Her rapists were sentenced to life in prison. Now they’re free, and she’s in hiding
She was sentenced to life in prison for a rape that happened in the bathhouse she owned, and she had never gone near it. She was too embarrassed. After 13 years, she thought she finally had rid herself of her secret.
But then, two months ago, when she had finished writing an anonymous letter to the authorities, she decided she needed an identity. She had been hiding in the family home for years. Now she could put one more foot forward. She applied for a passport, and flew to New York. She planned to leave the country as soon as she was able to.
For months, she had been living with a former lover, a French lawyer. She told him she needed to travel.
The moment she stepped off the plane in New York, she felt relief.
“A lot of people asked me why I got out of the country, and what I was doing here.”
As to why she was there: “This is a place where people go to flee from their lives.”
But within seconds of her arrival, she realised she might have made a mistake, and that she was being followed.
After four months in hiding, she had come to New York for the first time in her life. She had seen her lawyer. She had sent her husband a postcard. And she had made two phone calls to her mother. But she had never spoken to her mother in person.
In New York, she got a job interviewing prisoners. “They were so lonely that day.”
One man she met was a former colleague of her rape attacker. She told him she had been raped, but she had not been. He understood and was unafraid to give her his number.
After three days, she had left New York. The lawyer who had contacted her in New York, gave her a new identity, and had helped her pack up to ship her belongings out of the country.
She took a plane to Paris, and from there she went to London. She was going to give herself up, but she had been given new name and new ID.
She started applying for passports, again and again.
She had not been seen since that day more than a