I don’t know why the stranger on the beach grabbed me from behind and pulled me to the sand. But I do know that after I let out a sound that I hope I never have to hear again, I was able to take control of the situation. My body, and possibly my life were saved by a simple self-defense trick that I learned during a physical education class in high school just weeks earlier.
I was 17 and on vacation with my parents on the California coast. I decided to take a walk along the water, and I had traveled pretty far outside the private beach. I even passed nude sun-bathers along the way. When I got to a fence that blocked my path I turned around and headed back. I was in a deserted area of the beach, or so I thought.
I remember how blissful I felt right before it happened. I was basking in the sun and enjoying the waves. I had little rocks and shells in one hand. And believe it or not, I was talking to a butterfly that decided to ride along on my outstretched finger. It had been a beautiful and peaceful day.
It happened so fast, his arms coming from behind and around me, squeezing my arms to my side. By the time I had stopped making that awful noise – it came out twice – he had pulled me down to the sand and turned me around. We were facing each other.
He looked to be in his mid 20′s. He was brunette. I remember thinking he was a good-looking man.
As I tried to get free, I dug my fingernails as deep as I could into his arms. I could tell very quickly that my efforts were worthless. That’s when I remembered the self defense trick. I couldn’t show any fear. I had to take control.
To show him I wasn’t scared, I yelled angrily at him. Assuming he wanted to rape me, I told him he was stupid. Among other things, I said he could find a student at the nearby college who would want “do this” with him. I kept yelling at him with authority.
It looked like I shocked him out of a trance-like state. Because eventually, without saying a word, he let go of me. I was able to get up and run. After awhile I looked back, and he was still sitting there.
I hope if anyone reading this ever gets grabbed like that, that you will use every tool available to escape, including what can be your very powerful voice.
Even though I had to do my part, I thank God and my guardian angels for keeping me safe that day. — teri c stoddard