SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A survivor of a violent crime is turning trauma into empowerment. Courtney Lyles was one of several women that were reportedly sexually assaulted January 1 in Spartanburg as part of an alleged crime spree. But she’s not letting that day define her and is now helping others overcome obstacles of their own.
A glimpse of Courtney Lyles in her element.
“I love it and I love seeing other people transform,” said Owner of Fit & Curvy By Caramel, Courtney Lyles.
She’s a personal trainer and now, proud owner of her business called Fit & Curvy by Caramel in Spartanburg.
“I couldn’t allow being raped to determine this career that I built for myself,” said Lyles.
She was one of a handful of women who were reportedly sexually assaulted on New Year’s Day in the Cedar Springs community of Spartanburg. She was working at a gym in that area when it all happened.
“He pulled a gun from his waist and he cocked the gun back. I immediately said, ‘boy ain’t nobody got no money’,” Lyles explained.
Lyles said she and her client were the only ones in the building when the man came in and told them to go to the back of the building.
“He continued to use his hand to caress me on the side of my face, I almost knew instantly what was getting ready to happen because this is a young boy, he didn’t have any fear. It didn’t matter how much I tried to convince him,” Lyles said.
Then she told us, they were sexually assaulted.
In addition to therapy, she found something therapeutic of her own to focus on.
She started her own personal training in the comfort of her home. From there, she told 7 News it has grown into something much more.
“It was bare, I didn’t have any carpet. I didn’t have any ceiling tiles, I didn’t have anything,” said Lyles.
Not only has she moved into space located at 1600 John B. White Senior Boulevard in Spartanburg, but she has also taken the training to a virtual platform.
Her mission going forward, helping others overcome their own personal obstacles.
“It was the worst thing to happen to me but all of this flourished from it,” Lyles told 7 News.
The business has already been up and running, however a grand opening is scheduled for October 3. To learn more about her business, you can find the Facebook page here:
The suspect in this case is Jamal Smith, 19. His bond was denied back in January. The Spartanburg County Solicitor’s Office told us his case is still pending.