Cronulla model Tahlia Giumelli, who is a finalist in Miss Universe Australia 2018 which is on tonight, has revealed how she still lives in fear following a brutal attack in Cronulla when she was a schoolgirl.
Giumelli spoke to News Limited this week about the moment she screamed and fought off her attacker.
“It was a flight or fight moment and I fought,” Giumelli, 25, the long-term girlfriend of Rabbitohs prop Tom Burgess, told The Daily Telegraph.
Giumelli was 17 when she was set upon by a man as she was walking home from her Cronulla high school.
“He came up behind me and tried to push me to the ground. He pulled my pants down. I screamed and fought. I punched him and got away,” Giumelli told TheTelegraph.
“I ran, I ran as fast as I could back to my apartment building.”
Her attacker was eventually jailed for three years and nine months for the crime – and then he did it again.
This year that same man pleaded guilty to charges of stalking, intimidation and assault and will be sentenced in September.
“How the hell can that happen? Isn’t once enough, is our system not helping these people?” Giumelli posted to Instagram.
She said she was moved to speak out in the wake of the rape and murder of comedian Eurydice Dixon as she walked through a Melbourne park.
And Giumelli’s own mother was also a victim, assaulted at knifepoint when she was just 24-years-old.
“It brings up the emotions which happened. It also angers me that it is still happening to women,” Giumelli said.
Giumelli now lives with the legacy of that brutal attack when she was a schoolgirl. When she’s out and she sees a strange man, she calls Burgess to have someone on the phone, just in case.
“I live in fear. I live in fear because it has happened to me and it is still on the rise,” Giumelli said.
“I have a six-foot five (196cm), built boyfriend and I am still scared.
“It could have been so much worse for me. I thank God every day that nothing worse happen to me. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder afterwards. I have had a lot of nightmares.
“I will always look behind me, I will never walk at night.”
The number of sexual assault victims increased by 8 per cent across Australia from 2016, reaching an eight-year high in 2017, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.
ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics William Milne said that there were almost 25,000 victims of sexual assault recorded by police in 2017.
“This is the sixth consecutive annual increase in the number of victims recorded for this offence and the highest number recorded since the time series began in 2010,” he said.
More than four in five sexual assault victims were female (82 per cent or 20,556 victims).
Recording of female victims of sexual assault increased by 9 per cent since last year – the largest annual increase since 2010.
- The Miss Universe Australia 2018 final is on tonight.
Cronulla model Tahlia Giumelli, who was once described as “the next Miranda Kerr”, is a finalist in Miss Universe Australia 2018.
The young beauty who is dating South Sydney Rabbitohs player, Tom Burgess, is one of six NSW hopefuls in the annual pageant.
Giumelli was second runner-up in the competition in 2017 but this year she hopes to follow in the footsteps of Jennifer Hawkins and win the overall crown.
While studying a bachelor of arts, majoring in media, Giumelli has been on the cover of RUSSH magazine Australia and most recently the face of Bras N Things.
She is also an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia.
The final is on June 28.