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

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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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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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