It’s a feeling familiar to many, especially women: feeling unsafe in public. Most women have experienced the discomfort of being leered at or even heckled. And in extreme cases, this can lead to assault. A Russian woman experienced one such assault — and decided to take action. Before we begin, a warning: some of the details of this story may be upsetting or NSFW.
This is 41-year-old Ekaterina Romanovskaya.
Ekaterina — Katya for short — shared her story on Facebook
Katya’s graphic account begins:
“For my dearest English-speaking friends
My name is Katya, I’m 41 and i am a crime survivor.
Sixteen years ago, in broad daylight on a busy street, an inconspicuous young man tried to strike up a conversation with me. I was proud and in a hurry, so the conversation didn’t work out so well for him. He turned out to be quite resourceful, so the second time around he didn’t waste any time on questions and pulled out a knife. He slit my throat, cut open my stomach, and wanted to conclude this process of getting to know me by putting the blade through my heart. But each time he tried, my ribs and other bones got in the way.
The likelihood of me surviving to ever see the light of day again was pretty low, mostly because I didn’t have enough hands. I was using one to stop the fountain of blood spurting out my neck, and grabbing at the knife with the other. I also had to make sure my insides weren’t spilling out of the gaping wound on my abdomen, but luckily my tight pants did the trick.
I wouldn’t be writing this today if the neighbor hadn’t answered my cries for help. Long story short, 40 minutes later I was at the hospital in a state of hemorrhagic shock with nine knife wounds on my body. I was welcomed warmly by the same surgeon who, just four months before, had listened to me complain about the long scar he left after taking out my appendix. I had been conscious throughout the ordeal, but as soon as they started cutting off my clothes at the hospital, I told them, “put me under, this hurts.”
I never think about this experience as a bad one. It’s unclear what kind of person would be inhabiting this body of mine if I hadn’t gotten these scars. I had to learn to write with my left hand, to go outside without being afraid, to stop thinking that revenge will fall upon me, to set free those who wanted to leave. I saw the infinite devotion of my family and felt the full force of their love. I was lucky to witness friends and friends of friends offer their help, to see strangers give blood and bring money and medicine to the hospital. To see drugs flown over from Germany, to watch nurses from intensive care stay up for days at a time. Right before my eyes, hundreds of different people suddenly plunged into cooperation amongst themselves. All to save the life of one ordinary girl.
When I got up from bed several weeks after the attack, I felt for the first time in my life that I could stand on my own two feet. In all senses of the phrase. I understood what it meant to live and be alive, and I accepted full responsibility for how my life was to turn out. I stopped being a crime victim and became a crime survivor.
All too often, we can’t do anything with the fate that comes our way. But this doesn’t mean that terrible events have to overtake and define the course of our subsequent lives. Coming face to face with evil is difficult and terrifying. But one can also end up being incredibly happy.”
Katya was lucky to survive the attack.
Suffering from both physical and psychological trauma, she got to thinking about how such attacks could be prevented.
Katya decided to take matters into her own hands.
She came up with an idea — both technologically advanced and elegantly simple — that could be a game-changer. Read on to find out more.