"Statistically, it will happen to a third of us, and where I grew up, that "us" was girls under 16, not just women in general.
So it wasn't a huge surprise that it happened to me. I guess it's lucky that I knew what my odds were, and that Flight and Freeze had both been burned out of me years before. I remember being angry - How dare anyone interrupt my life!
Initially, when a stranger tapped me on the shoulder, I thought he was a beggar. Poverty and begging are common in the poorer areas, after all. Then he stabbed me, and told me he "just wanted sex."
I have yet to figure out what the hell that had to do with me.
Still, how dare anyone attempt to cause the kind of disruption to my present and future that rape would entail!
Especially as the odds were overwhelming that he had AIDS, and was desperate enough to believe the rumour that sex with a white girl would cure it.
I was 15. I wasn't ready to die. I defaulted to Fight.
I remember thinking very clearly that no-one was close enough to hear to me scream, so shouting for help wasn't a viable option. The beach was fine sand, so not fantastic footing. Still, I was carrying my shoes, which could be used to emphasise a slap in the face. He stank of alcohol and weed (and sweat and urine) so I was probably in better physical and mental shape at that moment.
I managed to twist around, so he couldn't reach my breasts or fly as easily. He ripped my shirt open and stabbed me repeatedly in the back. I swore in Latin (a habit at the time) and I don't know if he thought I was cursing him, or was just trying to work out what I'd said, but his grip on my arm slackened enough for me to tear away and run, faster than I think I ever have, and certainly faster on fine sand that I'd thought possible.
It's funny how life likes to balance. I tore down the beach, blood from the neck down, until I couldn't breathe. There was a young couple, and I ruined their romantic walk when he asked me if anything was wrong. I would never have trusted him if he hadn't been with her, but they promptly took me to her parents, who drove me - with all of them - back to where my family was staying. All I could think about was to worry about bleeding on their pristine leather seats. I can't remember thanking them - it's the one thing I regret about it all.
My father took me to the police and the hospital - I wanted him rather than my mother because I thought the authorities would take him more seriously.
The doctor on call stitched up all the wounds he found: clavicle, sternum (bone deep, and luckily so. Slightly to the side and there would have been no bone and that would have been an end to it), back - a bloody colander. I don't know and he didn't count how many stab wounds there.
Somehow we all missed the one on my hip, which probably wouldn't have scarred if stitched. I'm not sure if my back bears any lasting marks.
These days, I don't really think about it, unless the scars or the reason for them crop up. I have to be careful around certain types of male aggression. I have to be careful about the clothes I wear - bone deep wounds tend to leave lasting tissue damage.
I still react with fury over fear, and I still default to Fight - I probably always will. After all, it's why I'm still here."