SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – 7 News spoke with a woman who police say was sexually assaulted at her workplace last week.
The incident happened at the Domino’s on Southport Road in the Cedar Springs community on Wednesday.
The woman told 7 News she had to leave town for a few days after what happened to her. She said the terrifying encounter changed her life forever and that the worst part was knowing she wasn’t the only victim.
“There was nothing I could do. Couldn’t call 911 because he’s right at the front of my store,” the victim said.
Wednesday, January 1, was a day that started off the same as any other day for this woman, but she said it quickly turned into her worst nightmare.
The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, was working at Domino’s in Cedar Springs when a man wearing a hoodie walked in.
“He didn’t look normal, because he did have his hood up, but we’re not supposed to profile customers,” the victim said. “We treat everyone the same.”
And that’s exactly what she did. But she said the man she treated like a customer, Jamal Smith, pulled out a gun.
“He forced me to the walk-in cooler. I prayed for my children the whole time because I wanted to make sure I got to them,” she said. “I said ‘This is not how I’m supposed to go.'”
She told 7 News the man robbed her then sexually assaulted her. She said she felt helpless.
“When he asked me to do one thing, I looked at him and I said, ‘Come on, man.’ And that’s when he put the gun to my temple and pushed it into my head and said I’m going to do what he tells me. So, I did,” she said. “I tried to be as calm as I could. I knew that if I freaked out, he would shoot me. If I ran, he would shoot me. If I screamed, he would shoot me. So, I just did everything he told me to do.”
She told 7 News she felt like she couldn’t escape.
“It lasted ten minutes or less, total, from beginning to end,” she said. “It seemed like it was about twelve hours.”
But thanks to a customer, only known as Mr. Anderson, who walked in the store, she said she was finally able to get away.
“I don’t even know if he knows what kind of a hero he is,” the victim said.
Police told 7 News the man accused of sexually assaulting this woman assaulted another woman at a nearby gym and robbed another business in the same parking lot at gunpoint–all in the span of about six hours.
Now, the victim says she wants to see some change to prevent anyone else in her position from having to go through what she went through.
“If I would have had a panic button then the worst part of it would not have happened,” she said.
And she has a message for the man who assaulted her.
“I really hope that he gets to know the Lord. And I hope, one day, he really knows what he did and he apologizes,” she said. “And I have to work toward forgiveness, which will be very hard. It’ll take me some time, but I’m a survivor. I’m strong.”
Jamal Smith was arrested in connection to the reported sexual assaults and armed robberies in the Cedar Springs community.