Anthony Sowell rape victim says she will always wonder why she survived

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Victim Who Escaped Convicted Serial Killer's Grasp Speaks Out

CLEVELAND (WJW) - It was a warm day in the summer of 2008.

Chanel, who agreed to show her face on camera, says she was addicted to crack and was hanging out in the area around East 130th and Buckeye; living every day trying to find her next high.

That's when she says a short man in a blue shirt and baseball cap offered her drugs in exchange for sex.

Chanel says they went to an elevator maintenance room on the top of a building, but there were no drugs, just violence.

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"My main thing was get up and run but I was naked. So he hit me and I hit him back," she said. "That made him mad enough that he took me by my neck. Then he choked me so hard that I was foaming at the mouth and I felt myself passing out and my body dragging against the wall."

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Anthony Sowell rape victim says she will always wonder why she survived
Nine-year old Ka'reema Abasiya walks past the demolished home of Anthony Sowell during a rally Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, in Cleveland. The rally marked the four year anniversary since the first bodies were found at the home of Sowell on Imperial Ave. Police later found nine more bodies around Sowell's property. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Donnita Carmichael, center, participates in a rally near Imperial Ave. Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, in Cleveland. Imperial Ave was where police found the remains of 11 women in 2009 at the home of convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell. Carmichael's mother, Tonia, was one of the victims. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Residents march Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 during a rally near Imperial Ave. where Anthony Sowell killed 11 women in Cleveland. The rally marked the four year anniversary since the first bodies were found at the home of Sowell on Imperial Ave. Police later found nine more bodies around Sowell's property. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, file photo, Michael Madison looks toward the prosecuting attorney during a pretrial hearing, in Cleveland. A judge has granted a motion by defense attorneys that prevents prosecutors from comparing Madison, a man who faces a trial for killing three women in northeast Ohio, with notorious serial killer Anthony Sowell. Madisonâs trial is scheduled to begin April 4 in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
A notice is posted on a door Sunday, July 21, 2013, where a 35-year-old registered sex offender was arrested Friday in East Cleveland, Ohio. The suspect, from East Cleveland, has indicated he might have been influenced by Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell, who was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to death, Norton said. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
In this Sept. 12, 2011 photo, Anthony Sowell sits in court in Cleveland during a pre-trial hearing. The Ohio Supreme Court is weighing arguments by attorneys for Sowell that he deserves a new trial because a hearing about the suppression of evidence was closed to the public. The 55-year-old received the death penalty in 2011 for killing 11 women whose remains were found in and around his home. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Vanessa Gay, a surviving victim, speaks to the media after the jury recommended the death penalty to Anthony Sowell Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 in Cleveland. Sowell was convicted July 22 of aggravated murder in 11 women's deaths. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Defense attorney Rufus Sims answers questions after the jury recommended the death penalty in the trial of Anthony Sowell Wednesday, August 10, 2011 in Cleveland. Sowell was convicted July 22 of aggravated murder in 11 women's deaths. (AP Photo/tony Dejak)
Adlean Atterberry, right, hugs prosecuting attorney Richard Bombik after the jury recommended the death penalty to Anthony Sowell Wednesday, August 10, 2011 in Cleveland. Sowell was convicted July 22 of aggravated murder in eleven women's deaths. Atterberry is the mother of victim Michelle Mason. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Marvin Fong, Pool)
Donnita Carmichael, left, raises her arms in victory as she leaves the courtroom after the jury recommended the death penalty for Anthony Sowell Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011in Cleveland. Sowell was convicted July 22 of aggravated murder in eleven women's deaths. Donnita is the daughter of victim Tonia Carmichael. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Barbara Carmichael, facing camera, hugs after the jury recommended the death penalty in the Anthony Sowell case Wednesday, August 10, 2011 in Cleveland. Sowell was convicted July 22 of aggravated murder in eleven women's deaths. Barbara is the mother of victim Tonia Carmichael. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Marvin Fong, Pool)
Anthony Sowell appears for the sentencing phase of his trial Tuesday morning, Aug. 9, 2011, in Cleveland. The jury that convicted Sowell began deliberating Tuesday afternoon on whether to recommend that he be put to death or spend life in prison without chance of parole. Sowell, 51, was convicted of killing 11 women and dumping their remains around his house and yard. (AP Photo/Marvin Fong, Pool)
Neuropsychologist Dr. Diana Goldstein testifies in the sentencing phase of the Anthony Sowell trial, Tuesday morning, Aug. 9, 2011, in Cleveland. The jury that convicted Sowell began deliberating Tuesday afternoon on whether to recommend that he be put to death or spend life in prison without chance of parole. (AP Photo/Marvin Fong, Pool)
Anthony Sowell delivers unsworn statements, with questions by his attorney John Parker, during his sentencing phase of his trial, Monday, August 8, 2011. Sowell was found guilty in the murders of 11 women, and their bodies were found around his Cleveland property. (AP Photo/Marvin Fong, Pool)
Barbara Carmichael, mother of victim Tonia Carmichael, wipes her eyes as she watches Anthony Sowell deliver unsworn statements in the sentencing phase of his trial in Cleveland, Monday, Aug. 8, 2011. Sowell was found guilty in the murders of 11 women, and their bodies were found around his Cleveland property. (AP Photo/Marvin Fong, Pool)
Prosecutor Pinkey Carr and Defense Attorney John Parker discuss a point with Judge Dick Ambrose during a sidebar in the trial of serial killer Anthony Sowell at the Justice Center in Cleveland on Aug. 4, 2011. Sowell, who was convicted last month of aggravated murder in the 11 deaths, appeared more animated during her testimony than normal, shaking his head "yes" or "no" in agreement. He made a comment, inaudible in the public gallery, that drew a glance from the judge and prompted a deputy to take up a position behind Sowell. (AP Photo/Scott Shaw, Pool)
Common Please Court Judge Dick Ambrose explains to the court that a juror had to be dismissed for medical reasons during closing arguments in the trial of Anthony Sowell in Cleveland on Wednesday, July 20, 2011. Sowell is charged with killing 11 women and dumping their bodies around his property. (AP Photo/Marvin Fong, Pool)
Judge Dick Ambrose checks his notes as a taped police interview plays on monitors during the murder trial of Anthony Sowell in Cleveland Friday, July 15, 2011. Sowell, 51, is charged with killing 11 women and hiding their remains in and around his home. (AP Photo/Lonnie Timmons III, Pool)
Assad Tayeh, who used to own a store in the neighborhood close to Anthony Sowell's house, holds up a picture of Sowell's house during court proceedings Tuesday, June 28, 2011 in Cleveland. Sowell is charged with killing 11 women and hiding their bodies around his property. (AP Photo/Chuck Crow, Pool)
Defense attorney Rufus Sims walks toward the three-story home of Anthony Sowell during a visit by jurors to the home of Sowell, a Cleveland man charged with killing 11 women and hiding their remains in and around his property Monday, June 27, 2011, in Cleveland. Jurors visited the home on Monday. Sowell passed on the chance to join the jurors. He has pleaded not guilty and faces the death penalty if convicted. Opening statements in the trial were scheduled Monday afternoon. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Onlookers watch as jurors visit the three-story home of Anthony Sowell in the trial of Sowell, a Cleveland man charged with killing 11 women and hiding their remains in and around his property Monday, June 27, 2011, in Cleveland. Sowell passed on the chance to join the jurors. He has pleaded not guilty and faces the death penalty if convicted. Opening statements in the trial were scheduled Monday afternoon. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
A van loaded with jurors leaves the scene after visiting the three-story home of of Anthony Sowell, center, second from corner, in the trial of Sowell, a Cleveland man charged with killing 11 women and hiding their remains in and around his property Monday, June 27, 2011, in Cleveland. Sowell passed on the chance to join the jurors. He has pleaded not guilty and faces the death penalty if convicted. Opening statements in the trial were scheduled Monday afternoon. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Workers from Ray's Sausage Company Inc. watch as jurors visit the three-story home of Anthony Sowell, left, in the trial of Sowell, a Cleveland man charged with killing 11 women and hiding their remains in and around his property Monday, June 27, 2011, in Cleveland. Monday, June 27, 2011, in Cleveland. Sowell passed on the chance to join the jurors. He has pleaded not guilty and faces the death penalty if convicted. Opening statements in the trial were scheduled Monday afternoon. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Anthony Sowell enters the courtroom for the start of his trial Monday, June 27, 2011, in Cleveland. Sowell is charged with killing 11 women and hiding their bodies around his property. The bodies were found buried throughout the home and backyard in November 2009. The women disappeared one by one, starting in October 2007, with the last one vanishing in September 2009. (AP Photo/Gus Chan, Pool)
Cleveland police officer Richard Butler testifies in the trial of Anthony Sowell on Monday, June 27, 2011, in Cleveland. Sowell is charged with killing 11 women and hiding their bodies around his property. The bodies were found buried throughout the home and backyard in November 2009. The women disappeared one by one, starting in October 2007, with the last one vanishing in September 2009. (AP Photo/Gus Chan, Pool)
The basement at the home of Anthony Sowell is seen during a tour by jurors Monday, June 27, 2011. Sowell is charged with killing 11 women and hiding their remains in and around his property. Jurors preparing to hear opening statements Monday visited the property. (AP Photo/Marvin Fong, Pool)
A bedroom is shown at the home of Anthony Sowell Monday, June 27, 2011 in Cleveland. Sowell is charged with killing 11 women and hiding their remains in and around his property. Jurors preparing to hear opening statements Monday visited the property. (AP Photo/Marvin Fong, Pool)
Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Dept. Sgt. Mike Starks closes a window in a bathroom at the home of Anthony Sowell during a visit by jurors Monday, June 27, 2011 in Cleveland. Sowell is charged with killing 11 women and hiding their remains in and around his property. Jurors preparing to hear opening statements Monday visited the property. (AP Photo/Marvin Fong, Pool)
An investigator measures the front porch at the home of Anthony Sowell Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, in Cleveland. Investigators looking into the discovery of 10 bodies and a skull at the home of Sowell, a registered sex offender carried a sledgehammer and drills into the house Wednesday and dug at the scene and an adjacent backyard as they pursued clues provided by an FBI high-tech sweep. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Two women look at the missing persons board across the street from Anthony Sowell's home, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009, in Cleveland. Now that most of the bodies found at the home of a sex offender and suspected serial killer have been identified, Cleveland is turning its attention to the living.The nonprofit Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has set up a dedicated hot line in hopes of hearing from any women who survived encounters at the home of Sowell. But sensitivities including shame, checkered backgrounds and mistrust might make it tricky to learn of more victims. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
A women's shoe rests on a microwave in the home of Anthony Sowell Monday, June 27, 2011. Jurors preparing to hear opening statements Monday visited the property. Sowell is charged with killing 11 women and hiding their remains in and around his property. (AP Photo/Marvin Fong, Pool)
FILE -In this Nov. 13, 2009 file photo, Anthony Sowell is shown in Cleveland. A judge has approved about $21,000 for a defense review of surveillance videos which could provide clues in the killing of 11 women whose remains were found at the suspect's home. The money approved Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose was about half of what the defense for Sowell had requested. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)
Photos of women whose bodies were found at the home of Anthony Sowell are shown on a missing person board Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009, in Cleveland. Now that most of the bodies found at the home of a sex offender and suspected serial killer have been identified, Cleveland is turning its attention to the living.The nonprofit Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has set up a dedicated hot line in hopes of hearing from any women who survived encounters at the home of Sowell. But sensitivities including shame, checkered backgrounds and mistrust might make it tricky to learn of more victims. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
An FBI evidence team prepares to search the Cleveland home of Anthony Sowell on Friday, Nov. 13, 2009. The remains of 11 women were discovered in the house. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
The missing persons board across the street from Anthony Sowell's home is shown Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009, in Cleveland. Now that most of the bodies found at the home of a sex offender and suspected serial killer have been identified, Cleveland is turning its attention to the living. The nonprofit Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has set up a dedicated hot line in hopes of hearing from any women who survived encounters at the home of Sowell. But sensitivities including shame, checkered backgrounds and mistrust might make it tricky to learn of more victims. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland Police investigators carry evidence bags from behind the house adjacent to Anthony Sowell's on Imperial Ave. in Cleveland Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009. The remains of 11 bodies were discovered at Sowell's home. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
An FBI agent takes a photos of the underside of the front porch of the house of Anthony Sowell, 50, in Cleveland on Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. Authorities are investigating whether Sowell, whose home and yard harbored the remains of at least 11 people, is connected to any killings in places he lived while in the military, including Japan, California and the Carolinas. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
An FBI agent takes measurements outside the home of Anthony Sowell, 50, in Cleveland on Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. Authorities are investigating whether Sowell, whose home and yard harbored the remains of at least 11 people, is connected to any killings in places he lived while in the military, including Japan, California and the Carolinas. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
A police officer stands guard outside the home of Anthony Sowell Monday, Nov. 9, 2009, in Cleveland. The FBI has promised to help check unsolved slayings around the nation as the investigation into an alleged serial killer widened beyond the 11 victims found at his Cleveland home. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Nancy Johnson, right, hugs a woman next to a small memorial across the street from he home of Anthony Sowell on the east side of Cleveland Friday, Nov. 6, 2009. The remains of 11 women were discovered in the house. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland police, fire and Cuyahoga County coroner's investigators prepare to enter the home of Anthony Sowell in Cleveland Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009. Police began a further search of the house where the remains off 11 people have been discovered. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
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Chanel says the man raped her in that room and continued to abuse her, but she talked him into waiting downstairs while she hid in a friend's apartment until he finally went away. She tried to forget about what happened.

It wasn't until months later when Anthony Sowell was being arraigned in court on TV that she realized who her attacker really was.

"You know like, tilt your head and trying to get a view and I'm saying in my head 'open your mouth.'" She said she remembered his teeth and knew he was her attacker.

She says in her heart she feels that there are more women like her out there who managed to escape Sowell. In addition to other women who have come forward because at the time, they were just like her.

"I didn't think anybody was going to care. I think they gonna be like 'she's a crack head, that's what crack heads do.'" Chanel said.

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Sowell's attorneys say he deserves a new trial because of mistakes made in the first trial.

Chanel says talk about Sowell being granted a new trial in this case brings back those horrible memories and the anger and the hurt she felt.

"How they show on the news that he felt he wasn't treated right. How could you say that he is not being treated right? They found 11 bodies on his property and he's not being treated right? No, that's not right," she said.

Chanel says she's been off drugs for four years and has been reunited with her children.

But she tells Fox 8 that she thinks about what happened every day of her life and always will wonder why she survived.

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