SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) — Kortney Blatter is like most teenage girls. She loves traveling, fun food, photography, music and adventure.
She planned a fun summer in Italy with her friend, Kaylee Drennan, but she didn’t plan on being attacked.
When Blatter and Drennan weren’t working as nannies, they explored Europe together.
“My friend Kaylee and I decided to go to Naples over the weekend because we had some free time,” said Blatter. “So we were traveling there and we were getting back from an excursion that day. Our train ended up being late. When we got to Naples, it was pitch dark.”
The two teens were walking down a dark, narrow road when Kortney started feeling antsy.
“You know that sudden realization you’re like, ‘OK, something is not right,'” said Blatter.
Kortney pulled out her Defense Alert Device (D.A.D.) just in case.
“I was 17 (years old),” said Blatter. “She was 19 (years old). We’re very young. First time I’ve lived alone outside my house, let alone on a different continent.”
Her instincts proved right.
“Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man come running at us full speed,” said Blatter.
Kortney dodged the man, but Kaylee was distracted by her phone.
“He grabbed her around the neck with one hand and with the other hand he grabbed her arm,” said Blatter. “They were struggling. Kaylee screamed so loud.”
Blatter believes the D.A.D. saved their lives. Through the touch of a button, Kortney sprayed red pepper spray and sent out an alert to family and friends.
“I was really traumatized,” said Blatter. “I was crying. I had 26 missed calls from my mom because she had gotten the alert as soon as I pressed the button, that I was in danger.”
Michael Teig is the co-creator fo the Defense Alert Device. He is the President and CEO of TigerLight, Inc.
“I know they could have been dead,” said Teig. “They could have been raped. They could have been who knows what.”
Blatter says she felt more confident with a non-lethal weapon.
“If I had a gun or a knife in my backpack that night and I had felt in danger, I don’t think I would have had the courage to take out a gun and hold it in my hand,” said Blatter. “I’m not going to do that.”
“Naples has a very high (rate) of human trafficking,” said Teig. “There was a group of men standing there watching this. So why didn’t they help? Were they in on it?”
There are still many unanswered questions, but many lessons learned.
“If I come and grab her and she turns into me, the first thing I’d tell her is ‘take the eyes out of my head,'” said Teig. “We teach how to remove an eyeball from a head.”
Teig says he was tired of people living in fear, so he took action to help.
“There are just too many people who want to take your rights away,” said Teig. “I’m tired of giving away free DADs to girls who have been raped. I’m very tired of it. It just tears me up.”
Teig encourages people to supplement the device with self-defense training.
“If she didn’t have the device in her hand, she would grab her own wrist and rip it up against my thumb,” said Teig. “I can’t hold that, but if she just tries to take her hand away, she’s probably not going to be able to do that.”
Teig says weight, gender or height doesn’t matter; as long as you train for the worst, you can win.
“If I’m in this position, she’s got to use her feet. Her feet are powerful,” said Teig.
Teig teaches cutthroat techniques such as leveraging weight and escaping choke holds.
“My muscles and skin she can manipulate down,” said Teig. “Then she can… escape.”
Teig says if there’s a will there’s a way to survive.
To learn more about the Defense Alert Device, click here.
To sign up for self-defense classes, click here.
To hear other stories of survival, click here.