Seattle Woman Uses Tactics She Learned from Self-Defense Class to Escape Brutal Sexual Assault

Seattle Woman Uses Tactics She Learned from Self-Defense Class to Escape Brutal Sexual Assault

Kelly Herron was jogging in Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park for a day of marathon trainingon Sunday.

Four miles into her 10-miles run, the 36-year-old stopped to use a publicrestroom. “As I was drying my hands I became aware that something was wrong,” Herron recalled to ABC News. When she turned around, she saw a man standing in the bathroom.

According to police documents, Gary Steiner a 40-year-old registered level 3 sex offender in Arizona allegedly assaulted her.

“He immediately took me down to the ground, hit both my knees and legs, and then it was a fight on the bathroom floor and I just kept screaming, not today m f,’ ” Herronsaid.

Herron described how she was able to briefly fend him off bygoing into a bathroom stall, even jamming the door. However,Steiner came into the stall from the side and “started beating me in the face with his hand.”

During the altercation, Herron thought “this doesn’t have to be a fair fight” and defended herself by using self-defense tactics that she had learned in a two-hour class just three weeks earlier.

“I was screaming at him, not today, m f.’ Being loud and not afraid. I mean you are afraid, but letting him know you are not taking me down today. You are not going to win this fight,” she told a local ABC affiliate Kiro 7of clawinghis face and escaping the bathroom.

According to court documents obtained by a KOMO News, Steiner was locked inside the stall after someone put a carabiner on the door. On Wednesday, prosecutors charged himwith second-degree attempted rape after he allegedly toldSeattle police that he went to the bathroom with the intention of raping a woman.

Following her incident, Herron returned to Golden Gardens Park Wednesday for the first time since she was attacked in the restroom.

“That was the only thing that was motivating me I cannot be raped by this guy in this place,” she said to Kiro 7. “We don’t have to go down. We don’t have to be quiet about it.”

Jordan Giarratano, an instructor at Fighting Chance Seattle who has taught self-defense for over 20 years, told ABC News, "This is one of the most surreal things I've ever seen ... in the four years I've been running this workshop. It's very inspiring and overwhelming and humbling."

One survey in Runner's World magazine found that 43 percent of women experience harassment while running. Unlike in Herron's case, most incidents are not life-threatening, but in a nine-day stretch last summer, three women in three states were murdered while running.

Giarratano told ABC News that people who are attacked should trust their intuition, be loud, fight as hard as possible, respond immediately and hit with an open hand.

Herron said she feels empowered after her experience and is still training to run the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon this summer.

Steiner has an assault record against multiple women dating to the 1990s, according to authorities.

He is being held in jail on $750,000 bail and faces charges of attempted rape in the second degree and second degree assault, according to court documents. His public defender did not reply to ABC News' request for comment.