A 24-year-old woman named Nashali Alma made a public statement weeks after a horrifying attack inside of a gym in her apartment complex. Alma, a personal trainer, fought off an attacker who she believed was trying to rape her. After letting the man in thinking he was a resident of the building complex, she ended up in a fight for her life.

Nashali Alma fights for her life against man who attacked her at her gym

The attack happened in Tampa, Florida, and the local Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office recently released footage from Alma’s encounter. The department posted a video on Twitter of both the footage and an interview with Alma, who explained her thought process before and during the attack.

Loading the player...

The footage shows Alma buzzing the man into the gym, which was otherwise empty. The footage then shows the man approaching Alma, who pushes him when he gets too close. The two then begin fighting each other. The man, identified as 25-year-old Xavier Thomas-Jones, pins Alma to the ground at one point.

However, Alma fights back hard and eventually tires him out. Finally, dodges him by ducking through some workout equipment and calls 911. “When I realized, he was — you know — there to attack me and try to rape me, that’s when I knew it was about to go down,” she said in the video.

Alma also said she didn’t feel any fear during the attack, despite the fact that Thomas-Jones approached and assaulted her without saying a single word the entire time. “I’m a bodybuilder, and I’m actually pretty strong,” she said. “So in my mind, he was kind of equal to me… I knew I was stronger than him, and I knew I could fight back.”

Alma hopes to inspire other women to fight back

Additionally, she offered some words of encouragement to any and all women who may face a similar situation in the future.

First, she thanked her mother for instilling in her a fighter’s spirit. “My mom always told me to never give up, to never stop fighting,” she said. “And I just kept that in my head the entire time I was fighting him. Because my mom raised a fighter, and I made sure that it would show.”

When asked what her advice to other women is, she said, “Keep fighting… If you’re ever in this situation—like I’ve always said—never give up, never stop fighting. Keep pushing, keep fighting, because you are stronger than you think you are.”

Thomas-Jones is now in police custody. Local authorities captured him in less than 24 hours thanks to Alma’s decision to report him immediately. “It’s better to reach out to law enforcement sooner than later,” she said. “The sooner they have the information, the sooner they can catch that person.”