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"If I see a closet ajar, my heart races." Angela will never forget the day her ex attacked her.

Almost one year ago, Dr Angela Jay was lying on the concrete floor of her neighbour’s garage in Port Macquarie. She was bleeding from eleven stab wounds and covered in petrol. She was instructing her neighbour on how to keep her alive as they waited for the ambulance.

Angela had just escaped the violent clutches of her former partner who’d been trying to kill her.

He’d broken into her home, hidden in her walk-in wardrobe and waited. He waited as the 28-year-old doctor in obstetrics ate her dinner – spaghetti bolognese in front of the TV. He waited as she fed the cat. And, as she walked down the hall and into the bedroom, he struck – stabbing her repeatedly when she tried to escape and dousing her in petrol with the intent to set her on fire.

This was November, 2016 and now, 10 months later, Angela is embarking on White Ribbon’s Trek for Respect in the Northern Territory. She is raising money and awareness around the all-too-pervasive issue of domestic violence in Australia.

“I got the email about the trek when I was feeling lost – it was a time when I was trying to comprehend what had happened to me,” she told Daily Mail in a recent interview that was published on Saturday, as Angela made her way to Alice Springs to begin the hike.

Angela says only feels safe because her attacker is dead – Paul Lambert was shot by police when they tracked him in his car around 150 kilometres from Port Macquarie directly after the attack – but she knows this is not the case for many women.

“Many women are not lucky enough to escape – approximately one woman a week in Australia is killed by a current or ex-partner,” Angela writes on her fundraising page. “As a doctor, I have also witnessed the sad truth that rates of domestic violence actually increase during pregnancy.”

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Alongside her father and her brother, Angela is hiking 65 kilometers across five days on the Larapinta Trail, which runs from the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to the peak of Mount Sonder in the Northern Territory.

“With most of the stab wounds in my legs and hid, this will be both a physically and mentally challenging event for me,” her fundraising page reads.

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It’s an important milestone, however, as Angela says she’s still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following the attack.

“I am definitely too afraid to live alone or with strangers and I have a real issue with closets. My bed is on the floor, there is no closet in my room now, there is nowhere for anyone to hide,” she told Daily Mail. “I think about the attack every day, sometimes it’s brief, sometimes it’s not.”

“Of course I have the scars – every time I see them it brings me back. One of the scars on my arm is very painful and uncomfortable when touched, which also takes me back.”

Since her recovery, Angela has become a powerful force in the domestic violence discussion across Australia.

She has raised almost $80,000  – out of a $100,000 goal – for White Ribbon with the trek alone. Money that will go to supporting vicim of domestic violence and educating young boys on ways to stop violence in their communities. And she’s been a regular speaker at events around the country.

Her goal is to break down the stigmatic barrier victims of domestic violence often face in seeking help.

“When this was happening to me I was too ashamed to talk to my colleagues about it,” Angela told Daily Mail. “I told my neighbour my concerns and I told friends but I could have done more.”

“It’s important for people to know they can ask for help.”

To sponsor Angela on her Trek for Respect, click here

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call 1800 RESPECT for support. 

READ MORE:

Angela’s story: “I can’t explain the horror you feel when someone is trying to set you on fire.”

How artificial intelligence is helping victims of domestic violence.

Why ignoring paid domestic violence leave comes at a serious cost for victims.

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