‘I feel like a survivor’: Woman uses iPhone SOS during Oceanfront rape attempt

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mobtkr23 May 2022Last Update : 1 month ago
‘I feel like a survivor’: Woman uses iPhone SOS during Oceanfront rape attempt

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Kelli Worst is a survivor, but it took her years to feel like one.

“It’s something that will always be with me, but I now feel more like a survivor than a victim,” she said.

Worst’s long journey to survival began on the sands of the Virginia Beach waterfront in the early morning hours of December 29, 2019. That morning, 22-year-old Najee Bullock lured her to the beach and attempted to sexually assault her. She made a series of smart decisions that ultimately saved her physically, but the emotional scars from that night were much harder to heal.

“I learned and I know now that the only reason for an assault is the attacker. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t ask for this to happen to me. No one is asking for this to happen” , she said.

Bullock pleaded guilty to abducting Worst with intent to defile her in December 2021. He was sentenced to 30 years including 15 years suspended – well above the recommended sentencing guidelines of 10 years and seven months in prison .

For worse, the heavy prison sentence looks like justice.

Kelli Worst’s advice to other survivors on healing and pursuing lawsuits:

“I understand why victims are afraid or unwilling to go through the legal process,” Worst said. “It was tough. But luckily I was in therapy, and I still am, and I got a lot of support. But it was tough to see him so many times in court.

It’s not just the years of therapy, the support of her loved ones and the pursuit of her abuser that have made Worst feel like a survivor. She didn’t realize it at the time, but she became a survivor of that terrible December night when she fought for her life on the sand.

“It took me a while to come to these realizations myself. I think it’s important for victims to go to therapy. I went through extensive therapy and learned to see those times when I did well because initially you just want to blame yourself,” she said.

The hours leading up to the attack were happy. The worst part was enjoying a Saturday night at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront with two good friends from high school. The girls stayed out until last call, drinking, dancing and enjoying each other’s company.

“To be honest, we just had fun. It was a really good girls night out,” Worst said.

Worst and his friends called Lyfts to pick them up after 2 a.m. For safety, one of Worst’s friends stayed with her until her Lyft arrived. The women said goodbye and went their separate ways.

“As far as she knows, I got in my Lyft, but as I grabbed the doorknob, that’s when this man [Bullock] approached me who looked normal and nice and asked me to help him find his phone,” Worst said.

Thinking she could help him quickly, Worst asked her Lyft driver to wait while she helped Bullock search for his iPhone.

“He said he was in the military and not from here, and I immediately thought of my brother, who is in the military,” Worst said. “I figured he was probably due to show up somewhere in the morning. He’s going to be in trouble if he doesn’t. I just felt bad for him and wanted to help him, and honestly, when he told me he was in the military, I felt a sense of security.

Worst and Bullock crossed the street, searching the bushes and grass for the iPhone. He gave her a number which she called several times, but no one answered. When she tried to enter the number in the Find My iPhone app, it was invalid.

Worst got distracted trying to find the iPhone, and Bullock drove her across the sand.

“I handed him my phone and said, ‘You’re typing it yourself, because either you’re not typing it right or I’m typing it wrong. Here you do,” she said. “And that’s when I finally had a bad feeling, because he was holding my phone and his hand had swiped the app, and he didn’t know how to navigate an iPhone.”

With one hand holding his iPhone, Bullock began making sexual gestures towards Worst with the other. Quickly thinking she needed to escape, Worst asked her to return her phone so she could try to call hers back. With her camera in hand, she tried to walk away.

“I turned around and walked away and probably walked away from him about 5 paces and that’s when he walked up to me and covered my mouth and nose and tackled me to the ground and pinned me face down in the sand,” she said.

She tried and failed to escape twice. The louder she screamed, the more Bullock pinned her to the ground. That’s when she made the decision to use a feature on her iPhone to get help.

“I still had my phone in my right hand, so I activated the SOS feature by holding down the side button and the power button, then swiping on it, so from then on 911 could hear everything that was going on,” Worst said. .

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Activate SOS function on iPhone

Depending on the phone model, there are two ways to call emergency services by activating the SOS feature on an iPhone.

On an iPhone 8 or newer:

  • Press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons until the SOS slider appears on your screen. Then, swipe the slider to call 911.
  • If you hold down the buttons but don’t drag the slider, an emergency alert will sound and a countdown will begin. Then the iPhone will automatically call 911.

On an iPhone 7 or earlier:

  • Quickly press the side or top button five times until the SOS slider appears on your screen. Then, swipe the slider to call 911.

You can also update your settings to provide an emergency contact. When the SOS device is activated, your emergency contact will receive an SMS with your current location.

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A 911 dispatcher was on the line, listening to Worst as she begged Bullock not to hurt her. Worst tried to give the dispatcher as many clues as possible, telling Bullock she didn’t want to go near the ocean so officers would know she was on the beach. Later, the police would tell Worst that his clues led them to the sand instead of a nearby hotel they were originally going to check out.

“He told me he had a knife. He said: ‘I don’t want to have to use it. I just want to attack you. Just let me masturbate and I’ll let you go,” Worst said.

Worst isn’t sure if Bullock saw his phone screen or heard the dispatcher on the phone, but he picked up his iPhone and hung up on 911.

“At that point, I honestly thought I could die here,” Worst said.

Just then, officers from the Virginia Beach Police Department arrived at the scene, the lights of their police cruiser illuminating the beach. Bullock took her phone and ran north across the sand, while Worst told an officer she had been attacked.

“It was like a moment of, I finally knew I was going to be okay,” she said.

“My phone in my hand and knowing how to activate the SOS function is what saved my life,” she added.

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Activate SOS function on Android

To activate the Emergency SOS function on Android, you must first activate it in the settings. To activate the SOS function, you must:

  • Press the power button at least five times quickly.
  • The SOS feature will automatically send first responders your phone’s location when you dial or text an emergency number.

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Worst survived thanks to his quick thinking and his phone’s SOS function, but stepping off the beach that night was just the start of a long road to recovery.

Over the next three years, Worst worked hard in therapy to come to terms with the shame she felt related to the assault. She also appeared in court several times and testified against Bullock in a preliminary hearing before he pleaded guilty to assaulting her.

“Justice was finally served, as long as it took, but I had to be present at many hearings. I had to testify against him during the preliminary trial. I had to do hard things,” she said.

Over time, Worst began to think of herself as a survivor. She hopes that telling her story will allow other survivors to share theirs.

“I hope telling my story will inspire other victims to tell their story, whether it’s to a therapist, to someone. It helps to share, because at first it feels like a secret burden , as if you were ashamed,” she said.

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