A survivor of serial rapist Malcolm Rewa shares her story in the following letter to the Herald. She also tells of her relief at today's guilty verdict after the murder trial of the past two weeks.

It was three days before Christmas nearly 23 years ago when I stumbled upon Malcolm Rewa crouched behind a bedroom door in my flat.

About to leave for a gathering at a friend's, nothing prepared me for what I found on the other side of that door.

In a second my life changed forever.

In 1998 Malcolm Rewa was convicted of having raped Susan Burdett but two juries were unable to decide whether he murdered her. Photo / File
In 1998 Malcolm Rewa was convicted of having raped Susan Burdett but two juries were unable to decide whether he murdered her. Photo / File

"Scream and I'll f***ing kill you," he hissed and he beat me across the face, the back, punching me firmly and continuously in my stomach - so much so I remember the wind being knocked out of me, and urine pouring down my leg.

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The next hour of my life isn't one I discuss often.

I was assaulted, tied up, gagged, beaten and eventually raped. This was not what I expected for myself, aged 18 on the way to a Christmas party.

There was no rehearsal for this. I believed him when he said that he would kill me. But it was not me that he killed.

Over the years it has been hard to escape the news of Malcolm Rewa. With Teina Pora being wrongfully convicted, his face has appeared and reappeared in the media and again I find myself looking into his eyes, minus a balaclava and apparently having discovered God, although after what he has done I find it hard to believe.

A serial rapist is the stuff of every woman's nightmares. And for those of us who have had the misfortune of encountering one, I say this: He is not your story. You are your story.

Malcolm Rewa, pictured on the day he gave evidence during his third murder trial. Photo / Pool video
Malcolm Rewa, pictured on the day he gave evidence during his third murder trial. Photo / Pool video

And while we are again hearing more news about what that hideous creature did to Susan Burdett, a woman, at home, minding her own business, a woman who through no fault of her own, lost her life - I say this: I have met many of the women who encountered Malcolm Rewa, serial rapist, terroriser of women, murderer – and they are incredible.

I have also met Susan Burdett's family – and they are amazing.

Malcolm Rewa's lawyer Paul Chambers talks about the guilty verdict outside the High Court. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Malcolm Rewa's lawyer Paul Chambers talks about the guilty verdict outside the High Court. Photo / Jason Oxenham

For every horror story you imagine about what this man has done – understand that there are women out there who are living their lives, moving on, surviving him despite having to repeatedly look at his face on TV, and in the paper.

A serial rapist is the stuff of every woman's nightmares, says a victim of Malcolm Rewa. Pictured is Susan Burdett who was raped and killed in her home in 1992. Photo / Supplied
A serial rapist is the stuff of every woman's nightmares, says a victim of Malcolm Rewa. Pictured is Susan Burdett who was raped and killed in her home in 1992. Photo / Supplied

We are the lucky ones. We are the survivors. But Susan Burdett was not so lucky.

There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful for my life, my family, the 23 years I have had since my encounter with that terrible man.

While I have followed the murder trial, like much of the rest of New Zealand I have followed it not because I need reminding - I know mine and many others' stories well. I have been following for Susan, and I am relieved with all of my being, that for Susan and her family, justice has finally been done.