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Fault lines

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 01 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:0405199
  1. Anonymous

A survivor of a multiple sexual assault talks “around” her experience and how it has affected her life

I had an argument with my best friend (one of the few people who knows) when I told her I was writing this article. “For God sake, make sure you are anonymous,” she said.

I was probably going to make that a prerequisite of writing this anyway but her attitude upset me. Why? Because she implied that I had done something wrong; something to be ashamed of; something that will ruin my reputation and hamper my career if anyone ever found out about it. But I don't blame her. That is what I think. So what am I talking about? It is difficult for me to say--but here goes.

Conspiring circumstances

Circumstances conspired so that I was out on my own in a foreign capital city late at night. Of course I should have known better, of course I should have thought twice about it. But I was a junior doctor and champion athlete in my early 20s enjoying a walk in an exciting city--I was invincible.

Three men and a knife in a back alley suddenly changed that forever. I am not saying any more about it. I can't. Since it happened, my mind refuses to go there--self survival I guess. So I am sorry to disappoint you if you want any graphic details, but I am sure you get the picture.


Afterwards I remember lying there thinking I was dead. When I realised that what had happened wasn't just a nightmare so I wouldn't wake up and life would go back to normal--I wished I was dead. …

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