A Florida Woman Is Hosting Free Self-Defense Classes After Going Viral For Fighting Off Gym Attacker
A Florida woman went viral for fighting off a man who tried to sexually assault her at the gym, now she’s using her 15-minutes of fame to for a good cause.
Nashali Alma, 24, made international headlines in January, when security footage at the gym in her Inwood Park Apartment Complex showed her fighting off a man who attacked her.
Alma was working out alone in the gym, when she noticed a man who she had seen working out in the facility before waiting outside the door, so she let him in.
Alma, who is a power lifter, went back to her workout on the Smith machine, but the man, who was identified by police as Xavier Thomas-Jones, 25, approached and tried to grab her.
She screamed at him to get away from her, while shoving him away. He chased her around the gym apparatuses while she attempted to call 911.
Eventually, he was able to corner Alma and grab her, but got more than he bargained for when she repeatedly smashed her phone into his face.
Thomas-Jones was able to tackle her to the floor and pin Alma down, but she was able to get away by “yanking out his beard hairs” and punching him.
“Whenever it was happening, I wasn’t really fearful at all in my head. It was just I got to fight him,” Alma said in an interview with Fox News. “I got to do something, you know, and he was equal to me.”
“He was bigger than me. He wasn’t anything more than my size,” she continued. “And I kind of took that to my advantage, to my own head. And I fought him.”
Alma was able to escape the gym and run to a nearby apartment, where she called for help.
She credits her mother for telling her to not to “‘let anybody ever approach you or touch you if you don’t know them.’ And as soon as he approached me, I knew I had to push him off or do something,” Alma detailed.
Police were able to locate Thomas-Jones less than a day later, when he broke into another woman’s apartment.
He reportedly told arresting officers that he intended to sexually assault both Alma and the other woman.
Thomas-Jones was arrested on charges of sexual battery, false imprisonment, and kidnapping, less then a day later.
After surviving the terrifying ordeal and gaining praise for her actions, Alma has chosen to partner with Tampa gym YouFit and krav maga coach Jacob Bleistein to teach free self-defense classes to other women in the event that they end up in similar situation.
Alma says the new venture is all about “embracing” what happened to her.
“I’m proud of it just to be there to share my story to inspire others speak up, fight back and never give up,” she commented.