Escaping Rape: A Fightback Woman Who Won

If there was a blue ribbon award for safe solo traveling, ESPN executive Keri Potts believed she would’ve won it. She’d taken a self-defense course in college and had traveled solo numerous times, consistently taking precautions: Limit alcohol to one glass of wine in the afternoon. Don’t stay out late or with strangers. But one night while vacationing in Italy, a date with a handsome artist changed everything.

Unlike many victims of sexual violence, Keri recalls the entire experience in detail. She’s also courageous and compassionate enough to recognize how powerful sharing her story can be. She is one of the most inspiring women I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with. Today, I’m honored to share highlights from our conversation with you. Please read it with your eyes and heart, and pass it on to those you love. Stories like Keri’s can undoubtedly save lives.

AM: I was struck by the photo featured in Marie Claire. Even with his face blocked, Marco appears normal—like a guy many women would gladly pose with. What was your impression when you met him?

KP: He seemed really shy, which was very different from most of the people we’d encountered in Italy. My friend, as you see in the photo, is blonde, and we’d get a lot of “Bella, Bella!”—very traditional American look to her. I don’t tend to attract that so much. He was just shy and quiet, brought over to us by the cafe owner. He started talking about the art he does at a nearby studio. When people just sort of walk up and sit down next to you, it can set off all kinds of alarm bells off in your head. This didn’t do that because of the way we encountered him.

AM: When did your instincts kick in? Do you remember a specific moment?

KP: There were many incidents throughout the night when I was slightly uncomfortable with things, but the opportunities were presented in such a way that played on my self-doubt. I didn’t really have a long history of dating… I’d really only had one boyfriend before I went on that trip. I may be a confident, successful person in most aspects of my life, but that was just an aspect that I was totally green in. So the natural inclination is to look at yourself like you’re doing something wrong, or that you’re being a little too cautious, or making a mountain of a molehill.

I didn’t like that he kissed me right off the bat, once we did meet up on our date. I didn’t like that he leaned in when he was mid-talking… My assumption was that kissing is usually a pretty agreeable action toward each other, you know what I mean? [LAUGHS] It’s usually not such a surprise to the other person! On the surface, it’s just a kiss from a guy, sort of like ‘this is okay’. But if you think about it very clinically, the decision was not mine. It was taken out of my hands.

He wanted me to ride in a cab back with him to my apartment because he knew where I was staying—across the street from a friend of his who runs a bar. My instinct was, No, I don’t need to get in the car with you. But he looked at me like, really? Are you kidding me right now? It’s just a cab ride. When he suggested that I go up to see his balcony, I didn’t even think twice about it because I’d been up there earlier. The first time he said, “It’s not too far from here.” I said, “Oh, no no… No thanks.” He gave me his ID. He said, “Here is my document. Does that make you feel better?” And I said, “Yeah.” He gave his license and I put it in my pocket. So now I knew his date of birth of birth, his address and his name. Even when he presented that to me, he did it in such a way that it would almost be like, You’re being ridiculous, but I’ll play along with it if it makes you feel better. Because I’m just a great guy, I’m gonna do whatever makes you feel better, and I’m harmless.

Your brains are going two different directions, because I’m not evil and crazy like he is. A person on the outside might say, “Why would you go up there alone?” But think about your day to day—how many times we leave ourselves isolated, alone with a man. Just for whatever—for work, a maintenance guy, someone working in a hotel… You realize it could happen anytime.

AM: It makes me think how lucky we are every time it doesn’t happen.

KP: Yes! And how rare, how unusual it was. I’d lived my life 31 years to that point. I’ve been in New York. I’d traveled alone to Spain, to London by myself, Ireland by myself…traveled alone, not as part of any tour or anything. Those things made me feel more confident.

One reason I told my story is because I hear from a lot of people who say, “That could have been me.” People read about rape and sexual assault and they look for for this one thing they can point to and say, “I never would’ve done that, so that would never be me.” They tell themselves these little lies.

AM: And with your story, they can’t do that.

KP: They can try. But I was sober. I knew where I was. I had a friend who knew where I was. I knew where he lived. I’d already been up there and seen it, and he’d never laid a finger on me. There was no talk of sex, because A, rape isn’t about sex, at all. And B, you just don’t expect that someone is hunting you.

AM: So once he attacked you, you ran at him. You fought back. Did you surprise yourself? Had you done anything remotely like that before?

KP: I was a tom boy growing up. I was bigger than all the boys, and they can sniff you out in two seconds. [LAUGHS] You know? You attack the thing that terrified you, so I was no stranger to being physical. But as a woman I’d never had a grown man put a hand on me in violence. And I don’t think you ever think that’s going to happen until it happens to you. It is very jarring, a reversal of natural order. It’s like seeing something your eyes never thought they would see. But I knew that I was not going to get out of the apartment through the door that I came in. And I accepted it very quickly, after an attempt to argue with him. I didn’t keep on that path very long.

I focused on getting out to the balcony because there was space and no room for privacy. I was working my way toward it, but he blocked the door. He could see my brain evaluating, that I knew where I had to go. So he put himself in front of it. It’s as though you’re trying to keep your shit together, and the person who’s doing this to you knows exactly what’s happening to you. Because you can’t control your body.

I’m shaking. My lips are dry and I’m licking my lips. My eyes are saucers. I’m pail, unstable in my stepping. I remember, my legs were so wobbly. My stomach, you could hear it. I was fighting to keep my bowels in. That’s where that term comes from, by the way. They say it happens in war. Your body is literally trying to prepare you, and it’s not the prettiest thing. He could see it and hear it, and I’m trying to act nonchalant.

AM: I’ve never heard anyone describe that, but it makes so much sense. So he felt he was in control.

KP: Yes. I did catch him by surprise. It was just that moment that he leaned back out, slightly out the patio. He put his right foot out, leaned back and grabbed the wood shudders to pull them closed over the glass. And I knew from the way he was smirking at me. He thought he was about to close the deal. Like you’re locked in and no one’s going to see what I’m going to do to you in here. I knew that’s what he was saying to me; it was very clear. And I rejected it. I could not accept it, I just could not.

I pushed through him to get out the door, and he caught me, and he kept trying to drag me back into the apartment, and I knew that as long as I was on the patio, that that was good for me. So we had a very long hand-to-hand fight. I knocked him over. I knocked his potted plants over. I knocked him on his back… I knew there was a ledge over the patio, because I’d been up there twice, and a place to land. I thought I was going to jump and just stand there and scream until someone gets me, but I didn’t have a plan to move until I got down there and realized I had a lot of distance to work with.

I tried to make an attempt to get him off me and he was on me again really quick. The second time I knocked him over really good. He was drunk, so his balance was terrible. His jeans were longer than they should’ve been, so when he stepped back he stepped on the inseam and he’d fall back.

When he stumbled backward, I had enough time to plant my hands and almost to do gymnastics, like a vault. Boom! Hands up. Boom. Leg over, then turn and try to slide down, but my sweater got caught on one of the metal lattice concrete pillars. He was on me again. He’s got my neck, and I’m trying to pull down to break the sweater. So I’m pulling with all of my weight down, and he’s pulling me up by my head and I’m thinking I’m gonna break my neck. I was saying to him, “Let go! Just let go of me. If you don’t do that, you’re gonna kill me. Just let go!” I’m saying to him, it’s over. If you don’t do that, you’re going to kill me. I’m gonna fall. I remember looking at him like, Accept it. Accept…it.

AM: You made a firm decision. That must have helped you, as far as doing whatever you could to get away… Unbelievable. How badly were you hurt physically?

KP: I didn’t feel a thing through any of that. I remember when he hit me on the balcony, he hit my face, my nose, I remember hearing things, but not feeling anything. You hear popping, things crunching, but you dont’ feel a think. The only time I felt anything was when I’d made the last leap to the balcony I landed on, of the American couple that wound up helping me. They would tell you, and they have in interviews, they would sit on that balcony many months after and try to figure out how I actually had done that.

I did what I had to do, and I remember landing very flat-footed. I was in knee-high riding boots, and they were flat, but there’s no padding in those things. I remember landing and feeling like a burning shock wave go up the front of my shins. The next day when the adrenaline wore off, I was in agony. My feet were swollen, and my fingers and my rib and my nose, and I felt every part of me was broken. I felt like everything was broken.

AM: So you’re alone in a foreign country, just fled from your attacker… How did you know what to do next?

KP: It was very difficult, just trying to decide what to do. I was concerned that Marco was going to come get me. He knew where I was, where I was going. I’m thinking, he’s gonna come after me. He’s in the mafia

My brother-in-law was fabulous. He called the American embassy officer to get me some help. I wanted to get on the phone with the embassy because I wanted it on record with the government, if anything more did happen to me.

AM: When did you finally feel some sense of peace?

KP: There were two moments that stand out for me. One was when the officers had brought me back to the street of the crime. That, of itself, was not relaxing. I don’t know how we fit in the car; it was like a clown car. It was nighttime, drizzling. As a victim we assume police officers are on our side. But then I realized it’s not their job to believe me, they don’t have any opinion on it. You are just a person and they are trying to evaluate.

We arrived to Marco’s street and they said, “Which one?” I said, “Number 21, like I said. I gave you his business card, I gave you his address.” “Point it out,” they said. I walked over to the door and put my hand on it. They said, “Where did you escape from?” I didn’t remember what the outside looked like, but I knew it had green doors on the inside. They’re pointing to one door, and another door and another, and got buzzed in. None of them had green doors inside. “Which one, yeah?” They’re saying. “Which one?” “Neither,” I said. “I told you, green doors!” They’re saying, “No, it’s one of these.” We’re kind of at a standstill. And I’m thinking Wow, I’m sunk here.

At that moment, a woman approached me out of nowhere. She said, “Are you an American?” I said, “Look lady, I’m really busy right now.” Thinking she’s going to ask me for restaurant recommendation. The cops were plain clothes, so she couldn’t have known what was happening. She said, “I think you’re the woman my husband let in this morning.” I looked at her and the back of my knees went. I fell into her arms. She hugged me and said, “Angels are watching you.” An older gentleman beside her handed me tissues. He opened his arms and said, “I so worried about you.” And I’m just emotionally kind of done. The officers said, “This is good. This is very good.” The look on their faces was so satisfying to me. We walked seven buildings away and I can’t believe this is really where I went. Going to her apartment, you could not believe how far it was.

The first moment I felt really safe was when I got to my new hotel. At the front desk there were all these messages from my sister and my brother-in-law… Then this man approaches: “Are you Keri Potts?” And I’m nervous, because in my head, Marco’s following me. And he says, “Your boss sent me. He said he wants to talk to you very badly.” They dialed me in to my vice president and the head of the department. “Pottsi? Pottsi?” they’re saying. “We’re gonna get you home, baby. We love you. You kicked his ass. You did it.” They worked through the night to get me home. I was on a flight at 6am the next morning.

AM: I was happy to learn that you’re still traveling. How has the experience changed the way you travel?

KP: It’s been a lot of just healing on kind of the mental side. I had to work in London, maybe nine or 10 months after what happened, we launched a channel in the U.K. My first solo trip was a weekend in Paris. I was a nervous nelly because I knew how hard it was to be a crime victim in another country. After being victimized, I told my dad, “I can’t believe that I ever traveled alone, that I ever thought that was a good idea.” The Paris thing was like putting my toe in the water. I just stayed in my hotel room, which is very unlike me.

This last trip I just took was the first time I traveled out of the country by myself, like I used to. It was important because I’m in a very good place mentally. My dad said, “That’s my girl. Don’t ever let somebody change you. Because that’s what you love to do.” When I was over there, I was definitely my old self.

AM: What advice would you give readers—anything you wish you would have known back then?

KP: My area of expertise is being victimized overseas. Many people who have read my story say, “I’d never even thought to look up the embassy and keep the phone number in my cell…or registered with their Smart Traveler program so they have my passport number and my emergency contact information so that if something happens, something’s done very quickly.” Before I went to Paris, I gave my friends copies of my passport and my credit cards. I gave them my smart traveler program information. Those are really basic things people miss.

Anything can happen to anyone, it can happen to you or to someone you love. Take precautions, but don’t try to be perfect. I always thought I was perfect, that I was doing everything textbook. But there are people that want to kill you, people out there that want to harm you. Sometimes it’s just the perfect storm. It’s not anybody’s fault.

*****

After a year-long investigation, Marco’s charge was increased from attempted sexual assault to sexual assault and an additional assault charge. He plea-bargained and in April, 2010 received a suspended sentence of 11 months, 10 days. He never went to jail, but was put on a five-year probation. If commits further crimes in that time, he’ll land in prison. He was also ordered to pay Keri’s legal fees, which totaled about $10,000.

“At first I felt disappointed that Marco wouldn’t be jailed, but now I feel proud of my efforts;” Keri told Marie Claire. ” I never gave up. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of that night. I have a small scar on my stomach where Marco gouged his fingernails into me, and I look at it often. I alternately love and hate that scar. I hate it because it reminds me of what happened, and I love it for the same reason.”

WrightWay Photography, via aFightBackWoman.com

*****

To learn more about Keri Potts and to support her efforts, please pass her story along and follow her blog, A Fight Back Woman. Keri will also be appearing in a TV program about sexual violence on the Discovery ID network soon.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What struck you most about Keri’s story? Do you see yourself in her experience? When have your own instincts, awareness and perseverance helped save or change your life?

Leave a comment

58 Comments

  1. Marc Schuster

     /  June 4, 2012

    An extremely compelling interview. Thanks for sharing this, August.

    Reply
  2. Wow. My worst fear ever I think. As a woman, and being logical, I know I am at a disadvantage when it comes to being raped and assaulted by a man. I’ve taken years of street boxing, self defence and kickboxing classes in large part to know that if ever I was put in that position, at least I’d know I did what I could to prepare myself to defend myself. I encourage all of my friends to take classes and to put their daughters in classes. No, it’s not a guarantee and it’s sad that as women that this is now something that’s a “need to know” but I think it is.
    Keri story moved me to tears. Her fight. Her determination. I could feel it. I’ve always thought that in that situation I’d have the same level of grit. That I’d fight to the death if need be. I am thrilled that she survived and is sharing her story. At home or travelling, it’s so important to be vigilant. I know many women who are so lax in their own safety and it’s by sheer luck that haven’t ended up in similar situations….Keri’s story speaks to how easily it CAN happen to anyone….and how important it is to always trust our gut.
    I will definitely pass along the story. Thank you so much for being so brave to share with us Keri. Your tips for travelling abroad are things I will definitely take to heart! Best wishes for your continued growth and healing…HUGS!

    Reply
  3. Keri rocks! Great post.

    Reply
  4. Coleen Patrick

     /  June 4, 2012

    The entire time I read that, I was thinking about my daughter. Thank you for sharing August and Keri. I will be talking about this with my daughter. So important. Thank you!

    Reply
    • I am thinking the same thing, Coleen. I am sharing this with her now, as a matter of fact. I want her to continue to be independent, but she knows she must always be cognizant of her surroundings and aware of situations that could evolve. Thanks, August – and Keri – for sharing this and providing much-needed information to help others avoid these types of situations.

      Reply
  5. Amazing story – and so glad at least some good has come from such a horrible event. Thanks to Keri for the bravery to share – and to August for the interview.

    Reply
  6. prudencemacleod

     /  June 4, 2012

    What an awesome woman, a true Valkyrie. Lady, you are an inspiration to us all.

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  7. I am reading The Gift of Fear right now (thank you again!) and I immediately saw how she recognized all the warning signs that something wasn’t right with this guy – the same warning signs the book tells us that many women brush off. I’m travelling overseas this summer, and I’ll be registering woth the Smart Traveler program, thanks to reading about it here!

    Reply
    • I’m glad you’re putting the book to good use, Jennette! 🙂 And that Keri’s story found you at such an appropriate time. Wishing you the most enjoyable and safe travels.

      Reply
  8. What an amazing woman. I travel alone quite regularly and can easily see how this situation might evolve. My scariest moment happened in Mexico. I was in Albuquerque NM and went to El Paso for a day drive. Once there, and realizing El Paso is another city, I decided to go to Mexico. So I parked, locked my valuables in the cubby hole and walked across into Mexico, in the midst of hundreds of tourists. And a moment later, I knew I shouldn’t be there. No rhyme, nor reason, but I knew I had to leave. So I turned around and walked right back into the US. At the counter, I realized I’d locked my passport in my car. whoops. But the officer was most gracious, decided I sounded Canadian (probably because I said ‘eh so muh) and let me know. I ran to my car and hurried back to my hotel. I know I dodged a bullet that day.

    I still travel alone and i still pay great attention to my intuition but it’s so easy for us to downplay those warnings in our head. thanks for the cogent reminder of the importance of listening to the wise woman within. She’s a hero.

    Reply
    • Talk about a close call, Louise. That’s some powerful intuition you’ve got there. So glad you value and listen to it! And I agree—Keri is a hero.

      Reply
      • I have never had such a loud screaming in my head and yes, I’m sure I was right to listen to it.

  9. Reetta Raitanen

     /  June 4, 2012

    What an inspiring story. Thank goodness that Keri made it out of the nasty situation. She’s a real fighter. The information about keeping yourself safer while traveling is really valuable.

    Reply
  10. Raani York

     /  June 4, 2012

    Thank you for sharing this August. And than you Keri for your courage to openly talk about this! I know how important self defense is – in particular for a woman. This is a great interview.

    Reply
  11. What an incredible story. Like Coleen, I kept thinking of my daughter, who will get her own copy of The Gift of Fear (thank you!). I am so thankful that Keri was able to escape Marco. It totally sucks that he didn’t spend time in jail, we can only hope that he won’t try this again.

    Keri’s got me thinking about small things we can do before we travel, like putting the embassy’s number in our cell phones. I always make copies of itineraries, passports, etc, but never thought of the embassy number.

    Whatever angel is watching over Keri, bless her!

    Reply
    • Those small efforts can go a long way… I’ve been thinking of the many times I’ve traveled alone in other countries since Keri and I spoke. I’ll never bypass those efforts again.

      Thanks for being such a great mom, Tameri! Hope your daughter gets lots from the book. 🙂

      Reply
  12. I’m so impressed by this story and by the comments. You are a brave lady, Keri, and you did just the right thing. You fought. That’s what I was taught in self-defense class. Fight–fast and hard. It’s not what the rapist is expecting. And all the comments about trusting one’s instincts are so right on. But I also liked the fact that Teri did not blame herself afterwards (or if she did, she got past that). Hindsight is 20/20 and the woman never ’causes’ the rape; the rapist is the responsible party. I just wish the Italian government had held him more accountable.

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  13. A frightening and inspiring story. It seems to me one of the worst things that can happen with assault/rape like this is that it can be so hard to prove. Being in a foreign country where you don’t know their typical response to such an ordeal must be even worse. I’m glad Keri was able to escape.

    Reply
    • I agree, Nigel. I hope women in similar situations hear Keri’s story and realize that they can stand up for themselves, and up against their attackers. Thanks for the support. 🙂

      Reply
  14. mgedwards

     /  June 4, 2012

    Bravo, Keri and August. An amazing story! When I was the women’s rights and anti-trafficking in persons officer for the American Embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay, I heard many firsthand accounts of violence against woman, terrible stories that all-too-often turned tragic. Your story is an inspiration to women everywhere who are raped, abused, and victimized. Thank you for having the courage to stand up to your attacker and to share your story with others.

    Reply
  15. What an amazing story and excellent interview. Thank you both so much. I’m so glad your story is being told. That takes incredible courage.

    Reply
  16. Karen McFarland

     /  June 4, 2012

    Wow, what a story! Talking about scaring the crap out of you. Close eh? How maddening that Marco didn’t serve any time for his act of violence. There is no justice anymore. I’ve always been told to fight and scream. Don’t give into your attacker. Although it sounds easier said than done. I applaud your act of bravery and that it hasn’t stopped you Keri from going on with your life. Thank you August for bring Kari’s story to us. 🙂

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, Karen. Such an honor to share her thoughts. I hope everyone in Marco’s proximity steers clear of him, knowing what he’s likely done numerous, if not countless, times.

      Reply
  17. What truly incredible story. Thank you for sharing this interview with us. I believe Keri’s story is one meant to inspire and teach many moving forward. My daughter isn’t old enough, yet, to read about such things, but you can bet she’ll get introduced when she is. Daddy can’t always be there with a shotgun.

    Reply
  18. This is a very sensitive topic & you covered it very thoroughly. You posts again & again reinforces the idea of woman’s instincts. Couple of thoughts in line to the post crosses my mind. There’s also a danger of date abuse, this your familiar ground turning hostile. The other is assault under intoxication. Again instincts can play a vital role in both the cases but somehow women tend to lower their guard in those two situations making them vulnerable.

    Reply
  19. So often we’re told “you’re just being paranoid,” but this account affirms that being a little paranoid at times and staying safe is actually better than being too trusting and getting hurt. This you both for sharing this powerful story, and thank you Keri for being such an encouragement to other women.

    Reply
  20. Stories like this make me want to hire body guards to accompany my daughter everywhere she goes. Definitely need to look into some self-defense classes for her. I’m so glad that Keri was able to escape this monster, and sorry that another monster got away with his crime…and I’m sorry, probation is nothing more than a slap on the wrist…it’s not a punishment.

    Reply
    • I hear you, Kristy. If you have access to it, IMPACT is a fantastic self-defense program with girl-specific courses. (Gavin de Becker talks about it in The Gift of Fear.)

      Reply
      • Yes, that’s the book I mentioned in my comment. I didn’t read all the comments before leaving mine. I loaned my book to someone. Hope they give it back. I’d like to read it again.

  21. What struck me most is that the man who raped me is now married with a daughter of his own. He walks amongst us. I used to think “we had one bad night,” but I know now that he picked me. Because I was weak. And he figured he could get away with it. And guess what? He did. *weep* This is an amazing story. I wish every girl knew how to fight like Keri did. Amazing writing, August.

    Reply
    • That makes me want to scream. I’m so sorry, Renee. I’m sure you know this, but I’ll say it anyway. Your “weakness” gave him no right.

      Keri said something along the lines of this when we chatted: The victim’s job is to survive, whatever that takes. For some women, this involves escaping before the rape. In other cases, after. So much love to you.

      Reply
    • Renee, that hurts my heart so much to know that he hurt yours, and got to walk away and live his life. There will be a special hell for him at some point – I truly believe that.

      You fight him with every bit of joy you give away and and every moment of happiness you experience. (Hugs…)

      Reply
    • Wow. That’s disgusting. By raping you he proved he is among the weakest of human beings on this planet. By being strong enough to say this (or write it), you prove that you’re much stronger than you give yourself credit for. He’ll get his. Rape is not some little thing to be brushed aside. You’re amazing inspiring, Renee and I hope you have a long life filled with happiness! ♥

      Reply
  22. I’ve traveled by myself and I’m glad to see Keri is able to travel again by herself. I’ve shared the information about the Smart Traveler program with my sister. I never knew about this program, but will sign up the next time I travel abroad.

    Reply
  23. Just getting a chance to read this. What an inspiring and terrifying story. So much to learn from Keri, and I’m so glad she’s rebounded and still travels, as well as helps others. Thanks to you both for sharing this story.

    Reply
  24. Amazing story. Thank you for sharing.

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  25. EllieAnn

     /  June 6, 2012

    Terrifying, important story. I can’t imagine how much it would change you. Thank you SO much, Keri for sharing.

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  26. Great for Keri and great for you to share this story. As a father, I’m so grateful to have stories such as this to share with my daughter. It matters so very much. Thank you.

    Reply
  27. What an amazing woman! Although I would like to reiterate that rape and sexual violence can happen anywhere, not just whilst travelling to other countries. The perpetrator could be a friend, a neighbour, relative etc. It’s kind of scary to think that one moment alone with any stranger can change your life for ever.
    May every woman be surged with Keri’s fighting spirit, if placed in such circumstances..

    Reply
  28. August ~ thank you so much for posting this! The issue of rape gets me all fired up. I believe women should always fight back! I don’t believe its right how often the rapist (or would be rapist) gets off without any real punishment.
    Keri is an amazing awesome woman! I hope her voice reaches many! There are loads of women who need to hear what she has to say.

    Reply
  29. Great post and a wonderful idea to share the story this way. Stopped in from Susie’s.

    Reply
  30. What a story of courage and inspiration. It’s true when you are in shock you don’t feel anything which must have been a blessing!
    The thing that really hit me was that she landed on the lower balcony. I imagine that they are right above one another so it doesn’t make sense that she could land below it! Her guardian angel was working overtime that day!

    Reply
    • I agree, Susie. The entire ordeal is pretty harrowing, and few people are as resilient and inspiring as Keri. Thanks for the support!

      Reply
  31. I missed this the first time around. Picked up the link on Susie’s blog today. Thanks for sharing this, August.

    Reply
  32. Hi August, I saw this link on Susie’s blog today–wow. I’m undone, really. What an electrifying story. Score one for the good guys. Thank goodness for Keri’s will to live because that is certainly what tipped the balance in her favor that night. Thank you for sharing her story. Kate

    Reply
  33. I saw this on Susie Lindau’s blog. Wow! What a terrifying story. How amazing that Keri got away relatively unscathed. What caught my attention about this story is that Marco knew that Keri could identify him, bring police back to his apartment. Did he plan to kill her? Or did he think the rape would humiliate her enough that she wouldn’t try to punish him within the legal system?

    I have never had anything like this happen to me. What I mean by that is that I’ve never had to fight to save myself from assault or from a predator. I’ve been in some precarious situations, yes, but nothing where I was truly afraid. I wonder if I would go into deer in the headlights mode or if I’d do as well as Keri did at saving myself.

    Reply
  34. As despicable as this man’s physical assault on Keri was, the emotional trauma has to be worse. I wonder if the long-term effects are considered when punishment is determined. (Well, obviously not in this case.) Still, it’s an inspiring story of a very brave woman and a few kind strangers. It was difficult to read, but I’m glad I did. Thank you.

    (I arrived here through Susie Lindau’s blog party.)

    Reply
  35. Popped in from Susie’s party, thanks for sharing this interview. I’ll certainly take Keri’s experience with me and draw on it when I teach Karate.

    Reply
  36. I’m so glad you posted the link for this on Susie’s blog. I’ve been wanting to read this since last week and finally got to it. I knew this would be an emotional read. Wow, I found myself holding my breath and my heart racing as I read this. I’m so glad Keri fought back and escaped. And then having to deal with the police and convince them, OMG. What an ordeal. I agree with many of the comments, that this could happen in so many different scenarios in our lives, like letting men in to do repairs, etc.

    When I think back to the time I was a teenager and went with my friend who met a guy at a bar (we snuck in at age 18 with a fake ID – yeah, stupid), and she said she was going somewhere with the guy and his friend and wanted me to come. We ended up in some empty parking lot with no one nearby. I was in the back seat with the guy’s friend. Kinda creepy. My friend and the other guy got out and went off somewhere. I was left alone with that creep. I’m not going to get into what he said, but I think he was psycho. He wanted to make out and I wouldn’t. I was dating my husband back then. That guy cursed me, predicted terrible things that were going to happen to me. He was attacking me psychologically rather than physically, thank God. (The angels were watching over me that night.) I was scared to death, but didn’t let him know it. After my friend and the other guy got back and we returned to the night club and all got out of the car, the creep cussed me out and then kicked me in my back in front of my friend and the other guy. My friend felt terrible for leaving me alone with a psycho. Like Keri’s experience, I felt nothing from the kick. I was thankful that’s all the guy did, besides the psychological crap, which freaked me out for years. Sometimes it still does. Someday parts of this experience might end up in one of my stories, but I’m still not ready to write it.

    I had my daughters take karate and I took it, too. Even when we know self-defense, we should never let our guard down and have a false sense of security. Black belts get attacked, raped, and killed, too. I read the book, The Gift of Fear. It’s a good read.

    Thanks for interviewing Keri. Yay for her for continuing to fight back and spread the word about her ordeal.

    Reply
  37. Absolutely chilling. I haven’t been a victim while traveling, but I have been the victim of date rape, and this is excellent advice wherever you are. Good information for traveling internationally, in particular. I’ll be sharing this with my husband, who is a nationally recognized security expert. So glad that Keri survived her experience, when others like Natalie Halloway did not.

    Reply
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