Bloody attack on cult band singer shows resilience against violent crime

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn — She was brutally attacked while walking home at night, but the lead singer of an alternative band with a large cult following says that her case shows how, and why, people — especially women — can overcome violence.

Haley Dahl is the founder and frontwoman of Sloppy Jane, a band that’s created a devoted following in part because of its intense live performances, wide-ranging instrumentation, and Dahl’s strong, in-your-face vocals and presence.

One thing she is not known for is being bloodily injured, but that’s exactly what happened to her in the early morning hours last Tuesday.

“I was really freaked out,” she said about the attack that happened after she’d gotten off the G train at the Broadway station here, headed to a friend’s apartment.

It was around 1:30 A.M., a time of the morning in which she’d been out walking alone many times before. This time, however, was dangerously different.

Suddenly, a man overtook her, knocking the phone on which she’d been talking out of her hands. He demanded her valuables, and told her not to scream.

“I screamed, and didn't give him my stuff,” at least at first, she said in an interview. That’s when, in an instant, she said, the attacker pulled out a knife, and used it.

“It took me a while to realize he was actually slashing me,” said Dahl.

Once she did realize what had happened — she spotted a passerby, and asked her to call 911 — she was bleeding from slash wounds across her face, down her left shoulder, and across her right hand.

“It looked really bad,” she told PIX11 News. “Mostly what I noticed was my hand was split open.”

She ended up needing 46 stitches.

Nonetheless, Dahl, 24, put the attack in perspective.

“I worked at a strip club for a really long time,” she said. “There are people who work at places like that where violence at the hands of men is regular.”

“There isn't anything this person could've done to me that would be the worst thing to happen to me,” Dahl continued.

She said that she's well aware that the crime that happened to her occurs more frequently to women who aren’t in her demographic.

Women of color, for instance, are attacked at a higher rate, according to the Justice Department.

Still, the frontwoman of an alternative band who's moving ahead with her next project — an album to be recorded in a West Virginia cave — said that she hopes her experience, and her reaction to it, is something from which other people can find strength.

“It's insane to not live your life because you're scared that something will happen,” Dahl told PIX11 News.

“If you listen to everybody who tells you to stay inside,” she continued, “that’s how the people who really want to hurt you win.”

As for her attacker, she wants him to get arrested and punished, but she also showed compassion toward him.

“This is a person who has been robbed of who they are, essentially,” said Dahl, “and [he] doesn’t see the humanity of other people. And that’s just horrible.”

The robbery in which Dahl was attacked remains an open case.

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