Imagine that an old, defenseless woman is confronted by a ruthless aggressor who attacks her physically and threatens to violate her. What can she do when attacked by a person three times younger than her and much stronger?
For Pennsylvania woman Helen Reynolds, who was 88 years old at the time of the attack, which occurred in 2017, the dilemma was real. In that moment of terror, she managed to find the words that saved her life.
A quick-thinking 88-year-old woman talked an attacker out of raping her by telling him she was HIV-positive.“I said, '…
It all started when an unknown man came to Reynolds’s door, pretending to be the apartment complex maintenance worker and requesting to check something inside her place. Once he was inside, he attacked the woman and used duct tape to keep her from moving.
He even wrapped the tape around her nose, mouth, and glasses. She was certain that his intention was to sexually assault her. What to do in such an extreme situation? Despite being bound, Reynolds could still make herself heard.
With the knowledge that she might be raped and killed, she came up with something that was just crazy enough to work. “I have HIV and my husband died from it,” she told ABC 13.
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) March 3, 2017
The intruder was so taken aback by what she said that he immediately fled from the house, leaving Reynolds bound but, fortunately, relatively unharmed. A few days later, Reynolds heard a disturbing story that made her desperate ploy seem like the least she could so.
In another part of West Chester County, a 72-year-old woman was attacked by a 17-year-old who had escaped from a nearby mental institution. He turned her house upside down before binding her and placing her in a closet. “Get ready to see Jesus,” he warned her. She was there for four days before finally being rescued, as was reported in The Inquirer.
As Reynolds told WPVI in Philadelphia, she had a lot of sympathy for the 72-year-old. “Bless her heart. I know I thought of her ever since I heard about her.”
The young man in the home intrusion was questioned about several other incidences of home intrusion in the area. As for Reynolds, she had fighting words for her attacker.
As she told WPVI, “I have nothing good to say about him. Nothing at all. Put him in jail, and leave the [expletive] there.” As for the tough words that originally scared the attacker away, she felt that she had to say something pretty serious to dissuade her attacker from going any further. If he had, who knows what would have been the consequences for her life.
When asked by WPVI if she thought she was in mortal danger, she didn’t hesitate to respond. “That’s the comment that saved my life.” An incredible story that showed just how brave and quick-witted this woman was in one of the most terrifying moments of her long life.
Reynolds isn’t the only senior to take a stand against criminals and come out on top. 74 year old Brenda Stinson was attacked and beaten by a robber in Alabama supermarket parking lot last year, just as she was getting into her car. The man tried to grab her purse and they fought for several minutes until Stinson taught the criminal a lesson he wouldn’t soon forget!
As she told Al.com, “I grabbed him good between his legs. That’s always been my plan because that’s a man’s weak spot.” Stinson’s brilliant move managed to give enough time for good Samaritans to come to her rescue. As she said, “I know he’s going to be sore.”
These seniors fighting back against show incredible courage and ingenuity–a lesson for us all.