Tahlia Giumelli says she does not walk alone at night. Picture: Jason McCawley
Tahlia Giumelli says she does not walk alone at night. Picture: Jason McCawley

‘I still live in fear’: NRL star’s partner

AN NRL star's model partner has revealed the ­moment she screamed and fought off a brutal attack while a teenage schoolgirl - an assault that has her living in fear even now.

"It was a flight or fight ­moment and I fought," Tahlia Giumelli, 25, the long-term girlfriend of Rabbitohs prop Tom Burgess, told News Corp Australia.

Giumelli was 17 when she was set upon by a man who ­attempted to pull her to the ground and rip her pants off, as she was walking home from her Cronulla high school.

"He came up behind me and tried to push me to the ground. He pulled my pants down. I screamed and fought. I punched him and got away," Giumelli said.

"I ran, I ran as fast as I could back to my apartment building."

But the Miss Universe Australia finalist was dragged through the court system for the next year before her ­attacker was jailed for three years and nine months for the crime.

And then he did it again.

Tahlia Giumelli with boyfriend, NRL star Tom Burgess. Picture: Christian Gilles
Tahlia Giumelli with boyfriend, NRL star Tom Burgess. Picture: Christian Gilles

This year that same man pleaded guilty to charges of stalking, intimidation and ­assault and will be sentenced in September.

"How the hell can that happen? Isn't once enough, is our system not helping these people?" Giumelli posted to Instagram.

She said she was moved to speak out in the wake of the rape and murder of comedian Eurydice Dixon as she walked through a Melbourne park.

And Giumelli's own ­mother was also a victim, ­assaulted at knifepoint when she was just 24 years old.

"It brings up the emotions which happened. It also angers me that it is still happening to women," Giumelli said.

Giumelli is a finalist in Miss Universe Australia.
Giumelli is a finalist in Miss Universe Australia.

Tonight Giumelli, who is signed to top Sydney modelling agency Scoop, will join fellow Miss Universe Australia finalists in Melbourne for the announcement of this year's winner.

But wherever she goes, Giumelli lives with the legacy of that brutal attack.

She has been outspoken on topics she feels are important. Picture: David Swift
She has been outspoken on topics she feels are important. Picture: David Swift

When she's out and ­Giumelli sees a strange man, she calls Burgess to have someone on the phone, just in case.

"I live in fear. I live in fear because it has happened to me and it is still on the rise," ­Giumelli said.

"I have a six-foot five (196cm), built boyfriend and I am still scared.

MORE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEBATE

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Claire Harvey: Women at war over Eurydice Dixon

Miranda Devine: It's not victim blaming to say 'take care'

"It could have been so much worse for me. I thank God every day that nothing worse happened to me. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder afterwards. I have had a lot of nightmares; I would wake up in the night.

"I will always look behind me, I will never walk at night.

"I can remember his face, I can remember the situation, I can remember what I was wearing," she said.

And is always careful about her personal safety. Picture: David Swift
And is always careful about her personal safety. Picture: David Swift
She is also signed to modelling agency Scoop. Picture: David Swift
She is also signed to modelling agency Scoop. Picture: David Swift


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