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.