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American student attacked and raped in Madrid neighborhood of Aluche

“I was sure he was going to kill me,” writes Andrea Sicignano in a Facebook post about her attacker, who has been detained by the police and identified by the victim

Andrea Sicignano in two photos of herself after the attack that she published on her Facebook account.
Andrea Sicignano in two photos of herself after the attack that she published on her Facebook account.

A 27-year-old student living in Madrid was attacked and raped by a man two weekends ago close to the bus station in the Aluche neighborhood in the south of the capital, according to sources from police headquarters.

As I fought, he started to beat me. I was screaming and fighting with all of the power I could muster

Andrea Sicignano, who has been living in Madrid for the past six months, described via a public post on her Facebook account what happened to her as she returned home from a night out with a friend.

The pair had been to watch flamenco and have a few drinks. At the end of the night, they got separated and Sicignano became confused about which bus she was on and where she was in relation to her home. The last off the bus, a man approached her and offered to help her find her bearings. “I was lost at 4am, and all public transport had stopped running. I needed help and this man assured me he could help me get home,” she writes in her powerful account of the night’s events.

“It’s unclear exactly what happened next, but as soon as I started to realize I could be in danger, I tried to leave. But this man became forceful and violent towards me,” she goes on.

“As I fought, he started to beat me. I was screaming and fighting with all of the power I could muster. I desperately tried to reach for my phone but he called out in Spanish, ‘I have your phone, you can't call anyone.’

“He hit me in the face over and over until I couldn’t fight anymore. I couldn’t scream anymore. I could barely see through the blood in my eyes.”

“I was sure he was going to kill me,” she continues. “Eventually I closed my eyes. With the hope that he would stop beating me, I pretended to be dead. I prayed that when I opened my eyes he would be gone. I don’t know how much time passed before I finally opened my eyes, but when I did, he had disappeared.”

Finally, she writes: “He raped me.”

Once he had left, she sat up and retrieved her things. Then, barefoot, she ran through the deserted streets, shouting for help. “I was waving frantically, and yet three or four cars drove past me,” she recalls. “Finally, one stopped. I ran to it, screaming. Blood covered my face, hair, and jacket. A kind stranger – whom I’ll never have the chance to thank – called the ambulance and tried to soothe me while we waited for them to arrive.”

According to a police spokesman, Sicignano reported the attack on December 9. Three days later, thanks to an investigation by the Family and Women Unit (UFAM), the suspect was arrested in Carabanchel. He has a police record, though none of his nine prior offenses are for rape.

Other assaults

News of this attack comes in the wake of the Laura Luelmo murder case, which has sent shockwaves through Spain. The young Spanish schoolteacher was sexually assaulted and left for dead earlier this month in the southern province of Huelva. A neighbor of Luelmo, who was a convicted killer with a long criminal record, has confessed to her crime.

English version by Heather Galloway.

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