The Hope Cottage, a Low Country rape crisis center, says its phones were ringing off the hook when two women were raped in Hardeeville and Bluffton. Then it died down a little. But once police linked those rapes with the Savannah-area serial rapist, the lines began lighting up again.
Last night, they held a meeting to teach local women some self-defense moves. They're moves no one wants to have to use. But with a serial rapist on the loose, women aren't taking any chances.
"It's because of the rapist and our daily lives," said participant Williemae Perry.
When it comes to self-defense, no exercise is too hard. "I'm looking for ways to protect myself. I don't want to feel vulnerable," said Kim Schidrick, who hopes what she learned last night will one day help her four-year-old daughter.
"I want her to grow up not scared, but being prepared, and I want to show her a few moves for fun now, but I want her to be able to protect herself."
But regardless of what maneuvers these women choose to take with them, officials with Hope Cottage want them to always remember to be on their toes.
"The number one thing they can do is be aware of their surroundings," said the center's Gail Gardner. "If something feels strange, trust your gut and get away."
Police throughout the Coastal Empire and Low Country are still looking for this rapist. If you have any information, please call the serial rapist tip line at 1.800.525.7175.