NEWTON (CBS) – A young Newton woman attacked while on vacation in Aruba was able to fight back and survive.

Now, she wants to help other women be able to do the same.

Lily Konowitz was out to dinner with friends and family in Aruba. She was in a restaurant and had gone to the ladies room when a man entered her stall and attacked her, punching her in the face.

“He opens the door again and he punches me,” Lily told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey. Lily had just completed a Rape Aggression Defense course offered by Newton police. She says that instead of going into shock, the training kicked in.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

“Literally, when he punched me I thought, this is it. This is what I’ve been training for. I start screaming because I want people to hear me. But no one heard me. I knew I had to get out of the bathroom to safety because we were trapped,” said Lily. “I just start pushing him and pushing him and he keeps moving back. I kneed him one time and I just wanted to push him out the door. He just kept punching me and I just kept pushing him and somehow I was pushing him back. The door was a swinging door so I was able to push him out the swinging door.”

Konowitz was treated at an Aruban hospital. The alleged attacker was caught by a tour bus driver and turned over to police. The suspect is facing charges.

One of her instructors for R.A.D. Class, Sgt. Bill Spalding, says he’s proud of Lily.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “I know grown men that wouldn’t react the way she did. A young woman, 18 years old being attacked , punched in the face, being attacked by someone who’s more than twice her size, to be able to stand up to that and actually attack him back and defend herself is unbelievable.”

Lily and her family are now starting a foundation called the Lily Konowitz Foundation for Women’s Safety. The goal is to provide funding for other women to receive RAD training. Lily says there’s no doubt it saved her life.

“I think the biggest difference was I knew I had no option but to fight. I think by me fighting is what saved my life,” she said.

Comments (29)
  1. sullyinma says:

    Yeah, but did they catch the alleged attacker?

    1. bjd says:

      If you read the article, it says that a tour bus caught the attacker, turned him into police, and he is facing charges.

      1. Leslie J. says:

        There was no “attacker” and no one is being held on any charges from her story. Not sure what she’s trying to do by creating this story.

  2. Lynn says:

    You go girl. We need to read more news stories like this because the alternatives are much to hard to take.

  3. gigi says:

    I got goosebumps reading this! Lilly you are extraordinary – I am so happy there was a happy ending to such a scary story. The other side of me is surprised and saddened by this as I have been to Aruba 5 times and never an issue, even when going out alone. I guess crime is indeed everywhere.

  4. BJD says:

    This is amazing. I took Rad but I don’t know how I would be in this situation! Good for her!!!!

  5. PHILIP says:

    WISH THE NAME OF THE RESTAURANT HAD BEEN STATED.

  6. jaygee says:

    It’s beginning to appear that Aruba isn’t as safe a destination as it sounds.
    Now we just have to wait and see what the punishment will be…….if any!

    1. pat says:

      I HAVE BEEN GOING THERE FOR MANY YEARS AND HAVE ALWAYS FELT SAFE. I’M SURE THIS WAS A RANDOM ACT, BUT YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO HAVE YOUR GUARD UP, NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE. THIS IS NOT A VIOLENT ISLAND, NATIVE PEOPLE ARE VERY FRIENDLY.

      1. Steve says:

        Agreed, I have been to Aruba and found it to be very friendly and safe. I believe it to be one of the safest islands/places I’ve been to. With that being said, it is filled with many people and just like anywhere else it pays to keep your guard up and be aware of your surroundings. As safe as it is, it’s still not a good idea for women to be walking around alone. It’s sad to think this way but in today’s world you just don’t know who’s lurking around the corner. My old standby saying… I’d rather be prepared and not need it, than need it and not be prepared.

    2. Eric says:

      jaygee, when is a human being not in danger? An accident can happen even drinking or eating. Because we can choke with a drink or food, should not mean we will never drink or eat again. Come join us and you’ll know why so many people come to Aruba.

  7. Big Man says:

    Would be nice to know the restaurant name and if was an Aruban………will be traveling there soon………….

    1. Eric says:

      As a native I welcome you to our island… Our place is safe. For many years we have had visitors on our island, and they have been and are part of our big family named Aruba. Many repeat visitors can tell you how many friends they have here on our island, and how many people know them by their name. Once more…Welcome!

  8. Milton Lacle says:

    Aruba is still a very safe island and friendly. Actual local born and raised on the Island is what made the island so popular. I’m very surprised that no one in the restaurant heard all that noise. Who was this person? Tourist or local or a foreigner who just happend to be on the island and is trying to come to live there and did this. One incident like this per year is nothing compare that the rest of the world. But we do not want that to happen on the island. More info on the suspect is needed.
    But no matter what, Steve I’m all with you.
    Aruban

  9. Linda says:

    Please lets find out the restaurant. I’ve been going there 25 years and love it, no problems.

  10. Eric says:

    Not common to hear things like this about our island. Even tougher it is to find reason for something like this to happen. Aruba is a small island on which potential attackers know they can’t get away with evil acts, because we all keep an eye on matters to keep this place safe for our own benefit and of our visitors. Yes the human being at times would do the most unexpected things for money, only to let it go again with the same evil spirit through which they obtained it. In this case this female was brave to fight back, but a loud scream would have saved her too and the man probably given his lesson by Arubans on the spot.

    1. Lynn says:

      She did scream, no one heard her.

      1. Eric says:

        Well maybe she did not screeeem, because our restaurants are not big. It would be helpful if Ms. Lily Konowitz could please post the date, the area the restaurant is located in and time it happened, so it all can be traced and verified, to come up with official reports.

  11. Johanna says:

    So glad to hear she was able to defend herself and get out of a serious situation. But I would like to know what restaurant in Aruba did this happen and also was the attacker a local person or visitor.

  12. Deb Taylor says:

    and whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy did the whacko just start punching her?

    1. Patrice says:

      You’ll have to ask the “whacko” that question..

  13. susan says:

    I believe from reading all the articles the purpose of relating this story to others is that an attack can happen anywhere.The story is not about Aruba. This could have been in Massachusetts. It just happened to be when she was traveling with another family on vacation.Lily does not mention the restaurant as she is not blaming them and she doesn’t want anyone else to.She is trying to promote the self defense class which gave her the confidence to fight back.I believe she is starting a foundation so others can have the same opportunity she had to learn self defense.

  14. Beggars Banquet says:

    This is a scam. This girl didn’t even go to Aruba, let alone get attacked. She needs some community service credits and came up with this story in her head. It’s a glorified daydream.

    I can’t believe that CBS would get brainwashed into broadcasting this without not even ONE specific detail or corroborated fact.

  15. M. Soder says:

    This story is so untrue. If it was true Ms. Lily Konowitz would surely have given the name of the restaurant this incident supposedly occured in so others would be made aware of unsafe use of restrooms at the restaurant. I was on Aruba in the spring and there was nothing reported about this incident. The photo used in the clip is over 4 years old. It shows the KuKu Kunoku bus parked in front of Carlos and Charlie’s which has not been there for over 4 years. This has SCAM written all over it.

  16. L. Bazile says:

    First of all it doesn’t like there was any report made by anyone, while in Aruba. No one can find this tour bus driver who captured the man. Police have no record of arrest and local Aruba tourist newspapers have no record or story and these papers report everything that happens to and about tourists.

    What we know is that it seems that she needed to be involved in some community/charitable work to collect her scholarship at the end of her four years of college. She comes home with the story and presto she has an elaborate website and a profitable foundation. People she’s playing you.

  17. Rachel Standon says:

    This is interesting since Aruba has no such report of her attack.

  18. njuguna muigai says:

    I think this woman want to help women from being sexually abused whether her story is true or not. If women are ambushed in the ladies then the restaurants should keep a guard and see that no one enters the ladies except women. Another way women can defend themselves is using sprays by spraying their attackers right on their eyes.

  19. jayman says:

    Seems like many facts are not included in this story, as many have commneted already! And why did the training save her life? There was punching, assault, but no deadly weapon mentioned here? What was the motive, rape or was this a crazy person, stalker, in the restaurant? Did she do anything that would have upset this attacker or was it a completely random act. Poor journalism, lack of details to this somewhat sketchy story….I have been to Aruba (I’m a male) and found it to be relatively safe, great people there. Like anywhere, u need to use caution, be aware of ur surroundings at all times!

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