#REALTALK

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - CULTURE CRUSH -

I told him, “Don’t con­tact me, I don’t want to see you again.”

‘On Sun­day night, 30 Oc­to­ber, I got home from be­ing out with my fam­ily and was shocked to see him wait­ing for me at my house. I was scared – he was de­mand­ing to collect some of his stuff, so I gave it to him and told him to leave the prop­erty and never re­turn.

‘Af­ter that, he sent me threat­en­ing text mes­sages, say­ing I wasn’t safe in my own home, that he wasn’t sure what he would do. He told me he had stolen my keys. I looked at my key chain – some were miss­ing. Ter­ri­fied, I went next door to my neigh­bours’ house, whom I didn’t know very well at all be­sides say­ing hi on oc­ca­sion. They took me in, calm­ing me down while we waited for the po­lice to ar­rive. That night I filed for a re­strain­ing order and went to a fam­ily mem­ber’s place.

‘The next day I went back to work, but I was still scared. I had a feel­ing some­thing bad was go­ing to hap­pen, but still I kept telling my­self, “You’re be­ing ridicu­lous. Be ra­tio­nal. He knows there’s a re­strain­ing order. He’s go­ing to leave you alone.”

‘By Thurs­day, I needed to feed my cat and get some clothes, so I thought I could duck home quickly dur­ing the day be­fore go­ing back to my fam­ily mem­ber’s place. When I got home, I put on the TV and ate din­ner. Part of me was think­ing, “Screw you! This is my home!”

‘I’d al­ready re­moved the locks and door­knobs that he had the keys to.

As I opened my bed­room door, Paul jumped out from in­side my closet. I screamed and he grabbed me and put his hand over my mouth. He was look­ing into my eyes and said, “I just want to talk. If you stay quiet, I won’t hurt you.” His eyes looked crazy and he had a knife in his pocket.

‘He or­dered me into the bed­room and told me to sit on the bed. Then he started in­ter­ro­gat­ing me, ask­ing me, “Where have you been? You haven’t been stay­ing at the house.” I said I was at work; he replied, “I was at the hos­pi­tal, I didn’t see you.” I thought maybe I could buy my­self some time if I used the bath­room. He let me use the loo, but with the door open. I had my phone and I thought, “Do I dare call the po­lice?”

‘But then I thought, “He’ll see for sure, and then I’m a goner.” The whole time I was think­ing, “How can I call for help? No­body’s com­ing to help me!” I sat back on the bed while he con­tin­ued to in­ter­ro­gate me. Some­how I man­aged to work my way to the edge of the bed so I was closer to the door. It be­came very ap­par­ent to me that he wasn’t just go­ing to let me go. He seemed very ag­i­tated and an­gry, and I didn’t know what he was ca­pa­ble of. It got to a point where I thought, “I can’t wait to find out – I have to run for it, or die try­ing.”

‘I made a run for the door, but he caught me. He grabbed me and that’s when I saw the blood from him stab­bing me – I didn’t re­ally feel it at all. I fell to the ground and tried to put pres­sure on my wounds. I strug­gled to stand up. Next thing I knew, he’d grabbed me again and started pour­ing petrol over my head, which was in­tense. Luck­ily, though, I think it made me slip­pery enough that I was able to break free from his grasp. I grabbed the edge of a ban­is­ter and swung my­self around it so I didn’t slip, and then I ran for it. When I ran out­side, I saw my neigh­bour stand­ing there. He’d heard me scream­ing and had run to his car to grab a metal bar be­fore com­ing over to the house. I col­lapsed, but man­aged to tell him how to at­tend to my wounds.

[COSMO note: Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, af­ter An­gela es­caped, Paul sped off in his car to a town about 150km away, where he was cor­nered by po­lice. They tasered him as he lunged at them with the knife, then fatally shot him.]

MOV­ING ON

‘In terms of heal­ing, I’m still get­ting there. I have scars and scar tis­sue that aches. He stabbed me 11 times in to­tal – six times in my legs, once in my hip, once in my back, and three times in my fore­arm and hand. Men­tally, some days are bet­ter than oth­ers. My fam­ily and friends have been amaz­ing, and go­ing back to work re­ally helped. I’ve also been see­ing a psy­chol­o­gist, who has re­ally helped me.

‘Lately, night­mares have be­come an is­sue. I dream that I run out of the house and no-one is there. He haunts me. I have felt what it’s like to ex­pe­ri­ence vi­o­lence. It needs to stop. So in Septem­ber, I’ll hike 65km of the Lara­p­inta Trail in Aus­tralia with my dad and brother as a spir­i­tual heal­ing jour­ney, and I’m hop­ing to raise money for White Rib­bon [an Aus­tralian cam­paign to end vi­o­lence against women]. I be­lieve what hap­pened to me hap­pened for a rea­son, and I’m try­ing to make some good come from it. I try to fo­cus on that.’ ■ If you’re in im­me­di­ate dan­ger, call  10111. Call Life­line on 0800 150 150 for help and ad­vice.

An­gela’s quick think­ing kept her alive

An­gela is de­ter­mined to help end vi­o­lence against women

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