The harrowing story of a 13-year-old girl who leaped from a moving vehicle to flee her abductor shocked readers everywhere in April of 2017. According to her story, the Northern California teen was held for 27 hours by Timothy Marble, during which time she was repeatedly assaulted, plied with narcotics, and abused. She saved herself by jumping out of the truck and hiding in nearby bushes until police arrived.
While this young girl’s story is appalling, she showed amazing bravery in making her daring escape. Here are 20 more stories of fierce women who were forced to take drastic measures in order to escape kidnappers, attackers, and worse.
Diabetic Woman Uses Insulin Pump To Escape Trunk
In Birmingham, Alabama, 25-year-old Brittany Diggs was forced at gunpoint into the trunk of an assailant’s vehicle. The nursing student was driven around to various ATM locations around the city and forced to withdraw money. Brilliantly, Diggs was able to use the small light on her insulin pump to locate and use the trunk release latch from the interior of the vehicle, which she learned about from YouTube before the day of the attack. Though the assailant got away with most of her belongings, Diggs managed to escape with her life. A video of her getaway went viral and a GoFundMe account has set her up with a fresh start.
Seven-Year-Old Girl Outwits Kidnapper
A young girl in Sacramento, only seven years old, was walking down the street with her mother in broad daylight when she was snatched up by a man and stuffed into the trunk of his car. Incredibly, the girl had the wits about her to hold her knee up against the hood of the trunk so it wouldn’t latch all the way. As the car took off and her mother watched helplessly as it sped away, the young girl was able to jump up and out of the moving vehicle. She was assisted by onlookers and returned to her family with just a few minor scrapes and bruises.
Marathon Runner Defends Herself
Kelly Herron stopped to use a restroom after mile four of her 10-mile marathon training run in Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park when a man followed her in and attacked her. She used what self-defense skills she had to fight back, screaming “Not today [expletive]!” over and over again. She escaped, but was badly bruised and beaten (but then again, so was the other guy). She shared her story on social media in the hopes of helping other women, with a picture of her GPS tracker’s movements showing just how extensive and grisly the battle must have been.
Woman Flees When Perpetrator Sets Off Alarm
A woman was violently attacked by a stranger in her own home in Limerick, Ireland. She was beaten, raped, and dragged from one room of the house to another without a moment to call for help. Eventually, the man began burning what could have been used as potential evidence against him, including the woman’s clothes and a rug on which he had ejaculated. The smoke from the flames triggered the fire alarm. While her attacker was distracted by trying to silence the alarm, the woman fled into the streets — naked except for a towel — and managed to get help from the authorities in time.
Man Attacks Housemate In The Shower
A 22-year-old woman in Staten Island was showering in a locked bathroom when one of her housemates, 30-year-old Miguel Felipe, broke into the room and pinned her to the floor. After an extensive struggle, the woman managed to talk Felipe into letting her up for a moment. In that instant she fled, completely naked, into the streets of New York City. Luckily, her neighbors heard her screams, offered her help, and called in the police to handle the situation. Needless to say, they wouldn’t be housing together any longer, and Felipe was charged with sexual assault.
Woman Escapes After A Decade Held Captive
When she was just 15 years old, a girl was drugged and abducted by the man who had been living with her mother. Through years of mental manipulation, she was forced into marrying him and bearing a child with him. The man told her that her family had long ago given up looking for her and that if she tried to leave the house, she would be deported. Ten years later, a chance Facebook message from her sister helped her finally learn the truth and get the help she needed to escape the man who had been holding her against her will.
Bicyclist Escapes Would-Be Rapist
A Miami woman was biking home one night when she got a flat tire. She started walking the bike along when all of a sudden a man came up behind her, grabbed her, and began dragging her into a darkened parking lot. She managed to fight him off, using both her physical strength and a convincing religious plea. She escaped unharmed, though emotionally shaken. Bravely, she agreed to speak about the incident on camera with a local television news station in hopes of finding the man and preventing him from attempting another attack on an unsuspecting woman. Unfortunately, he was never identified.
Teen Escapes Boko Haram
Noor, a 17-year-old girl in Nigeria, was abducted from her home in the dead of night and forced to become the “wife” of a Boko Haram soldier. After seven failed attempts at escape, she finally got out and back to her family over a year later. By that time, she was pregnant with her captor’s child, and her parents refused to let her back into the home, fearing her as a Boko Haram sympathizer. With nowhere left to turn, Noor, like many other women in her situation, now lives with her six-month-old daughter at an internally displaced people’s camp.
Delhi Woman Jumps From Balcony
In India, a woman was allegedly lured into an apartment on business pretenses — but then force-fed large amounts of alcohol and gang raped by five different men. The abuses lasted for an entire night, with the men threatening to kill her if she so much as made a sound for help. By morning, she managed to escape to the second-floor balcony and jumped off, suffering minor injuries in the fall. Though she took the men to trial, there was not enough evidence to convict them, leading to a he-said-she-said debate over the woman’s suffering.
Three Women Escape After A Decade In Captivity
The case of the infamous Ariel Castro kidnappings has become a story of gross fascination for Americans everywhere. In the early 2000s, three young women in Cleveland seemed to disappear without a trace over the course of several months. As it turned out, they were in Cleveland all along, chained up in a normal-looking house by Castro, their kidnapper. One day in 2013, one of the women, who had since given birth to a child by Castro, managed to flag down a neighbor when an interior door was left unlocked. Castro was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years in jail, but committed suicide shortly after the trial.
Woman Absconds After Attacker Passes Out
A woman in Jacksonville, Florida, went to collect money from an acquaintance who owed her several hundred dollars. When she arrived to confront him, the man was inebriated and aggressive. He forced her into his apartment and then into the bedroom, where he raped her and held her against her will for nearly two days. He took away her cell phone and all of her personal belongings. Finally, the man passed out from the large amounts of alcohol he’d been consuming, at which point the woman was able to flee from the apartment and get neighbors’ help in contacting the police.
12-Year-Olds Fight Back Against Pedophile
In Cape Town, South Africa, a 12-year-old girl was approached by an older man, who wanted to reach down her pants “to make sure she wasn’t a boy.” When the girl resisted, he pulled her into the nearby bushes, held her down, and tried to choke her. Luckily, one of her schoolmates was nearby, who pelted the man with rocks until he relented and ran off. When police arrived and searched the area, they also found pornographic materials in the bushes. Since neither child was able to positively identify a suspect after the incident, the man was never caught.
New York Escort Leaps From Sixth-Story Window
A female escort in New York City didn’t get the job she was promised when the “John” who hired her immediately stole all of her belongings and prevented her from leaving the moment she arrived at his hotel space. The man then brought her to a second location, where half a dozen other men were waiting to have sex with her. Desperate to flee, she snuck out the window of the sixth-story apartment, intending to use her jacket as a rope to rappel her way down the building. Instead, she fell, breaking both her legs and her back in the fall.
Woman Bites Off Man’s Tongue
A 33-year-old South Carolina woman answered the door of her home to encounter a man wielding a knife, who forced his way inside and on top of her. When the man attempted to shove his tongue into her mouth, she did the only thing she could think of and bit down — hard. The police report later said she “bit his tongue as hard as she could until she heard it snap.” The man, only 18 years old, was soon found and arrested after his mother forced him to seek medical attention at a local hospital when he came home without a tongue.
Woman Fakes Heart Attack To Escape Kidnapper
In Fort Worth, Texas, a woman walking along the side of the road was suddenly forced into a stranger’s car. After driving the woman around for miles, he pulled into a truck stop and attempted to force her into sex. The woman resisted, and soon started complaining of chest pains. She told the man that she had a heart condition and a history of cardiac arrest. Alarmed, the man drove her to the nearest hospital instead, where the woman ran inside and explained her abduction situation to the emergency room staff. They contacted police and the man was apprehended on the spot.
Memphis Woman Flees Naked In The Streets
A Memphis woman was abducted near a busy suburban intersection, forced into a man’s truck while she was going along the sidewalk. The attacker reportedly grabbed her by the neck, pulled her into the vehicle, and told her that she’d be killed if she tried to get out or motion for help. He kept repeating to the woman that she was his girlfriend now, taking her back to his home and attempting to rape her. The woman managed to run from the house, screaming and naked, and got the attention of kind neighbors who got her the help she needed.
Woman Escapes Two Days Of Torture In Detroit
While not an uncommon sight these days, a boarded-up house in Detroit’s west side was the unsuspecting scene for a brutal two days of rape and torture for one local woman. She had been held against her will by two men, who at one point left her alone in the locked-up building. Miraculously, she managed to break through a boarded window, shattering glass everywhere, and fled. When the police investigated the scene later, they found evidence of abuse as well as a rifle and sword, which may have been used against the woman as instruments of torture.
Chicago Woman Escapes From Trunk
The Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago is known as a safe, friendly area for people to live and visit, especially with its famous ballpark nearby. But one woman who lived there was violently carjacked right outside of her own apartment. The assailant forced her into her trunk and then drove some 20 miles to the other side of town. For reasons unknown, the man somehow crashed into a tree. Feeling the impact, the woman managed to find the interior trunk release latch, let herself out of the back of the car, and run for help. Neighbors were shocked to learn that it happened in their own front yard.
Israeli Woman Escapes From Torture Chamber
A 26-year-old Israeli woman was kidnapped at gunpoint in Hamburg, Germany, by a man who was a casual acquaintance. She was taken to his apartment, which was equipped with an old telephone booth and an arsenal of weapons. “The whole two-roomed apartment was rigged up as one massive torture chamber, with this big old-fashioned telephone kiosk soundproofed as the cell for his victim,” police later noted. The woman thankfully managed to escape after only a few hours, when her captor forgot to lock the booth door and left her unattended — but she had to climb out of a window lined with barbed wire to do so.
Mob Of 200 Women In India Beat Attacker
A local gang leader in the slums of Nagpur, India, spent more than a decade barging into women’s homes, demanding money and doling out various abuses. When women tried to report being raped by the man or his gang to the police, they were laughed off. Finally, the women of the village had had enough and decided to take matters into their own hands. A mob of 200 of them descended on the gang leader in the center of town, beating and lynching him to death within a matter of minutes. They told authorities to “arrest us all,” and many of those vindicated women are now on trial for murder.