Posted at: 11/25/2013 9:32 PM
Updated at: 11/26/2013 7:09 AM
By: Leslie Dyste
A Minnesota woman fought for her life when she was attacked in downtown Minneapolis.
Angela Champagne-From was brutally stabbed with a hunting knife in a parking lot. She doesn't like to think of herself as a victim, and she doesn't want other Minnesotans to become one.
Three times a week she relives the most horrific day of her life for an audience of mothers, students and professionals. She's not trying to scare them, she's trying to empower them.
Champagne-From was leaving her job at a downtown Minneapolis law firm and was headed to a parking ramp at 4 p.m. April 19, 2012, when she was suddenly attacked.
"There was someone behind me, an object at my throat, and someone said, 'We're going for a ride,'" she said.
Her attacker was 48-year-old Robert John Meyers. Surveillance photos from that day show he's dressed in a suit and carrying a briefcase. Meyers had a long rap sheet and is a convicted sexual predator.
Champagne-From says she "fought like a girl," and it saved her life.
"Scratched, screamed, bit, hit my horn, I mule kicked him backwards, I reasoned with him," she said.
Meyers eventually backed off, but not before he stabbed Champagne-From in the stomach. The 10-inch wound cut all the way through to her back muscles.
The crime scene photos from that day show her blood splattered everywhere- from the steering wheel of her car to the toll booth at the parking ramp.
As he left her in agony he told her, "You're lucky you're a fighter." She said that was the best compliment an attacker could give their victim.
"I was fighting like a girl, it wasn't my time," she said.
Anne Yatch, a self-defense expert, says every woman needs to know she can fight and she can win, just like Angela did. Yatch says confidence wins fights.
Both Yatch and Champagne-From believe every woman should have some kind of self-defense training. There are tools women can carry including a 'defensive flashlight.' It's 25 times brighter than a normal flashlight and can blind an attacker.
Most attacks are really about power. Champagne-From says she never surrendered her confidence that day in the parking lot, so her attitude was just as useful as her self-defense skills.
She wants to inspire people by sharing her story. Ultimately she is changing the perception of what it truly means to "fight like a girl."
Now, Champagne-From is in the process of launching her own non-profit called the FLAG Foundation, which stands for "fight like a girl."