LOCAL NEWS

Hundreds attend self-defense class after Golden Gardens attack

Mar 29, 2017, 11:19 AM | Updated: 10:09 pm

Hundreds of people attended a class to learn the techniques that Kelly Herron used to survive her terrifying struggle with a rapist in a bathroom at Golden Gardens Park.

Related: Seattle steps up its response to homeless camp after attack

Her message: “You mess with the wrong girl and you are not going to get me today and if you think one of us is leaving this bathroom and it’s going to be you — you are wrong! Not today, [expletive] … Not today!”

That’s what Herron told him. What did she do to him?

“I clawed his face and kind of gouged and scratched at his eyes. And used the side of my hand — if you feel along your wrist bone it’s very sharp. So, I used that to punch or strike him in the temple and in the face. I was actually pretty pleased when I saw the cops bring him out and he looked pretty banged up as well,” Herron said.

Incredibly, she learned how to defend herself just weeks before she was attacked inside one of the public restrooms at Golden Gardens. Herron was taking a break from her marathon training, washing her hands, when her attacker appeared.

“In class, we learned that if you think something is the right thing to do when you are fighting back just do it. And having that confidence can shave milliseconds that can allow you to survive,” Herron said.

Few of us actually know what it’s like to fight for our lives. And that’s perhaps why hundreds of women flooded a trendy Belltown venue to learn how.

Most share with me a common refrain for being there: “I’ve always wanted to take a self-defense class… but…”

They aren’t alone. Herron took a self-defense class because her work, a company called RealSelf, offered it as a free benefit. So, why not?

Human Resources manager Craig Meadows-Stein says only about 30 of their more than 100 employees showed up. That was enough to save a life.

“You can do financial wellness, you can do fitness, you can do nutrition and those are the things that are pretty common. And then I realized that we have a lot of employees coming in early in the morning and late at night and in the winter, especially, it’s quite dark,” Meadows-Stein said. “As an HR person, I think we have a choice to just support the day-to-day and just support the business or we can really add value and programs to people’s lives that give them confidence.”

Whatever you call that — luck? foresight? — Herron survived, in part, because of it. And it was Jordan Giarratano, owner, and head martial arts and self-defense instructor for Fighting Chance Seattle, who taught her.

“I really hope to change the narrative from fear-based self-defense or sensationalized self-defense to helping people feel embodied and empowered and able to trust their intuition. And then building on our message on community defense and empowerment — helping other people to feel safe,” Giarratano said.

He wants “herd immunity” for violence against women. It’s similar to how doctors talk about vaccinations, that if enough of the population gets vaccinated we can protect those who can’t. Giarratano thinks that if enough of us speak out and push back against this type of violence maybe we might start hearing fewer stories like Herron’s.

“It’s traumatizing. PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] is a real thing and I am hopeful that with the support that I have received that I will eventually get back to the person that I was. I am not there yet, but I am certainly willing to put the work in,” Herron said.

The work will come in many forms. As for that marathon training her attacker at Golden Gardens interrupted, she’s still training to finish.

Herron’s alleged attacker, 40-year-old Gary Steiner, is a convicted Level III sex offender who, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s office, failed to register there. He’s been charged with assault and attempted rape, but a judge ordered that he undergo a mental competency evaluation before a trial can begin.

Local News

Seattle library...
MyNorthwest Staff

Last of Seattle Public Library branch closures from pandemic comes to an end

Seattle has reopened its NewHolly library branch, meaning that for the first time since the start of the pandemic, all 27 of the city's branches are now up and running.
18 hours ago
...
KIRO 7 News Staff

2 people shot in Seattle; suspect surrenders to police after SWAT negotiation

A suspect surrendered to police Saturday afternoon after two people were shot in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, the Seattle Police Department said.
18 hours ago
shooting...
MyNorthwest Staff

New rules for visitors to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle

Starting Tuesday, visitors to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of a negative test within three days of visiting.
18 hours ago
seattle police...
Stephanie Klein

Seattle police patrolling lower West Seattle Bridge after reports of covered plates

Seattle police say they are conducting enforcement at the lower West Seattle Bridge after it was discovered that drivers have been obscured their license plates to avoid traffic cameras.
18 hours ago
Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, unvaccinated officers, seattle police...
Stephanie Klein

Seattle Police Chief asks officers to submit vaccine paperwork

As the Oct. 18 deadline to prove COVID-19 vaccination or risk losing a job looms, Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz sent a heartfelt memo to officers letting them know he doesn't want to lose them.
18 hours ago
handgun...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Jail body scanner discovers handgun in folds of woman’s belly

Snohomish County Corrections deputies made an unexpected discovery while booking a 30-year-old woman into jail on Wednesday.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Hundreds attend self-defense class after Golden Gardens attack