For any mom who breastfeeds in public, this story is definitely going to give you chills. A 39-year-old Manhattan mother was mugged while breastfeeding her baby in Fort Tryon Park last Friday.
Elena Sobina was sharing a sweet moment with her 6-month-old when she felt someone standing behind her around 5:30 p.m., stating:
“I was very relaxed. I wouldn’t even think about anything like that. I had my phone in my right hand and then I felt somebody standing behind me very close. I turned my head and the guy grabbed my shoulder near my neck.”
What happened next makes our skin crawl. She and her baby were thrown to the ground, and there was a man coming toward her with a knife in his hand; her baby started crying, and had a scratch on her lip. Sobina did the only thing she could–she told the man to take her purse and leave them alone, saying:
“I saw him from when I was on the ground and he had a knife in his right hand. He started to come toward me and I started to scream, ‘Help me! Help me!’ He didn’t say anything, so I wasn’t sure what he wanted. I thought he wanted to kill me and the baby. So I started to scream to him, ‘Please take my money and the bag.'”
Thankfully, her attacker took her bag and ran away without further injuring mother and child. Sobina then ran into a stranger who called 911 for her. Because of the tracking app feature on her iPhone, police were able to find her attacker, Juan Garcia, who has been charged with robbery, criminal possession of stolen property and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
As a result, Sobina stated how she won’t be breastfeeding outside anytime soon, “I’m trying not to breast-feed outside anymore. [My husband’s] idea was to get a dog.”
It breaks our hearts that this incident has tainted public breastfeeding for her–no mother should ever feel that she isn’t safe with her child, especially in such a vulnerable and intimate moment as nursing.