Alison (2016) Movie Script

[gentle piano music]
"Go to the edge," he said.
"We're afraid," they said.
[clock ticking]
"Go to the edge," he said.
They went to the edge.
They were pushed.
And they flew.
[birds chirping]
Once upon a time,
in 1994 actually,
in the kingdom of South Africa,
there lived in the hamlet
of Port Elizabeth -
I was a twenty-seven-year-old.
No aspirations,
no great career plans.
I don't remember even as a child
having great dreams and wanting
to be anything specific.
I wasn't really good at much
at school either.
I studied secretarial
for a year after school -
just really to have something to
fall back on as my mother said.
I spent four years overseas
before returning home.
I remember my mom being relieved
that I was back home - safe.
18 December 1994.
It was a perfect summer's
day, I remember.
One of those summer days
when you've been
at the beach all day.
Your skin's still tight
from being in the sun.
Still taste the salt
on your skin,
braaivleis, smoke in the air.
Went back to my place,
ordered pizza, played games.
At the end of the evening,
I offered my friend a lift.
Picked up my laundry from her
house, and then came back home.
My parking was now taken,
so I had to park
a little bit further down.
[ambient sound]
I can remember it
as if it was yesterday.
I felt the knife at my throat,
and I just heard the voice:
"Move over or else
I'll kill you."
I hadn't locked my car doors.
I bet you I know what you're
thinking, I should have jumped,
but I didn't want to believe
the worst,
so I chose to believe the best.
[car noise]
After all, he said
he didn't want to hurt me,
just wants to use my
car for about an hour.
"My name's Clinton," he said.
"Do you have a
boyfriend?" he asked me.
And the problem with that
is that it gave me
a false sense of security.
If only I'd known.
And he stopped. Pulled over.
And here the second big,
bad wolf gets into the car
and I remember just looking
in the rear-view mirror
and catching his eyes
and that's when my relief
just turned to sheer fear;
'cause all I saw was
dead, cold evil.
And it was in that moment
that it finally dawned on me
that I wouldn't be going home.
They drove past
the last street lights,
the last vestige of hope,
and into darkness.
Just the three of us.
And he stopped in an alcove.
He said,
"Are you going to fight?"
Do I fight? How do I fight?
I don't know how to fight.
He forced me to have
oral sex with him
and then he did the same to me.
Saying things like, "Does your
boyfriend do this to you?"
"Do you like it? You've got
the nicest-tasting fanny."
He gave me a love bite on
my breast and kissed me.
Then he raped me.
My body responded.
And although I now know that
that's a protection mechanism,
it was for me the
ultimate betrayal.
"Frans!" Theuns came over.
That's when I realised
his name was not "Clinton",
it was "Frans".
Frans said to Theuns,
"Do you also want to have sex
with the lovely lady?"
Theuns just said,
"No, I want to fuck the bitch."
"You can't talk to her
like that,"
the man
who's just raped me says.
"She's a lady, you must
speak properly to her."
[ambient sound]
[shoes crunching into the sand]
Before I even knew it,
his hands were at my throat.
And the last thing I remember,
my bowels evacuated.
They stabbed me in the abdomen
and pubic area,
I'm told, in excess of 37 times.
Theuns was the first
to cut my throat.
Frans pushed him out the way.
The moon behind him
ironically gave him a halo.
He slashed my throat 17 times.
[distorted screams]
[exhaling sharply]
Their feet started getting
smaller and smaller.
Their voices, fainter.
They drove off, throwing
my clothing out the car.
Although I couldn't
feel any pain,
the noise of my breathing
through my severed windpipe -
was horrifying. And
that realisation,
that overwhelming feeling of
sadness, when it dawned on me -
that I was injured beyond hope.
That I was dying.
That I wasn't going
to live anymore.
Then I literally left my body -
and the noise stopped.
I remember looking down and
already feeling distanced enough
but not far enough that
I couldn't go back.
I knew I had that choice.
And I realised
that I wanted to go back.
I wanted a chance
to live my life better.
And then, I was back in my
body and the noise was back.
But first things first.
I had to make sure
that they would never do
this again to anyone else.
[ambient sound]
[ambient sound]
In the hope that they'd be
caught and sent to jail.
And then I wrote:
[ambient sound]
I felt something wet at my legs.
I realised that my intestines
were actually outside my body.
The denim shirt was nearby.
[ambient sound]
I was able to hold everything in
with my denim shirt
with one hand
and then started crawling
with the other
over this ash and cut glass.
I was getting weaker.
Now if I'd died here,
my mom would
know that I had survived a bit
and the unanswered questions
that she would always have.
I can't do that to Mom.
I realised though that
the crawling was too awkward.
I wasn't going to make it.
I had to do better.
So I managed to hoist myself up
onto my feet with great effort
and everything went black.
I put my other hand
up to my throat
and my entire hand
went into the injury.
They'd severed the muscle
on the side of my neck
and I realised that my
head had actually flopped
right back between
my shoulder blades.
I took my other hand
and literally pulled my head up
so that I could see.
That's when it happened.
It was as if someone else
had taken my feet
and was moving them for me.
And the next thing I
knew I was at the road.
I just fell down. I mean, what's
the worst that can happen -
that someone's going
to drive over me?
A car was coming.
It came closer and I realised
Frans and Theuns could
be in that car.
[engine roaring]
There's nothing I can do.
I fought so hard but the
fight's out of me now.
And then the car sped off.
[engine roaring]
And then I heard
another car coming.
I was a twenty-year-old
veterinary technology student
studying at the
Technikon in Pretoria,
and we were on holiday down in
Port Elizabeth with friends.
So you wouldn't expect anything
bad to happen on a holiday.
The first thing we saw
when we climbed out of the car
was a person lying in the road
with no clothes on.
It's something that you'll
never forget in your life.
I took her hand.
She was not able to speak.
I looked into her eyes.
It was bloodshot, very, very
frightened. I just told her,
"Listen, you've got nice eyes."
He was my knight
in shining armour.
He was trying so hard
to keep me alive.
I mean typical me, I didn't want
to give up for his sake.
Luckily one of our friends
had a cell phone
which was a new technology
for that time.
Phoned the emergency services
and they told us they'll
send an ambulance out.
From where we found her
up to the hospital
was about
fifteen minutes' drive.
We waited.
Twenty minutes.
Thirty minutes.
Fourty minutes.
Eventually the
paramedics arrived.
We drove to the hospital.
I asked them
if they can drive faster.
They didn't see the
urgency to that.
It's like they've almost decided
she's not going to make it,
so why rush.
After arriving in casualties,
that was the first time
I had to let go of her hand.
My whole ordeal
from abduction to that point
had taken only 90 minutes
and the journey that I
travelled had been 30 km,
but the real journey
was only beginning.
The incident that happened that
night in December definitely
had a big,
big impact on my life.
That was basically what I
needed to make a decision
what I'm going to do with
the rest of my life.
And that was,
that was to become a doctor.
My appreciation of life has been
determined largely
by my background as a scientist,
as a doctor and as a specialist
in intensive care medicine
and anaesthetics.
And I've been exposed
to severe trauma,
life-threatening illness.
But I don't think I've
ever experience the horror
of the injuries
suffered by Alison.
And the sheer brutality,
the ferociousness and the
mindless destruction of a
human really got to me.
I saw a young lady with the most
horrific wound to her neck.
And I saw that the laceration
was from ear to ear and that
her trachea, windpipe, had
been cleanly cut through and
she was breathing
through a gaping hole
just above her collarbones.
When I finished my examination,
the young junior doctor
who'd admitted her
said to me:
"Dr Comyn, that's not all."
And he very gently pulled back
the sheet to show me her abdomen
and I could see that this lady
had been
completely disemboweled,
with large loops of her small
bowel lying on top of her tummy.
Close inspection of
that showed that it was
grossly contaminated
with beach sand,
with lumps of charcoal
and even lumps of what
looked like lamb chop fat.
And then we looked very
carefully inside her abdomen,
saw the extent of her injuries
and it became evident to us
that it would be unlikely
for this lady to ever have the
privilege of bearing children.
I arranged for
the general surgeon on call,
whose name was
Dr Dimitri Angelov.
I took him aside and said,
"Dr Angelov, I believe that
we should call an ENT surgeon
to help us with the severed
trachea and the neck muscles
and then I think that we'll move
onto the abdomen
which you can do."
He pulled himself up to his -
the tallest he could and he,
in a very, almost Germanic way
clicked his heels,
and looking me straight
in the eyes, he said,
"Dr Comyn, in my country I am
trained both as an ENT surgeon
and a general surgeon.
I can do this."
Doctors see a lot of things.
Blood. Injuries.
But somehow that injury
made a striking impression
of severe cruelty
which one doesn't see
very often.
You know, having an injury
from a motor vehicle accident,
or a fight in a pub or
a club, you name it,
doesn't look as severe as
what we saw that morning.
Here the cruelty was
which struck everybody in fact
in theatre, not only me.
The first impression
which she made
is when I saw her
through the window
signing the consent form
with a steady hand.
When you look at her signature,
you wouldn't think that such a
severely injured person
can write in such a...
a comprehensible way, you know,
and underneath
she had written the telephone
number of her mother.
I was amazed.
People with such strength
are difficult to find nowadays.
I was most impressed with the
meticulous surgical technique
that Dr Angelov
exhibited that night.
I remember him passing the loops
of bowel through his fingers.
Every nook and cranny
he meticulously cleaned
and in some instances
he even took a scrubbing brush
to remove debris
that was firmly stuck.
I really don't have a
scientific answer.
Yes, we can debate and talk
all the academic stuff.
We must accept that
it is a miracle.
I've always thought
it a bit of a cop-out
to ascribe things that you
don't understand to miracles.
But these events most certainly
has led me
out of my strict
scientific appreciation
to believe that things
happen for a purpose
and that's probably a good
definition of a miracle.
I'm going to start
with her neck.
Of particular importance
are the blood vessels,
which supply blood to
the head and brain.
And with those vessels severed,
Alison would have haemorrhaged;
she would have died within
three or four minutes.
There are also
some very important nerves
that come down
from the neck to supply
some of the important organs -
none of those were damaged.
And the oesophagus
was undamaged,
but of course the trachea
was severed,
and this miracle is that it
has healed so perfectly.
You can see the multiple
stab wounds in her chest.
The miracle is that
none of these
penetrated to the lung
or the heart.
Then I'll go to the abdomen.
This is the major incision
when she was disemboweled.
And it is a miracle that
that didn't result
in peritonitis
and severe infection.
There are multiple stab wounds
all around her abdomen,
none of which penetrated through
to damage the internal organs.
I didn't go home
that first night -
I stayed in the intensive care
and during the early
part of the morning
the nursing staff told me that
there were two police officers
in the waiting room who
wished to speak with me.
I was informed that it was a
brutal rape - terrible case -
and they needed my assistance
to help with the rape case.
I knew Frans du Toit
from a previous
arrest where he was
arrested also for rape.
And I met him that Monday
morning in the cells
at the Murder and Robbery unit,
him and Theuns Kruger;
they were both there.
That's how I met them.
After the normal procedures
were completed
at the Murder
and Robbery offices,
the next step was to go and
introduce myself to the victim,
who was Alison at the hospital
and to inform her
that I would be
the investigating
officer in her case.
They gave her a folder
and turn the pages
over one by one
and when she came
to the picture of
Frans she pointed to it
and wrote the name "Frans"
on the piece of paper.
They turned over a
few more photographs
and then she pointed to
the picture of Theuns
and wrote his name on
the piece of paper
and that satisfied the police.
During the course of that day
and the early afternoon,
the two police constables
came back again
and they explained to me
that they have been
in contact with the
chief prosecutor who
had indicated to them
that the prosecution case
would be far stronger
if Alison would verbalise
the names of the two suspects.
And I was horrified at that.
Because what that meant
was that I would have to
remove the tube from her lungs,
because with the tube through
the vocal chords or voice box,
patients being ventilated with
the tube are unable to speak.
I was very, very apprehensive
that by removing the tube
I would disrupt the
trachea suture line
and jeopardise the good work
we had done the night before.
I went to Alison and
I described the
interview with, the second
interview with the police,
asked her, her opinion
and she said, she wrote,
"Take it out."
I removed the tube
and Alison said:
"That's wonderful,"
were her first words.
And she said:
"My attackers were
Frans and Theuns."
Alison was discharged
from the intensive care
to the general surgery ward
and that's the last time
I saw Alison.
The office where we worked, we
were all like a little family.
Everybody had fun together.
Every day was a day to
look forward to at work
because there was always
something to laugh about.
I had come to the
office in the morning
and one of my colleagues
who is also a very good friend
of Alison's - Kim -
had come into the office and
she just looked very upset,
but she was upset in a way
that we've never seen her
that upset before.
And she sat at her desk
and it's not like Kim
to sit at her desk and cry.
And I turned around
and I asked her like,
"Are you okay? What's wrong?"
All she said was, "It's Alison."
We were not allowed to
go see her immediately
because of her having to undergo
so many surgeries and so forth.
I think we went a
couple of days later
and it was Davida and I who
had decided to go together
because neither one of
us wanted to go alone.
We needed to muster up the
courage to see Alison
because by this time
we had all read about
and heard exactly what
had happened to her.
The two of us stood quietly
at the side of her bed
looking at her,
but by this time we
couldn't contain ourselves.
Tears were rolling down
our faces looking at her
and she kind of had a feeling
that somebody was watching her,
so she opened her eyes
and the minute she opened
her eyes we had,
we were stunned
to see what we saw
because her eyes
were completely bloodshot.
Blood vessels had burst
in her eyes,
so all we could see was just
blood in her eyes.
So that was also quite a
distressing sight to see.
And she smiled when she saw us
and she didn't want us to cry
because she felt she was okay.
She didn't want anybody
to be sad for her.
I remember that the
sheet was just on,
just below her shoulders,
and she pulled out her
hand from under the sheet
and she said to us:
"Look, don't cry guys, look I
didn't even crack a nail."
We saw the state of her nails
and there were dirt
and blood under her nails.
They were all, they were
in a terrible state
and they were cracked.
She had hurt her hands. She had
hurt every part of her body.
I remember I was so worried
that I wasn't going
to get to thank
all these people
who had reached out to me
and sent all these letters,
cards and flowers
and I decided to try
and thank them collectively
in a letter in the newspaper.
For fear of omitting anyone of
you from my heartfelt thanks,
I have decided to attempt to
thank you all collectively.
Each one who sent flowers,
gifts, cards,
wishes, thoughts,
prayers and love,
should know how they brought
a smile to my face
and added warmth to my heart.
I have life, beautiful people,
and you have my heart.
I might have survived my attack,
but I still had to survive
the court case.
When I first came
out of hospital,
I had to go back
every single day
for Dr Angelov to treat
my injuries,
particularly the one
in my abdomen.
He had to scrape it
until it bled
every day
until some new cells grew.
I still had to have
plastic surgery later.
When I think of recovery, the
word that I think of is pain -
all consuming, all day,
through the night.
I didn't sleep.
I just remember feeling
that the pain was so big
it would never
entirely go away.
I would have some of it
for the rest of my life.
And in fact,
to be honest with you,
I still have ongoing
medical issues
because of the injuries.
But there was always
Melvin, my cop.
Two other ladies were raped
before Alison was raped,
and it happened in a sequence.
The first lady who was
raped took a week
before she reported the
case to the police,
after she was threatened
that they would kill her
if she went to the police.
The second lady who was
pregnant at the time
ran downstairs and straight
into a police van
and reported the case.
Then the two of them decided
that the next victim
that they were going
to rape and abduct,
they'll have to kill her
because the other two
didn't listen
when they threatened them.
I brought Frans out
into my office.
After I'd given him
the rights that he had,
he was very surprised
when part of of the warning
was that he's been
charged for attempted murder.
He was so, so surprised because
he asked me
"Why attempted murder?"
I said because Alison is alive.
And it's the first time
in my career
that I'd ever seen
a hardened criminal
or a hardened person
like Frans -
he was so surprised
that you could knock him over
with a feather.
And he said: "Well then
there's nothing I can hide
from you because she will
obviously tell you
everything that happened."
And he picked up his hand
and he pulled a ring
off his finger
and he handed that over to me
and he said to me
"That belongs to Alison."
And when I saw the ring,
I noticed blood on the ring,
which we later established
belongs to Alison.
One of the questions
that I asked Frans was,
I cannot understand how they
go out, how he could go out,
leave his wife and child
in the flat
and go and rape
an innocent woman.
Although Frans du Toit
and Theuns Kruger
indicated that they were going
to plead guilty,
my work did not stop there,
as they could change
their mind at any time,
so I had to see that
all the exhibits
and all the samples were taken
and sent to forensic labs
for analysis -
documented in a case docket
where I can hand it over
to the prosecutor,
because the prosecutor can only
prosecute what you give him
as an investigating officer.
Recovery was one thing,
the physical recovery,
but then it was the
preparation for the trial.
One of the things
I had to do
was see a clinical psychologist.
She had to assess me
before the trial
and it just wasn't
the right time.
I mean it was only five,
six months after the attack
and I just wasn't ready.
She explained to me at the time
the pendulum of trauma,
that I was supposed to go
through all the emotions,
grief, and sorrow,
hatred and anger.
I just wasn't angry.
But I remember
I punched the pillow
that she wanted me to
in the end
just because I was so angry
with her for not getting me.
The indignation of having
to have your pubic hairs pulled
by different policemen
at different times.
Just in someone's office,
drop my pants
to have photographs taken
of the injuries
and of my pubic area
to show the rate of recovery.
Different policemen,
different places.
And Alison, every time I
requested her to come,
she came without any
argument or any question.
She was just prepared to do
whatever we asked her to do
because she knew at that stage
it was for her that we were
doing this and for no one else.
And her tummy where
they stabbed her with a knife
had not healed yet,
and it was an open hole wound
that had to heal
from the inside,
it was still there,
and although that was there
she still came for...
for all those examinations
and tests to be taken.
As prosecutors,
we deal with victims
that have suffered severe trauma
and it's our duty to prevent
further traumatisation
through the legal processes
to that specific victim.
But it's also a team effort
because we have to work
together with the police
and your investigating officer
is very important.
In Alison's case it was easy for
us because Melvin Humpel was
the investigating officer
and he supported
Alison and us to a huge extent.
Like for instance, to attend
an identification parade.
The laws were that the victim
had to go to the perpetrator
and actually place a hand on
the perpetrator's shoulder,
the suspect's shoulder,
to prove that the suspect was
pointed out by the victim.
I decided
that it would be better
to try a new thing
and it's never happened
in South Africa before,
so with the prosecution,
we decided to do a one-way glass
identification parade.
And that's the norm today.
[police interview in Afrikaans]
[police interview in Afrikaans]
[police interview in Afrikaans]
Even though it was behind
one-way glass,
I was still petrified
to think of being in the
same room with them.
I had to leave work and go
down to the police station.
And then my name was called.
I was taken out
and without much warning
was put in the room
to do the ID parade.
The room just was too small.
I remember even though the
one-way glass was there
and even though I tried to
concentrate on getting it right,
but at the same time wanting
to get it over with because
every second in that room
with them felt too long.
Ok, this is a one-way glass.
The people on the other side
are wearing numbers.
I want you, if possible,
to inform me of the number
of the person or persons,
if they are here,
who on the 18th of December
last year
at about 3 o'clock
in the morning
attempted to murder you
and who raped you.
If you see the people
or the person
you must please inform me
of the numbers they are wearing.
Do you understand?
OK, you can have a look.
This is a one-way glass.
They look different,
but it's number 6
and number 13.
Is that all?
OK, thank you very much.
In every case that
involves victims of crime,
you as a professional are also
touched as a human being.
Now in Alison's case
what made it so difficult for me
was the fact that
usually victims that had
suffered such injuries
would be deceased,
and in a sense it's
easier to deal with the -
those circumstances where
you have a post mortem.
I remember I went home
that night
and I actually sat crying
in the bath
as I was telling my husband that
I can't believe
that she's alive.
On a daily basis
I drive past the flats
where they had breakfast
the bloodied knife afterwards
and that kind of callousness,
every time I drive past
that block of flats,
it's real to me again.
During my career I always tried
to forget about the case
the moment they leave court
because the next one
was coming up.
but in Alison's case
it was completely different.
I immediately noticed
the scar on her neck.
And when Alison gave evidence,
at a certain stage she remarked,
"I always thought that my neck
was a strong feature
of my appearance
and look at my neck now."
I'll never forget the
faces of those two guys.
Frans was staring
at me all the time.
When Frans gave evidence
in the witness box he was
looking me in the eyes as if he
was trying to intimidate me.
Frans du Toit gave evidence
and testified to the effect
that he was a satanist.
That he believed in Satan. It
was, however, very doubtful.
During the investigation
and the incarceration
of Frans du Toit,
he requested to see a pastor
because he wanted the demons
cast out of his body.
So I had to adhere
to his request
and I got hold of a pastor
that I knew
that does this
and took him
to the holding cells where
this exorcism was conducted.
I asked the person if he was
prepared to testify in court,
which he did.
And he mentioned the two
demons, Incubus and Succubus.
Mr Du Toit actually
confused the two demons.
It was proved that it was
just another ploy of him to
get people to believe that
it was satanism that did it.
Before we went to court I said
to Frans and to Theuns, I said:
"You will see that I'm not going
to handcuff you."
I said:
"I'm doing that for a reason.
I want you to run.
Make my day and run."
I would have, without batting an
eyelid, I would have shot them.
I don't even hunt. I don't like
hunting so I don't like killing
but those two guys
I would have shot.
They went to court,
never handcuffed ever.
And they didn't run.
Frans's father could not deal
with what his son had done
and two years later
he committed suicide.
When I decided on a proper
sentence, I took into account
as far as Alison's case
is concerned,
that one of these two guys
had two previous incidents
where they...
where he committed rape
and the other one, one.
I made the remark that
my sentence should be typed
and that it should be placed
on the record of these two guys
in prison,
so that the authorities
can see and can understand
that I regarded them
as a threat to society
and that I never wanted them
to be released from prison.
That is something that
I have never done before
and I did not do it thereafter.
The Constitutional Court
at that stage
had already found that
the death penalty
in South Africa
in terms of the constitution
would be unconstitutional.
But thinking back now
as I sit here,
I think I would have seriously
considered the death sentence
and probably would have
imposed it,
had it still been a
competent sentence.
As we stood there,
you could look down the steps
towards the cells.
Theuns was the last one
to go down the stairs.
The next minute he just hit his
hand against the wood panelling
next to the stairs and shouted,
"So here I go, so fuck you all."
My baby was six weeks old
and that was the very first
night that he slept through.
I think the baby was also glad
that this case was finally over.
The toughest part of the trial
for me not really reliving it.
I know some people say it is,
but I was almost
emotionally removed from it.
It was like watching
a court room TV drama,
which I really love.
I almost got a surprise
when I would hear
my name mentioned
in the middle of the proceedings
and remind myself that
it was actually about me.
My mom, also, we would sit there
and we'd actually
had a notebook.
Here we go.
Sometimes we'de make notes,
just arbitrary notes
like, "Where are we going
for lunch?"
"Does he know what
he's talking about?"
The tough part really, for
me, was the media attention.
[distant camera shutter sound
and people shouting]
But at least I had a trial.
I can't imagine the injustice
of not having that.
Justice doesn't minimise
what happened
but it certainly does help.
Their sentence though
was not a celebration.
They still took something from
me that I can never get back.
And there is never a
healing point, a finality,
"I am healed."
It's what others want for me.
It's what I want for me.
And I guess as time passes
it does get a bit easier.
They seem to have
less hold of me.
What happened seems
to have less power.
It's like exercise, I guess,
you get used to it,
you get better at it.
But then out of the blue, for no
reason, can be right back there.
is the last bit
of the Alison
that died that night.
After the court case
my soul never
really got a chance to mourn.
I had to continually
steel myself.
To be strong for MOM. For DAD.
For others of violent crime.
The BAD GUYS went to prison.
I survived and everyone
got on with their lives.
But I couldn't go back to
life as it had been before.
I couldn't even stay
in the same place anymore.
I moved back in with my mom.
Fortunately she was
a single woman.
I think for her
she really needed
and wanted to look after me
at that time.
I still had to have my
wounds dressed and cleaned.
I had to have bed
baths at first.
And she helped me
with all of that.
My friends had lives
to get on with
and my mom was able to set aside
hers to help me.
In time my wounds healed
and I decided to have my first
proper bath.
[relaxing music]
And that was the night
I really looked at myself
in the mirror
for the first time.
I've never suffered
from depression.
Not really known what it's like,
but I very quickly found out.
I think depression would be
different for most people.
For me, I just
remember not caring.
And that was a big deal for me
'cause I was someone
who was so responsible.
And for me to not go to work,
to not care about going to work,
to sometimes not even phone them
and tell them
I wasn't coming to work.
I didn't care about how
I looked after myself.
I didn't care
if I answered phone calls.
I didn't care if I ate all day
or ate too much.
I remember just blaming
Frans and Theuns
entirely for how I was
feeling at the time.
I did have a moment though.
I was all on my own sitting at
home when I remember thinking
that Alison, at the time
when you had to choose
between life and death,
you chose life.
And it was a challenge
in a way to myself
that I had to do it again
because by doing
what I was doing
at the time
and blaming Frans and Theuns,
I was giving them power
over my present life.
I had to once again choose life.
And you won't believe it,
with the depths of depression
came the Rotary Club invitation;
for me to please come
and share my experience
with them,
seeing as I've been so brave
in the public eye.
Never mind that doing orals was
my biggest fear at school,
let alone stand
in front of people
and live up
to their expectations
of me being the heroine.
But of course, me being me,
I didn't want to disappoint
the people who had been
so supportive.
So flipping hell,
I pulled myself up
by my bootstraps and I went.
And to my surprise,
I felt better.
I wanted to do it again.
So I did.
And I haven't stopped yet.
The talks gave me direction,
a cause, a purpose,
a new business and healing.
I travelled all over the world,
met incredible people
and I loved every minute of it.
In the middle of difficulty
lies opportunity.
Well, I am going to share with
you about what happened to me
but more importantly for me,
I'm also here to share with you
how I overcame this difficulty.
And I'm going to share with
you then about my ABC.
And I read a little saying
that I've always remembered
so that I can repeat it to these
people if anyone ever comes
up to me and says,
"You're extraordinary,"
and you might want to
remember it as well.
The little saying says:
"There aren't any extraordinary
people in this world.
Just ordinary people.
But some of those ordinary people do
extraordinary things with their lives."
Every step I took I thought
it would be my last.
And it's impossible to
put percentages to it,
but what felt like
more than 99%,
so 99.9% did not believe
I would make it.
I want to share with you today
my ABC in overcoming obstacles,
and as I share with you,
I don't want you to think that
it can only apply
to a huge trauma.
I put them into practice
with a huge trauma
and I found them come out
with flying colours.
And I've used them time
and time again
in dealing with
my everyday problems.
There was 0.1% that
said, "Just try."
0.1% that every time I
fell said, "Get up."
0.1% that said, "Take
one more step."
And it was enough.
My ABC stands for Attitude.
A is for Attitude.
B is for Belief,
and C is for Choice.
And the philosophy that
I live my life by is,
that these all fall
under is this,
that you cannot always control
what happens in your life -
we all agree on that.
But we can always control
what we do
with what happens in our lives.
You don't live this life
and at the end get a chance
to do it again
or go back and fix some stuff
that you didn't do so well.
It is life. It is happening.
Every day while you're doing
it it's not coming back again.
This is your chance.
[ambient sound]
The only other time
that I fell into a depression
was when I had to read
in the newspapers
that my two perpetrators
might come up for parole,
despite the fact that the judge
put a special note
on their files
that they would never again
see the light of day.
I fought so hard that night to
make sure that they would
go to prison
and never have the chance
to do this again.
It's hard.
News of parole
brings up a whole lot of
memories that is best forgotten.
It's hard not just for me but
for my family, my mom, my dad -
who's struggled so much in the
first place with the trauma
and now in his old age
has to do it again.
My friends.
Maria, who cares so much for me.
I'm petrified that
they might get out.
I mean, I received an email
from a woman in America
whose daughter is
apparently Frans's fiance
and is having a relationship
with him while he is in prison,
and she asked me to help her.
This is a known sex offender,
who raped several women,
tried to kill me
and yet he has free
access to Facebook.
Has a full social life
there on warped sex rooms.
And then when I tried
to do the right thing
and wrote to the authorities,
telling them about it, but
asking them please not to
ever let it come out
that it came from me,
I found out that my
email was printed
and given to Frans himself.
I mean, where are
the authorities for me?
My tale is one that
is full of miracles
and I still choose to
believe in them every day.
My favourite one of all is the
birth of my two miracle boys.
I wasn't meant to have children.
My marriage might
not have lasted,
but the best thing to come out
of it will always be my boys.
And Tiaan didn't
disappoint either.
Because of what happened to me,
he was so determined
to become a doctor.
It took him 10 years,
but he did qualify.
He was the assisting doctor
at the birth of my second child.
I was amazed that I fell
pregnant so easily.
I wasn't supposed to be
able to have children.
I'd always just
accepted that fact.
And the fact that I was able
to fall pregnant
without any intervention
and then carry the babies
to full term,
that was always my big worry
with all the scarring,
with the injuries that had
happened to my abdomen,
that things were going to rip
and tear apart
when I was pregnant,
but it didn't.
I had very healthy pregnancies.
I loved being pregnant.
I loved feeling
the moving baby inside me
and I remember missing it
really, after they had come out.
I also remember that feeling
of early in the morning
when they were newborn babies,
two o'clock, three o'clock
in the morning, all alone.
I loved it.
I loved knowing that the world
was asleep and I was there
looking after my baby and
that they needed me.
It completed me.
[ambient sound]
I'm just me, on the
beach with my boys,
reminding myself
that I have life.
That I'm just Alison,
and that is okay.
Coping with this thing
that happened to me
in a way has given a dream
to that little girl
who didn't have one.
Coping with the trauma -
some days better than others -
and being a mom.
That is my wealth.
Even though it's not
the traditional
fairytale happy ending,
because this is my tale, my way.
And this is not the end.