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Health & Balance

How I Escaped My Rapist

On the last night of her Italian vacation, ESPN exec Keri Potts went for a drink with a handsome artist. What could be the harm? She was about to find out. As told to Erin Zammett Ruddy.
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I couldn't believe what was happening. "No! No! No!" I shouted. I stumbled and said again that I needed to go. I grabbed my purse and walked toward the door. "It's locked. The door is locked," Marco said. I pulled on the handle and it didn't budge. Starting to panic, I grabbed a set of his keys off the kitchen table and fumbled through them, but Marco stepped toward me. "Those don't open the door," he said, an inch from my face. He had another set of keys that he dangled in front of me then threw toward the bed. "You're not going anywhere," he said. He grabbed the scarf off my neck and put it around his own. I reached for it, but he swatted me back. "You're not going anywhere," he said again. "I'm not joking." Trying to appear calm, I told him Lynn would be waiting for me back at the hotel. "This is ridiculous," I said. "Please open the door."

The more I tried to reason with him, the angrier he grew. He stood in front of the open patio door and reached for the shutters. It was clear he was going to lock them. A surge of adrenaline flooded my body  it felt like I was going to wet my pants  and I thought, Oh, my God, I am going to be raped tonight. No one can help me. Oh, my God, this is what it feels like.

I knew I had to get out to the patio  I remembered seeing another patio about six feet down, which would be my only means of escape. I charged at Marco, throwing myself through the opening, but he grabbed me by my belt and lifted me back inside like I was a rag doll. I'm 5'10" with an athletic build, but Marco was taller  probably around 6'2"  and strong. I felt a sharp pain in my ribs under my right breast as he tried to pull my shirt over my head. I screamed, "No! Get off of me!" so loud, so high-pitched, that I didn't even recognize my voice. Marco kept telling me to "Shush, shush," and every time I'd wriggle out of his grip and run for the ledge, he'd try to drag me back inside. Finally, I thought, OK, this is going to be a death match. I wasn't sure if he wanted to rape me or kill me at this point, but it didn't matter. I was not going to go down without a fight. I was not going to go down, period.

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