A Yellowknife North candidate, who says she fended off a violent attacker while jogging in B.C. last month, is using her story to prove to doubters that women running for office can be just as ‘badass’ as the men.
“Yeah, you bet and we can stand up to a lot of (expletive) and be just as tough, too,” said Jan Vallillee, when asked last week in a phone interview if a Sept. 8 Facebook post was intended to show that female candidates can handle the pressure of public life just as much as men can.
In the Facebook post, Vallillee recounts how she struck an unknown male attacker who jumped her in Victoria last month while she was visiting her mother and jogging on the Galloping Goose trail. The incident occurred, she said, when the man approached her from behind a bush and after he noticed she didn’t have an armband for her phone.
“A man jumped in front of me, grabbed me, then tried to steal my phone,” she wrote. “I warned him to back the (expletive) off. He did not listen. I fought back. I kneed him hard, then kicked him in the face while he was bent over, then punched him in the head/face multiple times. He ran off holding his sensitive bits and face because I broke either his jaw or nose.”
Vallillee gave a similar account in a phone interview and said at first he didn’t appear threatening. The encounter became physical when he got in front of her and grabbed her shoulders saying he wanted the phone. She reiterated in the interview that her strikes – “at least five” in number- were effective as a response when the man didn’t back off as she warned.
“I pulled my arm back a bit and stepped forward and kneed him in the balls as hard as I could and I clearly connected,” she said, adding he “buggered off” back into the bush holding his midsection.
Valllille stated in the Facebook post that a witness and her dog saw the exchange and approached her “five or six” seconds later. Although concerned for Vallillee’s well-being, the kind stranger called the move ‘badass,’ said the MLA candidate.
Vallillee said she was not injured during the encounter but she was quite shaken.
“The adrenaline was just boom, gone,” she said.
Vallillee said her ability to overcome the attacker was at least due in part to the fact that she is physically active in local sports – particularly in NWT broomball – and works outside a lot at her cabin. Most recently, she was part of the Robin’s Rebels CIBC Run for Our Lives Mud Run team, with the top fundraising team at the third annual event last week at the Yellowknife Ski Club.
Vallillee ended her post by stating that she was in good shape to take on all comers over the course of the campaign.
“I’m ready, I’m confident and I’ll fight (no violence) for all Northerners,” she wrote in the post.
The whole point, she added in an interview, was to insist that gender equality is important in the legislative assembly and once realized, will mean everyone can work collaboratively to get things done.