woman, and like Chief Williams said, you are a hero.”