د . إAEDSRر . س

‘I Stared Death In The Eye, Fighting Back As He Tried To Strangle Me And Rape Me’

Article Featured Image

In the wake of the brutal Paulina Dembska murder, one Maltese singer and songwriter has opened up about her own harrowing experience 30 years ago.

The experience left her unable to “trust” any male bystanders she’d come across in public, even influencing her career later on in her life, Fiona Cauchi told Lovin Malta.

“Every time there is a rape case, the picture comes up again. It’s just a memory now; but I have been watching my back for 30 years,” she said, recounting an incident that happened to her in Malta when she was 14 years old.

“I looked vulnerable at 14 but thankfully I had the balls to fight back. Malta wasn’t any safer back then. He could’ve killed me and nobody would’ve noticed,” she said.

The incident goes back to 1992, when Fiona was a schoolgirl, getting off the bus a few stops earlier, a few hundred metres away from her school, the Times of Malta reported.

As she was walking alone, she heard someone running behind her. She turned to look and saw a man she had never seen before running towards her.

“I felt uneasy, and I increased my pace. But before I knew it, he pounced on me and threw me face-first on the rough ground. It was such a heavy thump that my glasses flew off my face.”

Her covered her mouth before she could scream, and she fought and struggled as he pushed her into the ground, reaching to remove her underwear under her skirt.

“I realised what he was trying to do, and I crossed my legs and pressed them together really hard, so he wouldn’t be able to get in.”

“I used to cycle back then so my legs were strong, and thankfully I was wearing cycling pants that made it really hard for him to do anything. I don’t know from where I mustered the strength that day.”

Then, he began strangling her.

Realising the fight Fiona was putting in, the man began to strangle her.

“It seemed like he was trying to choke me to unconsciousness so that I stop being restless and he could rape me. He was choking me so hard I felt my eyeballs were going to pop out of my head. My entire life was flashing before my eyes.”

“I stared death in the eye. I was already imagining myself dead, but I dug my nails into his flesh and fought on.”

Totally alone, Fiona desperately grabbed at the man’s gold necklace and ripped it off, leading him to stop the attack. She ran to school as fast as she could, “with soil in my mouth and hair”, where her fellow students where shocked to see the state she was in.

Fiona Cauchi today

Fiona Cauchi today

The ordeal changed her behaviour forever.

Fiona said she would cross the road for years after the incident if there was a suspicious male walking on her side of the road. She even ended up getting a job that looked into cases of abuse in society, a legacy of the incident that marked her youth.

She praised the police for their work after the incident, as the attacker was caught and identified However, she was left disgusted by the judiciary system after the man ended up walking free due to having an alibi.

“I don’t know how I survived the ordeal but it marked me for the rest of my life,” she ended. “Needless to say the aggressor is on the loose still. Not many have had it easy like me. And no, we women are not safe. Not then, not now.”

Photos credit: Fiona Cauchi

Have you or a loved one ever experienced an ordeal like this? Speak to Lovin Malta in confidence by emailing [email protected] or [email protected]

READ NEXT: COVID-19 Hurt Our Mental Health… But Here’s What We Can Do About It

Johnathan is interested in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes dark realities late capitalist society forces upon us all. He also likes food and music. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

You may also love

View All