A 24-year-old woman in Tampa, Florida, was seen in CCTV footage released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, fighting off a rape attempt by a man inside a gym.
The woman, 24-year-old Nashali Alma, was seen in the video fighting off the rapist, 25-year-old Xavier Thomas-Jones inside the gym located at the Inwood Park Apartment complex in Tampa.
The woman, who is a bodybuilder, was seen in the video lifting weights by herself inside the gym on 22 January at about 10pm, when she noticed the man standing by the entrance.
She then buzzed him in because she thought he was there to exercise, and that she had seen him before at the gym – according to court records, the man did indeed live at the apartment complex.
Alma said that at the time, she had thought it was “just another dude coming to work out” and that she didn’t think too much about it.
Tried to grab her
The man was then seen sitting and standing a few steps away from the woman at first, taking a few glances at her, before approaching her and trying to grab her.
Alma said that she told him “bro what the f- are you doing? get away from me, stop trying to touch me.”
She then managed to push the man away but he then chased her around the gym, succeeding in catching her, wrestling her down and pinning her on the ground.
The woman then punched him and tried to call for help on her phone, and the man then locked his arm around her neck, but she continued fighting back until the man got tired, and she then headed for the exit.
Woman had no fear, fights him off
Alma said that she “actually had no fear” at the time because she was a bodybuilder and that she was “actually pretty strong, so in my mind, he was kind of equal to me.”
She added that “as long as you fight back and show him that you’re strong and you’re not giving up, it’s possible to escape.”
She said that her advice to other women who find themselves in similar situations is to never give up, because “my parents always told me in life to never give up on anything, and that’s one thing I kept in my mind when I was fighting him.”
Targeted another woman
The police said that the next day, after the assault on Alma, the man knocked on the door of another woman at the apartment complex that he had spotted standing on her balcony.
When the woman opened the door for him, he reportedly asked her if she wanted to “hang out” before attempting to force his way into her home, but the woman’s fiance was home at the time and chased him away.
He was subsequently arrested, and he told the authorities that he thought the two women he attacked wanted to sleep with him.
A woman shares her experience after fighting off a man who physically assaulted her in her apartment complex’s gym.— HCSO (@HCSOSheriff) February 15, 2023
Nashali Alma wanted to speak out about her experience to encourage other women who’ve dealt with similar incidents to speak out. pic.twitter.com/hyTeO3quRA