Statistically, when a man is targeted by a criminal, his biggest risk is of being robbed. However, while many women are victims of theft, a woman’s primary risk isn’t from those looking to steal her purse and wallet. At least 300,000 women are raped each year, and many more are victims of attempted rape, assault and kidnapping. Women are typically at a size disadvantage compared to men; thus, there is perhaps no greater evidence for firearms as the “great equalizer” than when a female fights back against an attacker attempting to overpower her, as in the following seven accounts.
Shirley Bennett was returning to her SUV in the parking lot of a bank in Akron, Ohio, when a man attacked her, pushing her into the vehicle. As the attacker was on top of her, Bennett, a Right-to-Carry permit holder, retrieved a .38-cal. revolver and told the criminal, “I got a gun. Don’t make me use it.” Undeterred, the criminal held Bennett’s arm, at which point she fired, causing the attacker to flee. Police later captured the assailant, who had recently been released from prison after a conviction of gross sexual imposition and was wanted by police for failing to register as a sex offender. Bennett acquired her Right-to-Carry permit after a break-in at her home several years earlier made her feel vulnerable. In an interview with local media, Bennett explained, “I honestly believe I would not be here today if I didn’t have a gun … I’m just glad I’m here today and not in the obituaries tomorrow.” (The Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio, 11/12/11)
A rape victim in Cape Girardeau, Mo., shot and killed a repeated rapist during an attempted sexual assault. Only a few days earlier, the rapist, Ronnie Preyer, had invaded the home of the 57-year-old woman and raped her. Unfortunately, after the first incident took place, Preyer fled the scene and remained at large. While he was evading police, Preyer hatched a plan to repeat his assault a few days later. This time, before entering the house, Preyer shut off the electricity going into the home. Preyer then began trying to work his way into the house through the basement door. The woman heard the commotion and tried to call 911, but after realizing she would be unable to call 911 without power, she grabbed her shotgun and went to the basement door. When Preyer eventually burst through the door, the woman fired, hitting Preyer in the chest. The victim then rushed to a neighbor’s house, where she waited for police. When the police arrived, they found Preyer still alive, but he died several hours later at a local hospital. The authorities will not press charges in the case, with the prosecuting attorney stating, “I will not be filing any sort of charge against this 57-year-old woman, who was clearly justified under the law in shooting this intruder in her home.” (The Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Mo. 10/31/08)
When an 88-year-old Ripley, Miss., woman opened her door to a stranger asking for help, the man proceeded to force his way into her home, rape and rob her. The woman managed to escape from her attacker, however, and retrieved her handgun. She fired three shots that sent the rapist fleeing. After she provided a clear description of the man, police immediately identified a known suspect and soon made an arrest. When they found the suspect, he was bleeding from a gunshot wound under his arm. (Southern Sentinel, Ripley, Miss., 8/11/04)
Police believe the man who abducted a Shasta County, Calif., woman at knife point and forced her to drive her vehicle to a remote location may have been intending to sexually assault her. Instead, when the scruffy would-be rapist stepped from the car for a moment, the woman retrieved a pistol and shot at the man, who fled into the darkness. (The Record Searchlight, Redding, Calif., 7/28/95)
Linda Patterson was walking to her car in the parking lot of a Searcy, Ark., store a few days before Christmas when she saw a man holding a knife on a woman. Patterson pulled a revolver from her purse and yelled, "You had better think twice about what you are doing!" Seeing that she was armed, the would-be kidnapper ran. (The White River Journal, Des Arc, Ark., 01/02/92)
Bobbie Remington, a 68-year-old liquor store owner, was closing her Lawton, Okla., shop when a man made a grab for her, demanding her purse. The owner, who had been kidnapped and robbed previously, pulled a .25-cal. pistol from her pocket and fired on her assailant. The man fled. (The Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, Okla., 05/14/87)
Nevelyn Akins of Birmingham, Ala., was about to drive her 4-year-old daughter to a nearby restaurant when a man jumped into her car. He grabbed the little girl around the neck and threatened to kill her if Akins didn't drive him where he wanted. Cautiously slipping a .38-cal. revolver from her purse, Akins drove until she was ordered to stop. When the kidnapper tried to pull the child into the back seat, Akins fired, hitting him in the arm. She fired again as the man tried to wrestle the gun from her, and killed him with a shot to the chest. (The News, Birmingham, Ala., 07/13/84)