A New York woman studying abroad in Spain lived through a brutal attack earlier this month, and decided to fight back by showing the aftermath of the gruesome assault through photos she posted on social media.
Andrea Sicignano, 27, of Lindenhurst, New York, traveled Madrid, Spain, over the summer to study abroad. After spending six months in the city, she went to see a Flamenco show with a friend on December 8. Andrea admitted that she drank alcohol during the event, according to her Facebook post. She later took a bus back home but didn’t realize she got onto a wrong bus until it stopped in an unfamiliar area.
“I was the last to get off the bus; all other riders had left the stop. I sat down on the bench at the bus stop to figure out my next move,” Andrea explained. “A man who had been on the bus, seeing that I was lost and upset, sat down next to me and offered me help.”
The man approached Andrea and reportedly told her he could help her get home, but within minutes, allegedly starting beating her. Andrea said she screamed out and tried to reach for her phone, but the suspect reportedly said, “I have your phone, you can’t call anyone.”
After allegedly hitting the victim numerous times, the suspect reportedly raped her. Andrea said after he beat her to the point she couldn’t scream anymore, she pretended to be dead in hopes the suspect would leave. He did.
“Blinded by blood and darkness, I sat up and began grasping for my things. My leggings were wrapped around my shoes, preventing me from pulling them back on. Ripping at them, I was finally able to pull them up. And then I ran.”
Andrea wrote she ran barefoot in the street, screaming for help until a driver pulled over and took her to the hospital. After Andrea went through an in-depth medical examination, including a rape kit test, authorities arrested the suspect after she picked him out of the a lineup.
According to El País, the suspect, who had a prior criminal record, was arrested in Carabanchel.
“This is real. This did happen. It does happen. And, unfortunately, it will continue to happen. But please, don’t ever think it can’t happen to you,” Andrea wrote.
“How do we prevent these things from happening? We, as women, can’t. This is up to the men out there, who need to truly understand what it means to respect women. ‘Locker room talk,’ cat-calling, groping a girl on the dance floor. Remember, it’s these actions that could manifest into something bigger.”
The suspect, whose name has not been released, remains behind bars while awaiting trial.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up for Andrea to “help, educate and support other victims.” A small portion will go toward medical expenses.
[Feature Photo: Andrea Sicignano/Facebook]