Maudell Grayson has a message for women: Don't ignore the warning signs in your relationships.
Grayson, owner of Dell'z Deli at 1 Cannon St., said women should follow their intuition, those feelings inside that say something is not quite right. Listen to them. She didn't, and she has 39 stitches to show for it.
Grayson, 46, was stabbed multiple times Oct. 18 while on her way from work to her mom's West Ashley home. Police are searching for the alleged attacker -- someone she knew, an ex-boyfriend she had broken up with two weeks before.
Headed home alone
About 9:55 p.m., Grayson had just left her sandwich shop downtown and was headed home alone. She was getting out of her car on Boeing Avenue when a man jumped on her back and starting punching her. He stabbed her nine times in the right arm and back and threatened to kill her, said her daughter, Nicole, a psychology student at the College of Charleston and Trident Tech.
"It was the scariest thing that ever happened to me in my life," Grayson said. Even now when she goes home at night she envisions the ordeal over and over again.
She said her attacker was an old friend who had come back into her life about a year ago. She remembered him as a nice guy with a great personality who would do anything for you. They started dating, and he would help out around her small but popular wrap shop she co-owns with her son, Michael.
Despite her fond memories, Grayson said she soon began to see some uncomfortable signs -- jealousy and anger -- but she made excuses, something women tend to do a lot. "As women, we tend to overlook things. ... 'Oh, he did not mean anything by that.' "
The ordeal has not made Grayson bitter though. "I can't hate anyone." However, she is careful and instinctive, especially since the man is still on the lam.
A Texas native who was raised in the church ("I pray and meditate every day"), she is thankful to be alive. "When things happen, you have to forgive and keep going. If you hold on to it, you will make yourself sick."
She does want him to be caught, however, and get help. "You can't go around doing that to people."
She said she has received so much love and well wishes from everyone, family friends and customers. She is still in some pain but is mending.
Charleston police have issued a warrant charging David Israel Smith, 33, of Sothel Avenue with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. He is described as a black male, 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds. South Carolina is among the most violent states in America for women. A Violence Policy Center report released this year showed the state ranked No. 7 in the nation for the rate of women killed by men.
For help or information, women can call a 24-hour crisis line for My Sister's House at 744-3242.