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Woman groped at gym pool shares story

Woman groped at gym pool shares story

SAN ANTONIO – The woman who police say was groped by a naked man at a gym pool in the Medical Center is sharing her story.

News 4 is not naming her to respect her rights as a survivor of attempted sexual assault.

She says in hindsight, she was not prepared for the situation she found herself in last week and wants to help you stay safe.

The woman was sunbathing at her gym’s swimming pool when a man struck up a conversation.

What happened next was caught on camera. She got into the pool, and the man told her to stay put.

"That was the biggest red flag, but I definitely didn't expect the events that followed,” she wrote in an email to News 4.

The man followed her into the pool and removed his towel to reveal he wasn’t wearing anything underneath.

"I couldn't believe he was naked,” the woman wrote. “It was so surreal that I just remember feeling confused and disoriented and also extremely uncomfortable."

She says she simply froze.

"Our bodies kind of have a natural reaction,” Kimberly Berry with the Rape Crisis Center says. "We think of flight or fight but there's also freeze. I tell a lot of people who outcry that freezing or not doing anything is actually very common."

The woman says the man massaged and rubbed up against her. Fortunately, someone else got into the pool and the man left.

"The incident most immediately left me feeling confused and afraid, such that I just left the gym without even telling anyone what had happened,” she wrote in the email.

"Survivors don't outcry or don't really tell someone usually for a while because there's just a shock of, this happened,” Berry says.

The woman says a friend encouraged her to tell the gym. Managers immediately called police and officers arrested the suspect.

Berry says it’s reassuring to hear swift action was taken.

"We have this mentality of 'Oh, it's not my business, I don't want to get into it,’” Berry says. “But that's a really hurtful phrase for a lot of this because we are all bystanders in our community to make it safe."

The survivor offered words of advice in her email.

"There's no way to see it coming, but I think creating distance between yourself and anyone who seems in any way odd or suspicious could help you stay safe,” she wrote.

She says if you can’t escape, draw attention to yourself.

"It's amazing how much can happen under the radar when no one is paying attention,” she wrote.

The survivor says she understands why events related to sexual assault could be under-reported so she wants to encourage victims to tell someone.

The Rape Crisis Center has a hotline staffed 24/7. Counselors can be reached at (210) 349-7273.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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