Woman shares graphic photo of bloodied face after sex attack to raise awareness for #MeToo viral campaign

Sebastian Mann
Victim: Rena Effendi shared a graphic selfie as part of the #MeToo campaign: Rena Effendi/Facebook

A photojournalist has told how she was pinned down and beaten in the back of a cab during a shocking sexual assault that left her with a swollen and bloodied face.

Rena Effendi, a photographer based in Istanbul, posted a graphic portrait of her facial injuries as part of the viral #MeToo social media campaign, which hundreds of thousands of women have used to detail allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.

The 40-year-old, originally from Azerbaijan, said she fought back with her iPhone when a cab driver in Cairo pulled over, locked the doors and assaulted her in a 2012 attack.

She said he demanded she undress herself before head-butting her in the face and grabbing her hair to prevent her escape.

In an article for Time magazine, Ms Effendi wrote: “My vision blurred, but I did not lose consciousness. I fought back with the only thing I had in my hands, an iPhone.

“While hitting his temple as hard as I could with the corner of the phone I told him I had money in my purse and to let me go. ‘I don’t want your money,’ he replied, and continued the beating.”

She added: “Each time I halfway climbed out of the car, he grabbed me by the hair and dragged me back inside. After some struggle, I finally managed to crawl out of the cab completely.”

After finally escaping when another car pulled up and scared off the taxi driver, Ms Effendi said she went home and immediately photographed herself so she could have a “record of what had happened”.

She said she initially posted it on Facebook in 2013 before taking it down, but had now been inspired by the #MeToo campaign to share it once again.

She wrote: “Encouraged by the testimonies of so many women who came forward in #metoo campaign, I decided to re-post the image of my face.”

In the latest public Facebook post, Ms Effendi explained: “#metoo when a taxi driver thought he had a right to my body, but I fought him back and managed to escape.

“It’s good to finally see such wide coverage on the issue of sexual abuse.

“It took somebody powerful and famous in Hollywood to prompt this international outrage, let's hope that it will at least keep the momentum going and shed light on other stories of ordinary survivors.”

A string of high-profile women have come forward to make allegations against Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein including rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

The claims, first published by the New York Times earlier this month, prompted scores of other women to come forward to share similar experiences of abuse at the hands of often powerful men.

Mr Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.