Every day, women across the world are vulnerable to being raped, which can be both physically and psychologically damaging to their well-being. In many cases, the overall size difference between the rapist and his victim makes it virtually impossible for the woman to fight off her attacker.
However, last November 1, a 21-year-old woman in Sheffield, England turned the tables on her would-be rapist in a way that left him humiliated. Walking home from work late at night, the woman noticed that 35-year-old Jonathan Holmes was following her. Unnerved by this prospect, the woman walked over a mile in an attempt to get away from him through Sheffield City Centre.
This walk included crossing the road three times, but each time, Holmes continued stalking her. In the midst of this, she attempted to contact her partner in order to ask for help. It was at this point that Holmes finally made his move to attack her by dragging her into a nearby hedge while also telling her that she’d enjoy it.
As this conflict was building, the woman had made sure to put her keys in her hand in order to use them as a weapon, if necessary. Once the attack began, she used the keys to hit Holmes in both the stomach and face and also screamed to alert any passerby at that late hour.
In the midst of the attack, Holmes had been able to put his tongue in the woman’s mouth. However, she got revenge on him by biting down on his tongue. The combination of being hit with the keys and the pain of being bitten was enough to allow the woman to eventually hold the keys near Holmes’ throat.
At this point, the woman spotted two people walking nearby and got their attention. This allowed Holmes to attempt an escape over a nearby railing but he only ended up injuring himself more in the process.
Holmes was subsequently arrested and booked for attempted rape. Later evidence determined that he had been hiding behind walls that evening seeking out women who were walking along before the woman arrived.
A clear indication of the woman’s anger toward Holmes’ rape attempt was then seen in his mug shot. Holmes was squinting due to two black eyes and also had numerous cuts and other marks on his face.
In contrast to the often-laborious legal process in the United States, the case against Holmes was concluded just one month later on December 1 when he was given a sentence of four years and six months. During the preceding month, Holmes had also admitted to a previous sexual assault.
Holmes’ lawyer, Amy Earnshaw, had attempted to defend him by saying that the attack was out of character, while Holmes himself attributed the attack to his being intoxicated. Earnshaw also made an effort at mercy from the judge by saying that Holmes was sorry for his actions.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor in the case, Rachel Harrison, noted the woman’s biting of Harrison’s tongue, saying that he would never again attempt such a maneuver.
In a statement before the judge prior to sentencing, the woman indicated that fighting back was the only way to try and stop from being raped. That judge, Sarah Wright, then lectured Holmes about the fear he had instilled in the woman and how she would forever be emotionally scarred by the attempted rape.
The woman, whose name was never publicly given in an attempt to protect her privacy, was given an award by the local police department in recognition of her bravery against Holmes.