April 7, 2006 Sharon Muse was kidnapped by a former client who forced her to drive through two counties to an abandoned farm where he tried to force her behind a barn to rape and stab her to death.
During the 62 second walk from her office door to the car Sharon’s intuition picked up on more than 14 warning signs that she was in danger but she ignored her gut and relied on her logic which almost got her killed. He presented himself as a client in crisis and did not overtly show his sinister intentions until he had her under his control.
Sharon was miraculously freed from her captor while he was pushing a knife in her neck which allowed her to fight her way out the car. As she was fighting to escape her captor promised her that he would return to kill her even if she did escape – that her fighting was futile because he would kill her eventually. Once she bolted into the country road two trucks stopped to help. She survived the “incident” as a result of specific acts of divine intervention combined with the selfless acts of sacrifice by three strangers.
Once the first responders arrived Sharon thought her nightmare was ending. She was wrong. The trauma of enduring seven years as a voiceless victim in the criminal justice system was as traumatic as the incident itself. She fought within the system she knew well as a practicing attorney yet still had virtually no input in the process that was going to determine her entire future. Prosecutors, officers, investigators, defense attorneys, jurors and a judge would all have an impact on determining her future and Sharon would have none. She had to sit back and watch other people decide her fate. Would they do their jobs properly? Would she be another statistic? Why was she unable to voice her opinions, thoughts, concerns, knowledge of the incident, evidence etc.? Victims are at the mercy of a system that was designed to protect the rights of the defendant.
Sharon’s life was spared on April 7, 2006. From that point she lived in prison of her own due to fighting the fear of her attacker returning. Eventually at a spiritual retreat God worked a healing in her that allowed her to forgive the man that watched, hunted, and tried to kill her. Even still, she continued to battle the fear of dying at his hand. Watching the criminal justice system fail her repeatedly drove her to make alternate plans to keep her safe upon his release from jail. Part of this was purchasing and training with firearms. Another part was weight-lifting and self-protection classes. The most important part was training her mind by learning to identify threats to her safety and giving herself permission to take appropriate physical responses to such threats.
Having been raised in a polite society (one where we are kind and respectful to one another) with Christian values (showing the love of Christ by loving and serving others) and Southern hospitality (to help others when you are able) made it hard for her to identify the threat in time to protect herself. As a result of what she has learned she is passionate about helping others stay safe. She wants to teach people of all ages how to live a confident live, free from unreasonable fear, with the understanding that there are predators living among us and the knowledge that there are specific skills we can acquire to make ourselves hard targets. These concepts apply to any situation where you do not feel safe. Accepting the reality that predators exist that want to take things from us by any means possible and taking some time to understand how to see it coming will help anyone deal with a potentially violent situation. The goal is to identify and escape before the violence begins. This is not always possible. When it is not possible we can be equipped to protect ourselves to increase our odds of survival.
The most important part was training her mind by learning to identify threats to her safety and giving herself permission to take appropriate physical responses to such threats.