The war correspondent Lara Logan said she felt certain she would die during a sexual assault by a mob during celebrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square to mark the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
In her first interviews since she was attacked two months ago, Logan, 39, a South African, said the first hint of danger came when her Arabic-speaking interpreter heard words in the crowd that made her worry for her safety while working on a programme for the US network CBS. The interpreter advised the team to leave but before they could, several hundred men separated her from her team and swept her away.
Men groped and beat her body. "For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands," Logan told The New York Times. "What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence."
She lost contact with colleagues for about 25 minutes. "There was no doubt in my mind that I was in the process of dying," she said in a transcript of a television interview due to be screened tomorrow.
"I thought not only am I going to die, but it's going to be just a torturous death that's going to go on for ever and ever and ever."
Thoughts of her two children helped her get through the attack, which ended when she was rescued by Egyptian women and soldiers who drove her to her hotel. She was flown to the United States and treated in hospital for four days.
When she saw her children she "felt like I had been given a second chance that I didn't deserve... because I did that to them. I came so close to leaving them, to abandoning them."
In the weeks after her assault, other women told of being harassed and attacked overseas. She said she decided to speak out to give courage to these other women.
Her only previous public comment came in a statement released while she was in hospital and in which she revealed she had suffered a brutal attack. That statement "didn't leave me to carry the burden alone, like my dirty little secret, something that I had to be ashamed of," she told the newspaper.
Logan, who returned to work this week, was a war correspondent for GMTV during the US-led Afghanistan war in 2001. She reported on the war in Iraq and its aftermath. She joined CBS in 2002.Reuse content