By SHAUNA ANDERSON
Warning: This post deals with sexual assault and may be distressing for some readers.
For 26-year-old Perth woman Laura Bushney, flying with Malaysia Airlines just weeks after the crash of MH17 and just months after the disappearance of MH370 was an experience filled with anxiety.
What she never expected was for the terror she feared to actually happen to her.
On 4 August, Laura Bushney was flying to Paris to meet her boyfriend. She had chosen Malaysia Airlines because it was discounted but still she was scared, worried by recent events.
Three hours into the flight, with the plane in darkness, it hit turbulence. For an anxious flier it was the last thing she needed.
The Chief Steward, a man named Mohd Rosli Bin Ab Karim, sat down beside Laura in the aisle seat.
She said he grabbed her hand and told her to lie down and sleep. Laura said she felt so uncomfortable with his attention that she asked him to get her a drink, but when he returned he placed her feet on his lap and began massaging her legs.
A clearly deeply affected Laura told Sunday Night she was scared and petrified, and was so caught in the moment that she never told him to stop.
But as a safety measure, Laura turned on the video of her mobile phone in the darkness of the cabin and began recording the incident.
“He moved his hand towards my belly button. I was pushing his hands away. I thought by pushing his hands away I was telling him I did not want that to happen,” she told Sunday Night.
Laura told Sunday Night the steward then left but returned half an hour later. This time the alleged assault became more serious. It progressed to what Laura alleges was rape.
From Sunday Night:
Laura: “I just froze and he then puts his hand inside my pants”
Ross (Reporter): What did he do to you?
Laura: He puts his fingers inside me.
Ross: That’s rape.
Ross: Did you try and stop him?
Ross: Just talk me through I think a lot of people back home might be thinking why did you not just smack his hand away turn the light on and immediately call for a steward?
Laura: As soon as it happened he got up I think the thought process of what he had done, he realised what he had done and walked away. It happened so fast I was absolutely frozen.
A young woman sitting in front of Laura, Canadian Sophie Lachance, heard Laura crying and went to comfort her.
“Somebody touched my arm … and I remember I woke up and I saw her face full of tears and she was sobbing really, really strong,” Sophie Lachance said.