My name is Rachel Layer and on September 21, 2013 my life changed forever when a man broke into my home through my bathroom window and attacked me from behind as I was reading a book on my couch. I should have been raped, killed or both that night, but instead I was able to fight my attacker off and escape without serious injury.  The fear of what almost happened that night is no longer with me.  The gratitude that I have for being alive fuels my heart and mind and has helped me find purpose in what happened.  

I hope to tell my story to as many people as possible to raise awareness of the violence that occurs against women and to stress the critical importance of being able to defend yourself.  I am blessed beyond measure to not have been hurt or killed that night and I will not let this second chance slip by.

This picture was taken one week after the attack when I was running a half marathon. My thoughts that entire race were simply "Thank you, thank you that I am here today, thank you that I am running free from injury, thank you that my mind, body and heart were not broken that night, thank you".  I have waken up everyday since that night consumed in gratitude to be alive and uninjured.

This picture was taken one week after the attack when I was running a half marathon. My thoughts that entire race were simply “Thank you, thank you that I am here today, thank you that I am running free from injury, thank you that my mind, body and heart were not broken that night, thank you”. I have waken up everyday since that night consumed in gratitude to be alive and uninjured.

34 thoughts on “Purpose

  1. Thank you one day I will send you a message on Facebook so you know who I am I was never raped but they messed around with me I even thought about calling the law in at one time when I worked there I didn’t have the bosses to go to for they did it to others as well like grabbing others and the company even held my check on me for a week until I had to get the labor department involved the company was trying to get me to sign a paper that I voluntarily quit, when that was not so I was forced to quit I even had a lawyer but when I found out by an employee there that I met one day at the roadrunner gas station on the Bristol why he told me suit and tie guys came in and took care of it that the bosses were no longer there well I told the attorney not to sue for the problem was taken care of and it was not about money it was about justice well long story short I was lied to because me and my mom a few years later bought something at the store and we had to pick it up at the warehouse were it took place well I was okay at first but when I saw the boss was still there I melted I panicked I knew I was lies to so I wouldn’t sue them for millions of dollars now I wish I had for it took my life away from me even though we still shop at the store every time I go there I wish I could see one or more of the ones there for I would get my justice then I may spend a few nights in jail but what time I do they would stay in the hospital thanks to grand furniture company warehouse in gray TN for screwing my life up but thank you Rachel your in my prayers as well

  2. Rachel I heard a little about you on the news the other day here in Johnson City TN first I would like to say I am proud of you I know your pain I know your fears for I to was sexually assaulted I was held down against my will and I’m a guy but yet I couldn’t do anything to help myself until they let me go it was a bunch of employees that worked around me in gray tn I have been on disability for several years I have severe anexity and panic attacks counselor just told me I have ptsd post traumatic stress disorder I was 19 or so when it happened I am 42 now it changed my life I want to be married but I’m scared of life I to took martial arts to better myself and if I ever got the chance to teach women I would for no matter who it is no one deserves to have it happen to them I’m proud of you Rachel if you ever need a friend that understands them I’m here


      Hi Charles,
      I am so sorry to hear what you have endured. I was extremely lucky to be able to get away from my attacker, two women a few days later were not as lucky and were raped by him. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that you are able to find peace and healing soon.


    Thank you for the best wishes. I agree, many people do not want to discuss the problem with violence against women and all that it entails at many levels. Thank you for the support!


    Thank you, I hope you exceed your goal in the Burpee World Record!

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. Where can I take a self-defense class? I would like to get my sister, niece and her daughter to take the class with me.


      Hi Linda, thank you so much for contacting me. I take boxing with Garret O’Sullivan at Lodus Boxing in downtown Johnson City, I will also be taking one of Amanda Worley’s RAD classes this spring that is offered for free to the public. Both Garret and Amanda are AWESOME, please look into both of their classes.

  6. Rachel, YOU are a source of inspiration to me. It’s good to see a young person with the strong sense of self and purpose that you live with. Your message is important. Keep up the good work!
    Love, Gerry

  7. Rachel, I certainly admire your strength both physically and mentally, but most of all I admire your desire to speak out against this type of abuse. Not only are you an asset as a runner, but more so as person who takes action to combat the ills of this world. Rick

  8. So proud of you Rach! Awesome stuff! You’re certainly an inspiration! Keep on keepin’ on and thanks for always helping me through!

  9. I’m very proud of you. You always inspired me and your Mom. She would be so happy to see how you’ve grown. Love Ya Baby. You Da Best

  10. So proud of one of my best friends for having the courage and desire to share her stories. Being a young woman living alone is scary, but we never thought it would happen to one of us. Luckily for your external and internal strength, you were able to rise above and turn a negative experience into a positive effort to reach out to others. You are beautiful and strong, and an inspiration to many.

    “For the man sound of body and serene of mind, there is no such thing as bad weather. Everyday has it’s beauty, and storms which whip the blood do, but make it pulse more vigorously.”
    -George Gissing

  11. Rach! Sending love from k town from the goldmans and the holtz clan. WE LOVE YOU!


      Thank you Meredith for always being there for me and walking right beside me through some of the hardest moments, I love you and cannot wait to celebrate your Birthday with you tomorrow!!

  12. Your strength & courage is contagious! Keep on keeping on! I’m so proud of you♥

  13. So happy you are okay. Self defence classes on your list?


      Hi Donna, Yep I take self defense and boxing with Garret O’Sullivan at Lodus Boxing. I’ll be posting some videos of the sessions that I do with him, as well as working with RAD instructors. Thank you for the support and checking out the blog!

  14. Rachel, you are so amazing! So positive and you exude happiness and strength! The world is a better place with you in it. Love ya, girl! So proud of you and everything you represent.

  15. Wow Rachel, I had no idea!!! But it certainly doesn’t surprise me about your strength and will for life!! I’m so thankful you were not harmed and your blogging will be an inspiration to other women that might have endured a similar experience, and also for women in general!! Thank you for blogging!! Miss you bunches!!!

  16. Rachel I remember getting that text from you early morning and talking to you shortly after it all happened. You are truly one of the strongest people I know. Your love for life and the world are amazing! You are truly living a life your mom would be proud of and I know she’s watching over you. Love you girl!


      Thank you for always supporting me and being an awesome friend, Mandie! You have no idea how much it helped talking to you the night of the attack. I love you and can’t wait to see you soon.

  17. Rachel Woolford

    Rachel – you are truly an inspiration. We need more people in this world with your strength and conviction. Thoughts and prayers to you on this journey!

  18. You are truly inspirational

  19. Rachel – you site is fantastic! You’re truly living life on purpose and I’m happy to watch you thrive in the process. You’re in it to win it!


      Thank you, Pam! Your support and friendship mean so much to me! Thank you for ALWAYS being there for me and being my friend, mentor, confidant and Oliver’s god mother 🙂

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