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Following a fun night out with her friends, Alison Botha had driven back to her apartment. But when she pulled up and was preparing to take the short walk into her home, a man with a knife stormed her vehicle.
The male demanded the then 27-year-old move to the passenger seat as he took his place behind the wheel, trapping her in the car.
He then drove, with Botha next to him, to pick up an accomplice.
The men, later identified as Frans du Toit and Theuns Kruger, drove the terrified woman to a deserted area well out of the city.
This was where Botha was brutally raped, disembowelled and had her throat cut so deeply that her head nearly came off.
But by some miracle she stayed breathing.
"I realised my life was too valuable to let go off," she later said. "And that gave me the courage to survive."
Frans du Toit and Theuns Kruger told Alison Botha they were going to have sex with her as they drove out of the city. They asked if she would fight them, terrified for her life, Botha said no.
After the two men had raped her, they quickly decided they wanted to kill her as well.
Alison Botha was suffocated, but even after losing consciousness, she hung on to life.
Du Toit and Kruger, who had a history of violence against women, grew frustrated at their inability to kill Botha so took their brutality to the next level.
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Botha was stabbed thirty times in the abdomen. She remembers how du Toit had expressed wanting to mutilate her reproductive organs. Despite the amount of horrific wounds, the attacker missed all of those parts of her body.
As they were getting ready to leave her for dead Alison's leg twitched, which is when they decided to slit her throat sixteen times.
Alison grimly recalled: "All I could see was an arm moving above my face.
"Left and right and left and right. His movements were making a sound. A wet sound, it was the sound of my flesh being slashed open. He was cutting my throat with the knife. Again and again and again.
"It felt unreal but it wasn’t. I felt no pain, but it was not a dream. This was happening. The man was slashing my throat."
The men drove away satisfied that Alison had been killed. "No one can survive that," one of them said.
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But Botha was still breathing and she was going to survive. After writing her attackers names in the sand, she saw headlights through the foliage and knew she had to get to the road.
When she stood up she felt her head roll backwards, she had nearly been decapitated.
And as took steps forward she could feel something protruding out of her abdomen – her intestines were hanging out.
Barely alive, Botha stumbled to the road using one hand to stop her organs from spilling out and another hand to hold her head in place.
"As I struggled forward my sight faded in and out and I fell many times but managed to get up again until I finally reached the road," she said.
Luckily, a young veterinary student named Tiaan Eilerd, who was on vacation in Port Elizabeth at the time, saw Botha lying in the middle of the road.
His veterinary training allowed him to tuck Botha's exposed thyroid back inside her body before he called an ambulance for help.
The doctors at the hospital were horrified at Alison's wounds and one doctor, Alexander Angelov, said he'd never seen such severe injuries.
Botha managed to hold to her to life and make it through surgery – she also remembered everything about her attack and the attackers.
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She identified the two men from police photos while in hospital and police quickly arrested the "Ripper Rapists," as they were known in the press at the time.
Both du Toit and Kruger pled guilty to eight charges including kidnapping, rape and attempted murder. They were sentenced to life in prison in August 1995.
The emotional scars stayed with Alison long after her wounds healed and she knew she had to face what had happened to her properly.
She has now spoken in over 35 countries and is one of the first women from South Africa to speak publicly about rape.
Alison Botha has helped and inspired countless survivors to come forward and tell their stories as well.
“The attack has put me on this path where I get to travel the world and help inspire other people,” said Botha.
"Life can sometimes make us feel like the victim.
“Problems and hardships and traumas are dished out to all of us and sometimes they can be divided very unfairly.
“Remind yourself that you do not have to take responsibility for what others do… Life is not a collection of what happens to you, but of how you’ve responded to what has happened to you.”
Botha is now the mother to two sons. During the attack in 1994 Du Toit had specifically attempted to destroy Botha's reproductive organs.
“That was his intention,” Botha said.
“Which is what makes this news so positive.”
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