BECOMING a crime statistic wasn’t something Karen Landi ever thought of as she went about daily life and her work with Community Hours, working with teens to promote active citizenship and the outreach camp.
On September 27, her life changed when she was brutally attacked in Walkerville by three men.
“I was driving in Walkerville when a car came up behind me, flashing a blue light. The car pulled closer with a siren blaring. Instinctively, I pulled over.
“A man came to my window and I asked him why I had been pulled over. He said ‘for driving in the yellow lane.’ I felt irritated and retorted that I had not. I asked for identification. Suddenly, everything happened so quickly. The man lent in and grabbed my keys out of the ignition, switching off the car. Almost simultaneously, two other men jumped into the car. One into the passenger seat and one in the back seat, also on the passenger side. I knew that I needed to get out.
“The men pounded me with their fists on my and face and head. They pulled at my limbs, they pushed and shoved. I remember screaming please, just take the car, please, just let me out, please!”
Karen was forcibly moved to the backseat, where she was told to sleep and the one man asked where she was going. She told them a camp just down the road, “They are expecting me in five minutes,” she said.
The men kept asking over and over again what tracking company she was with and what insurance company. “I couldn’t remember and that made them angry and they carried on hitting me. Because I was expected at the camp, I kept getting phone calls asking where I was. I tried to alert my friend something was wrong but spoke calmly so as not to upset the men. The questions about the tracking device continued and, with every wrong answer, the beating continued.
“The driver pulled off the road and suddenly I could feel the car on gravel. When it came to a stop, I was roughly pulled from the car and the one man said he was going to kill me. I was pushed down into the sand and I was beaten with a rock. There were threats of rape and my shoes and pants were pulled off, then my panties. I honestly thought I’d never survive, but after another punch, they left me bleeding but alive.”
Karen has ICE (In Case of Emergency) on her phone and her husband Mick had been trying to call her.
“I knew he knew something was wrong and he would come looking for me.”
As she stumbled up the embankment towards the road she saw car lights and tried to stop the vehicle but it carried on by.
Eventually she managed to walk, even though her foot was cut from a broken bottle and found the camp.
“When the people saw me I just cried and cried and then Mick drove up with one of our daughters. They couldn’t believe how badly I’d been beaten and I kept saying, they didn’t rape me.”
Karen was admitted to ICU where she spent two nights before being allowed home to carry on her recovery.
“I am so thankful for the outpouring of love, compassion, support and kindness I have felt. To my two daughters and Mick, all my family and friends, a huge thank you. Thank you to you all for caring enough to ask, to message, and to pray.
“Never, ever stop your car. Try and get to a brightly-lit area where there are people. Don’t hate all because of the actions of a few. The men who attacked me were vile and cruel, but they do not represent the majority. Believe, have hope and know that you are never alone.
“I am home, I am healing. One foot in front of the other. One step at a time. This will be a journey.”
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