EAST BOSTON (CBS) – Police are looking for the man who attacked three women in East Boston Monday.

Two women were assaulted on Trenton Street between 4:30 and 5 p.m.

In the first incident, a woman was taking out her trash when a man grabbed her from behind, pushed her to the ground and attempted to sexually assault her, but she fought him off.

About 20 minutes later, a second woman said she was entering her apartment when a man approached her from behind and knocked her to the ground. The woman yelled and screamed and the man ran off.

The third incident happened around 8 p.m. on Chelsea Street.

A man approached a woman from behind with a knife and attempted to sexually assault her. The woman fell to the ground and the man took off.

In all three cases police said the man smelled of alcohol.

The suspect is described as clean-shaven, Hispanic, in his thirties or forties with a mole or mark on his left cheek. He’s about 5-feet 8-inches tall, medium build, wearing a black hat, black North Face-type jacket, black pants and black boots.

Police said in a statement that the preliminary investigation “indicates that the attacks may be connected.”

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

Officer patrols have been increased in the area.

The attacks in East Boston and the North End have many people in Boston thinking more about how to protect themselves as they walk the city’s streets. A Charlestown facility is offering strategies that help women not just learn self-defense, but how not to look like a victim before an attack.

Gershon Ben Keren is the head instructor at Krav Maga Yashir Boston. He says women should focus on self-protection as much as self-defense. That involves honing your self-awareness and an awareness of your surroundings.

“Predatory individuals have a profile that they’re looking for,” he explains, “and part of what we teach is how not to fall into that profile.”

Among those strategies is always to walk with your head up. Looking down, Ben Keren explains, might signal vulnerability. He also suggests it might not be a bad thing to come off as somewhat rude; predators may read excessive politeness as weakness.

These are lessons that have served 63-year-old Marna Rusher well. She works in a local courthouse and when an angry defendant sent his thugs to intimidate her five years ago, she knew it was time to learn some self-protection techniques.

“I feel now that I have a chance,” she says. “But I think the most important part is I’ve changed a lot of things too. I don’t beep my car as I’m approaching it because I don’t want somebody to triangulate and get to my car before I do.”

Rusher admits that changing the way she goes about her day took some getting used to, but she says it quickly became second nature.

“I’m at my desk every day until 6:30, so I have to walk in the dark of Boston frequently,” she says. “But my head’s up and I know what I’m doing and I just glide along. I don’t call attention to myself.”

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong contributed to this report.


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