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Lately with Layne: Florida woman attacked in gym terrifies young women

Instead of the infamous “Florida man” stories flooding news outlets, a story of a Florida woman has taken over. The woman, Nashali Alma, was working out in her apartment complex’s gym when the unthinkable happened. She opened the door for a man she had seen in the gym before. He immediately began to approach and assault her in the most terrifying and eye-opening video I’ve seen in a while. 

Because Alma is a bodybuilder, she definitely held her own. Between attempts to call authorities, she physically fought him off to the point where she had enough time to run off to the parking lot and call 911. The man took off on foot before authorities arrived. 

The day after the gym attack, he began to prey on another woman in the same apartment complex, where he also lived. He stared at her for several minutes on her balcony and then attempted to force entry into her apartment. The woman’s fiancé scared him off, thankfully. 

The dangerous man, Xavier Thomas-Jones, was arrested after the second incident on Jan. 23 in Tampa, Florida. He is facing charges of sexual battery, false imprisonment, burglary and kidnapping. Jones admitted to authorities that he had sexual intentions with both women in the affidavit report. 

In any gym, I would say most girls already feel somewhat vulnerable. There are even plenty of women-only gyms in an attempt to combat such anxious feelings. However, that most likely isn’t possible in a small apartment complex – and it shouldn’t have to be. 

That gym, or any gym, may never be the same for Alma, and that’s horrible.

Alma is using this as an opportunity to speak up about violence against women and what to do in these situations. In an interview with Fox 13 Alma said, “As long as you don’t give up, you fight back, you show him that you are strong, that you are one, that you’re able to fight back and survive this and get out of the situation, I believe it’s possible.” While a terrifying thought, this is good advice for anyone who could be put in a situation like this. Alma preaches to not give up, and she didn’t for a second. 

This is the perfect instance for people to understand the phrase “it’s not all men, but it is all women.” I’m not trying to say that every man would commit a crime like this – that just isn’t fair or true. I do think that all women have had an experience like this or have to live in fear of something similar happening, however. 

Of all the dangerous things in the world like war, guns and natural disasters, it is truly sickening that the biggest threat to all of us is another human being. 

Layne Rey is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Layne know by tweeting her @laynerey12.

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