I recently read a very disturbing article about a young woman who was sexually assaulted in an airplane bathroom. She was attacked on a red eye flight, by a drunk man who sat in the seat next to her on the plane. It’s hard to imagine how an attack can occur in such a tight place, as an airplane bathroom, with loads of passengers just nearby. But it did. We have to remember that sexual assaults are attacks of opportunity. He followed her to the bathroom, controlled and intimidated her and assaulted her.
As I began to research bathroom attacks, I realized that it was much more common than I could have imagined. Girls and boys in school bathrooms, women in mall restrooms, park restrooms, and hotel bathrooms.
It’s quite a shock when an enraged person kicks in a door, or pushes in behind you into a bathroom stall, a public bathroom, or rest area, to attack you. Let me be brutally clear with you. When someone attacks you in a bathroom, he or she is doing it there, because of the remote location, which a bathroom provides.
An attacker’s goal is to hurt, beat you and control you. With control, and having inflicted bodily harm, he can continue to sexually assault you, and perhaps kill you.
The bathroom attacks that I read about, happened almost the same way in each case. The first situation, happened at least three or four times and in different areas. They were incidents that involved, several lone females who entered public bathrooms, and were violently confronted by a male attacker, hiding in the stall.
My first lesson is one of awareness. A person who is texting or on the phone, is going to be an easy target. Don’t be glued to your phone. Be aware of anyone who is lurking nearby, and may follow you into the bathroom. Be aware of door and locks that seem to have been tampered with or damaged. It probably was done deliberately. Trust your instinct, if something feels off, find another bathroom. Be alert when you are alone in a bathroom. When a male comes out of a stall, he may just play dumb, and pretend that he thought he was in the men’s room.
If you are female, first action, don’t listen to his excuses, run towards the exit, while screaming that a man followed you into the bathroom. If he’s been hiding in there for a while, he probably knows, exactly how much time he has, before another person enters.
Second situation. You are in a stall and someone kicks in the door. The first reaction will be of pure shock until your adrenaline kicks in. The attacker will use these first shocked moment to beat you or hit you in the face, and head. Head punches and blows can disorientate a victim. He or she could punch, hit you in the face with an object, or kick you in the face, several times. Even though you have been hit, you must take action. Turn your head, and tuck your head to one of your shoulders, and put your arms up about six inches in front of your head and face, make fists, to absorb the blows.
Get down and under to the next stall if you can. If you do get under, get up immediately. If you can, use the door as a weapon and slam it into the attackers face. Keep your fists and arms up in defense. Push him towards the stall to make a clear escape for yourself. Kick him into the knee, and knee him in the groin. Believe it or not, females also feel pain if they are kicked or kneed in the pubic area.
If you can’t get under to the next stall, push your forearms and fists into the attacker’s chin or chest as you stand up. Slam your forearms hard against face, ribs, chest, and shoulder of basically anything that you can reach. Kick straight out to attacker’s knees. Be prepared, as you stand up, that the attacker will likely attempt to choke you, in order to control and immobilize you, or continue to punch you. This choke may be a front attack or from the back.
If the attacker is attempting to chock you from the back, push your hips back into him to unbalance him. Elbow him hard into the ribs. Almost simultaneously take a step towards the right with your right foot, which will pull him slightly off balance. Bring your left leg over his right leg, and plant your left foot and leg right behind his right leg. Pivot your right foot towards him. Now you will be facing his right side. He won’t be able to hold on to your neck while you are now to his side. With your left fist, punch into his back and towards his right ribs. Then push your right forearm and elbow into him with all your might, and this move will knock him forward and away from you. Run towards the door. If he grabs you again. Kick your heel back into his knee. Keep kicking and screaming.
I’m going to describe the above escape from the left side as well for reference. Push your hips back into him, elbow him, take a step left, and immediately put your right foot up, over and behind his left leg, pivot your left foot towards him. Punch with your right hand into his ribs and back, and then with your left forearm, slam him forward and away from you.
Another trick that the attacker will use, is to slam your head into a wall or down against a hard surface such as the sink, toilet or hand dryer. Put your hands and forearms in front of your face, so if he slams you, your arms will absorb the impact and not your face. Tuck your chin towards one of your shoulders. Kick your heel back into his knees. Keep kicking back, attempt to step on his or her foot. When the attacker loosens the grip even slightly turn your body towards him with your elbow and forearm out. This gives you several options, of defense. Swing your elbow into his ribs, sternum bone, head, then follow with other fist to his head, ribs or throat or sternum.
Last choke scenario from the front. He will most likely be facing you, and will use two hands and press or squeeze your neck. A great effective move to accomplish no matter your height, is to reach across his outstretched arms, grab the hand that is farthest from your hand that you just moved.
For an example with your right hand reach across and grab his pinky on his right hand and pull it straight up towards the ceiling. With your right hand keep control of his right hand, press down with your forearm against his wrists to cause pressure, continue to bend his little finger up towards the ceiling. As soon as he starts to release, step to the right. You will continue to press your palm against his hand, and slowly twist the pinky side up, and pull his right hand towards you and down towards the right. Continue to bend his little finger side up. With the other hand, press your palm into his elbow, and move your left foot to be parallel with your right foot. Your feet are open about shoulder width.
If you grabbed his right hand with your right, you step right and pull him towards that side, press your left palm into his right elbow. Guess what, if he doesn’t want his elbow to snap, he will move with you. As he stumbles off balance, while you are holding his arm, knee him in the face. This is easier with your right knee. If you reached with your left hand, then you will grab his left pinky and pull it straight up towards the ceiling. Press your forearm into his wrists and step left. Control his left with your left, and press your right palm into his elbow. Adjust your feet position so they are parallel, and which puts you in better position to knee him in his face and head with your left knee.
A bathroom attacker is there to hurt you and trap you! It’s not going to be pretty, this is not a rehearsed movie scene. Everything hurts and you will be exhausted, terrified, and won’t be able to breathe. But remember this, he or she doesn’t know that you are about to go to battle. An attacker will be clueless and shocked that you have learned a few good fight techniques, and can take an offensive to break free. If you drop your purse, bag, or jacket during this frantic moment, don’t go back for it. You must get out to safety. Keep your focus and objective and you will.