Gideon Haigh
This is How I Will Strangle You
November 1, 2019
'I'm just a prisoner of my past. I don't want to be a prisoner any more.'

Natasa Christidou's earliest memory is of her father masturbating over her childhood bed. She was two. It was the start of a lifetime's physical abuse and psychological torture, which included long phases of sex slavery and sex work, institutional neglect and brutal imprisonment.

Aged fifty, Natasa decided to tell her story. Gideon Haigh listened. The result is a compelling work of investigation and reportage of the silent crime of incest - usually so confronting, so taboo, that we prefer to look away, because of the social sanctity of 'the family'.

Today, Natasa lives in a tiny unit in Morwell. She is agoraphobic, vision and hearing impaired, stricken with incontinence, insomnia, panic attacks and back pain as a result of her experiences. Only with the help of a dedicated group of care workers, counsellors and lawyers has she made it so far. She is also a warm, gentle and funny woman whose survival testifies to the resilience of the human spirit.

This Is How I Will Strangle You takes the reader behind the headlines and hysteria around child sex abuse, and reinforces an uncomfortable truth: that women and children are sometimes safer on the street than in their own homes.