At the age of 19, Nastya knows what it’s like to go through hell on earth. She was running away from Russian bullets and hid in basements from enemy shells that razed her house to the ground. And she hopes that she has already outlived three Russians who sexually assaulted her.
Before telling the journalist of «Vchasno» about her experience, Nastya smokes three cigarettes — a habit that appeared after everything she has been through. She started smoking and stopped it at school, but after her hair went gray because of three inhumans, she always carries at least two or three cigarettes in her pocket. She says, just in case, «If I will feel overwhelmed.»
Miraculously, she was not killed by an enemy shell
«From the first day of the war, we lived in the basement. Our house is on the outskirts of Mariupol, and our area was one of the first to be captured by Russian troops. The first days we were in the basement of our house — there was food, we pulled down the blankets, my little sister slept on a cot, and we — on the pallets. When I say „we“ I mean me, my sister, and my grandmother. My father died in 2015, he was defending Ukraine. He was killed by a shell fragment and didn’t make it to the hospital. And my mother did not live long without him, fell ill, and died the same year. On their anniversary — December 3. So when Russia attacked a second time, it was just a shock. I knew even then that we would not survive this easily, something would happen. My grandmother calmed me down, but I felt it in my heart,» Nastya says.
Fate saved them from death — in mid-March, they ran out of bottled water — had only several tens of liters. When Nastya, her grandmother and 12-year-old sister went out for water, a shell hit the house. Only two outer walls remain of the house, everything was destroyed, the basement was «buried» under the rubble. Nastya is sure that if they had been sitting in it at the time of the attack, no one would have survived.
«On the same day, we went to the shelter 100 meters from the house. There was a generator, so we did not freeze at home. We left the basement only to breathe air for five minutes. My sister didn’t let me go anywhere at all — her panic attacks began as soon as my grandmother or I went upstairs.
But on the 27th or 28th, the three of us went to get clothes. We wanted to take warm and clean ones because ours were already worn out. Literally walked 30 meters from the shelter, and there were five soldiers. Even then I saw that it was not our soldiers — red ribbons, narrow eyes … I somehow understood. And we had already turned back to return to the shelter, but two men pointed guns at me and my sister. Grandma didn’t move. One, perhaps the main one, then said: «Whoa, beautiful girls,» Nastya recalls.
«I was asked several times if I was ready for anything and whether I would obey»
After this, the Russians put garbage bags on the heads of all three of them, Nastya recalls her bag stank of fish.
«We were with bags on our heads in the car, and while walking from the car. I could not raise my head, but already inside I realized that we were in someone’s house, there was a laminate under our feet. We were left in the room ourselves for ten minutes, perhaps, and then I heard that my sister was suffocating. Another panic attack, whether it started at that moment, or in the car, I don’t know. I just do not know. I cried, asked her to breathe, to feel the floor, her hands, everything she could. Even when grandmother started talking to her, she calmed down a little, but she was crying.
To be honest, I don’t remember how it was. I remember that five Russians came. They removed the bags from our heads, my teeth began to chatter with fear, and I was shaking all over. One sat down next to my little sister, patted her on the head, then on the back, and said, «What a beauty.» I died then, I swear. I don’t know what he meant, but I began to beg to let her go with grandmother, and leave me. One put a gun to my head. Now I think that it should have been scary, but then I even thought: «Shoot.»
I was asked several times whether I was ready for anything and whether I would obey. I said I would do anything. Then they brushed a gun against my cheek, it became very cold. And they all laughed so loudly! But the one who put the gun said that he would let my sister and grandmother go if I will be obedient. He told me to swear, and I swore. So just said, «I swear.» They put garbage bags on my sister and grandmother and took them away, I still seemed to hear the sound of the car as they were leaving. Although, I think it was already a fantasy because in the following days I did not hear any sounds from the street,” Nastya recalls.
Nastya adds: when her grandmother and sister were taken out, she remembered that she had a smartphone in her pocket, and there were memes and pictures in the style of «shoot the rashist» on it. After that, she was praying that the phone will not be unlocked. But she was worried in vain — when the smartphone was found, one of the men simply trampled it with his boot.
«The psychologist says it’s good that I don’t remember how I was raped»
The girl was left alone in the room for several hours. Nastya admits that there weren’t even tears — she just froze and waited for what would happen next. And then the three came to «introduce themselves».
«I only fully remember the first day. Those three came, and asked my name and age. They asked who am I studying for. I said that was an artist, and in response heard that I definitely wouldn’t be useful. And then they began to undress me,» Nastya recalls.
That night or evening she was raped by all three of them. For how long — the girl does not know. She remembers that they mocked her: put weapons to her mouth and intimate parts, laughed, and asked if she liked it. Several times two soldiers raped her at the same time, and the third watched.
«I remember it was already at the end. A fat, nasty, old man, finished, patted me on the back, and said: „If someone would do it to my daughter, I would have killed him with my own hands.“ Now I’ll be honest: at that moment I dreamed with all my heart that it was so, that several men would pass her around,» Nastya says.
They didn’t leave her for long. They came one or two. In the evening (Nastya thinks so, because it was completely dark outside the window. Although one window was blocked with bags, and the other was boarded up), all three came. Assaulted her a few times. Once it got to the point that they took out a weapon — they put a knife to the girl’s throat and demanded to say what she liked, otherwise they would cut her.
«I have always been silent. I didn’t even think about anything, I just closed my eyes and it was dark there. And then they made me feel it. They liked it very much. At some time, they said, «You are a good woman.»
It was all «traditional» — they came with guns as if I could do something to them, and they assaulted me. Sometimes from the front, sometimes from behind, sometimes two of them. Once, only once, three of them tried at the same time. But it didn’t work out. I don’t want to talk about it,” Nastya says.
«Demons gathered in the east of Ukraine»: how Nastya was saved by an occupier who wanted to rape her
Nastya did not count how many days they assaulted her in that room. Later, the grandmother said that she had been gone for six days. Probably, on the last day, Nastya managed to escape.
«That day a fourth man came to me. I had never seen him before, one of these three brought me food. Or they came with bread or water (sometimes with cookies) and started doing this to me. And this one I saw for the first time. Narrow-eyed smelled very bad. It was not sweat, but something… Sour. He said that wanted to «have some fun». I said «No». He grabbed my hand and said that didn’t want to do it here, that it was «dirty» around, and he told me to shut my mouth because it would be worse. Then he took me outside. I recognized the place where they kept me. And when we crossed the road, he stumbled and fell to his knees (it seems he was drunk or on drugs — because when we walked, he staggered). My hands were tied, I could not stay on my feet and also fell, but while he was getting up, I crawled on all fours, and then got up and ran.
Ran to nowhere, just ran. I didn’t know where were ours, where not. I just wanted to run away and untie my hands, in some basement or somewhere. I remember that I ran to the store, where I saw an open door to the basement, and ran there. Fell down the stairs and hit my head. Blood poured from the forehead. But I got inside. And there were two women. They started running at me, I got scared. Then I fainted,” Nastya recalls.
The first memory after that is in the hospital. As the girl later found out, she and two women were evacuated by volunteers. They did not go down to the basement — the same women she saw carried her in arms. However, she does not know what their names are, they did not leave any contacts.
«The first question was where are my sister and grandmother. Because they weren’t on the list of evacuees, that means they’re still there. Best case scenario. A military man (he was in uniform) came to me and asked where they were hiding. I thought that we are in the territory controlled by Ukraine, so I can trust, right? And I told him. Two days later they were brought with two more evacuated children and a man. Their car was shot at when they were driving,» Nastya says.
Now Nastya lives in central Ukraine. And sure that she has already outlived those three invaders who raped her — because the military man who came promised to arrange «hell on earth» for them. However, the belief that everything is left behind is not enough — now the girl goes to a psychologist and meditates every evening. She tries to meet people but warns everyone from the start that she hates touches. Even with his sister and grandmother, she hugs «dosed» — when the sister really asks or the grandmother forgets that she should first ask.
«I know that we will win. It just hurts a lot, at what cost it will be … And I’m also glad that my parents are no longer there — because they wouldn’t survive what had been done to me,» Nastya says.