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'It destroyed my life': Woman speaks on historical sexual assault

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A woman who was the subject of a vicious historical sexual assault in Melbourne more than 40 years ago has spoken out, calling for the offenders to be brought to justice.

Victoria Police have reopened the case in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the "despicable" crime.

The woman spoke today at a press conference, describing the assault as "disgusting" and that she has never forgotten any of it.

"I've got three people in my head that I live with, and it does my head in," she said.

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She hopes by speaking about the assault she will gain "closure" and for the men to be brought to justice.

"I've missed my kids' birthdays, I've missed their weddings, I've missed their life and I don't know who I am," she said.

"It destroyed my life."

She said the attack has meant she can never have relationships.

"It's easier for me to be on my own and I hate it," she said.

On September 25, 1982, the woman – then aged 19 – was led into an apartment in Fitzroy, Melbourne, by a man known as Chris, who said he was a friend of the woman's neighbour.

Chris told the woman that "he knew somewhere they could go" to watch the AFL Grand Final, being broadcast that day.

The woman said today she usually attended the Grand Final in person.

"I wish I had have gone to the footy that day," she said.

"I can't go to the footy anymore."

Upon arrival in the apartment, Chris suddenly disappeared and a group of four unknown men encircled the woman. When one tried to sexually assault her, she protested and tried to escape.

The group then carried the woman over to a nearby window and dangled her outside, threatening to drop her to the ground if she continued to resist the assault.

She was then brought back into the lounge room and sexually assaulted individually by each of the men – whom she remembers as having foreign accents.

After the men had finished, she was able to escape out of the front door and run down the stairs.

The woman told police she believed if she did not comply with their demands she would be killed.

The woman later told police that she maintained eye contact with her abusers throughout the ordeal, and was subsequently able to provide detailed descriptions of them.

One of the men has been described as being southern European in appearance with a stocky build, who was wearing jeans and a green Exacto brand t-shirt at the time.

Another man was Caucasian in appearance, with a thin build and green eyes. He was wearing striped pyjama shorts.

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The pair were believed to have been aged roughly in their 20s at the time and would now be aged in their 60s.

Police are asking for anybody with any knowledge of the crimes to come forward, particularly those who may recognise the men in the drawings, or who has any information relating to the man known as Chris.

Detectives are also appealing for the victim's female neighbour – who lived at the now defunct address of 216 Rathdowne Street in Carlton – to come forward.

Officers hope that she may be able to help identify the man known as Chris who described himself as the victim's neighbour.

Detective Acting Inspector Tracy Johnston said that she "knows someone in the community" has more information about the crime.

"The victim has lived with the physical and emotional impacts of this assault for almost 40 years. We are determined to pursue every avenue of inquiry so we can provide her with the closure she deserves," she said.

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"Historical sexual offending matters are incredibly complex, but we know someone in the community could still hold the information that might just provide police the key to delivering justice.

"People's circumstances can change over time, and this appeal might be the prompt needed to help close a terrible chapter in someone's life.

"If you recognise either of the two men in these images, please contact Crime Stoppers.

"We are also particularly keen to speak to Chris, or the young woman who lived at 216 Rathdowne Street.

"No piece of information is too small."



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