By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It happened many years ago, but a Dallas mother remembers the terrifying moments when a stranger attacked her like it was yesterday.

What made it worse for Linda Jackson was that her children were with her during the attack. But what could have been a breaking point in her life, instead, made her stronger.

Linda Jackson started working out at the gym. Tired of seeing the same faces and having to wait for machines, she decided to work out of the garage…of her Uptown Dallas office building where she’s a receptionist.

It’s no ordinary workout. But then again, Linda Jackson is no ordinary woman. “I was raped, stabbed and beaten,” Jackson said in a matter of fact tone.

It happened, she said, a little over 30 years ago. She was lying down inside her apartment with three of her young children when she says a stranger broke into her bedroom.

She say the youngest child was only six months old. It was December.

“We had been baking cookies and all laid down to take a nap. They were in bed with me,” Jackson said.
Jackson fought off her attacker with the children nearby. “They were listening to me scream and holler and fight.
They did exactly what I taught them to do. ‘Pretend you’re asleep. Don’t move,'” Jackson said.

Those were terrifying moments of helplessness. But Linda Jackson turned them into strength over the years.
And now, at the age of 57, she is in the best shape of her life.

“I’m not afraid of anything now,” Jackson said. She’s got the biceps to prove it.
Linda Jackson works out five days a week, 90 minutes at a time. If she saw her attacker now, she says she could “definitely whup him.”

“I promise, I have forgiven him. I had to, to be able to go on with my life. But okay, If I had to, I could beat the whey out of him. “W-H-E-Y. Beat the whey out of him,” Jackson said.

Linda Jackson said her attacker was never caught. But, she has a strong faith in God. “A really, really, really strong faith in God,” Jackson said. And she has found peace through the strength that comes from her workouts.
“It keeps me calm. It keeps me calm,” Jackson said.

Linda Jackson also earned her certificate as a Master Fitness Specialist. She now now helps friends reach their fitness goals.

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