Nova Scotia

'I don't feel safe': Yarmouth teen who endured vicious attack speaks out

'They weren't going to let me go, they weren't bringing me home,' says the 17-year-old girl who is coping with the aftermath of a brutal attack that has resulted in charges against five people.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details

Yarmouth RCMP have charged five people in connection with the attack on Jan. 4. (Robert Short/CBC)

The 17-year-old girl who endured a vicious attack in Yarmouth, N.S., believed she would never go home again if she didn't try to escape by jumping out of the car driven by her attackers. 

The teen was able to escape the car while it was at a stop sign, and get to a nearby convenience store for help.

"I ran into that store because they weren't going to let me go, they weren't bringing me home," she told CBC News's Kayla Hounsell in an interview.

CBC News is not naming the girl to protect her identity. 

"They were talking about taking me to a field.…They were telling me they were going to break my legs and leave me there with no clothes on.

"I knew it was going to get worse. If they were going to rip my fingernails off and smash my head off a car door … they weren't going to send me home."

'I don't feel safe'

She is speaking out for the first time about what she went through, and how she wishes she could feel safe again. 

"I don't feel safe walking down these streets because I never want something like that to ever happen to me again," she said. 

"I just want to be able to feel safe. I want them to go to jail for a long time."

Five people, including a 17-year-old girl, three 19-year-old women and one 64-year-old woman, are facing assault charges in connection with the attack.

RCMP allege that the girl was picked up by a woman she knew in a car on Cliff Street in Yarmouth on Jan. 4.

There were a number of people in the car that the girl didn't know. The girl was accused of stealing, and shortly afterwards she was punched in the head.

The attack continued as the car drove around the Yarmouth area and made stops. 

Threats to drown her

Police say the girl was dragged out of the car, thrown to the ground, then kicked and punched in the head. They also allege the attackers poured water over the girl's face and down her throat and dragged her by her hair.

"They were threatening to drown her, they tried to get a pit bull in the residence to attack her as well," said the girl's aunt. CBC is not naming her to protect the girl's identity.

The aunt said the charges laid, including aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and unlawful confinement, do not adequately address the brutal, lengthy beating and the psychological terror that accompanied it.

"I feel that the charges right now ... are nothing compared to what they did to her," she said.

The aunt said seeing her niece after the attack was one of the most horrific things she has ever witnessed.

"Her face was almost unrecognizable. Her face was swollen, her lip was very, very swollen, her eyes were swollen.

"She had marks on her face and all she was saying at that time was that she couldn't tell me who it [the attackers] was because she feared for her life. That they were going to come back and they were going to kill her."

Acrylic nails were torn off her fingers, damaging her real nails underneath and one of her real nails was completely torn off. 

Repeated blows to the girl's head had caused swelling and chunks of hair had been ripped out of her scalp. 

Remarkable support from community

Her aunt hopes that counselling will help the girl heal, but fears "the incident will follow her for the rest of her life."

"Her bruises have faded. Her lumps, her swelling has gone down. She's a really strong girl but I feel that, and she's said to me, it hasn't fully sunk in yet what they did to her."

Her aunt said there has been an outpouring of support from the Yarmouth community for the teen. She has received flowers, baskets of toiletries, food items and an offer to get her nails redone.

"It's just remarkable. And it definitely helps, big time, knowing that we have the support we do," her aunt said.

With files from Kayla Hounsell and Susan Bradley