17-Year-Old Who Awoke From Coma After a Violent Rape Bravely Rejects Abortion

International   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Feb 25, 2015   |   6:25PM   |   Sydney, Australia

In Australia, 17-year-old April-lee Gillen was found lying unconscious and critically injured beside a road after an attempted abduction.

A motorist found Gillen and brought her to Wollongong Hospital, where she was treated for a broken angle, collapsed lung and bleeding on her brain. Gillen was so badly injured that she suffered short-term memory loss after the incident. In fact, surgeons had to perform emergency surgery to remove a section of her skull to ease the pressure on her brain.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, at the hospital doctors put Gillen in an induced coma and two months later, found out that she was pregnant; however, because of her memory loss she had to be reminded about her baby every day. April-lee shared more about the experience with A Current Affair. She said, “I said ‘Am I pregnant? Oh my goodness’. And then I would forget because I had that thing still where I’d forget each day.”


Gillen said she doesn’t remember how she escaped from her kidnapper. She said, “I must have [wrestled open the door], because my mum has told me, like, all my life, as a teenager … and even as a little kid, she’s like ‘April, if you’re ever not safe and you need help, you should just scream as loud as you can, April, and help will come for you. That’s what I must have done.”



Remarkably, despite her injuries, Gillen said she never considered aborting her baby. Initially, Gillen’s mother Leonie was concerned about her daughter’s wellbeing but supported her decision to keep her baby. She said, “…Later on, as April healed much more, she was clearer, well spoken and quite determined in what she wanted. So I said to April ‘I’ll be right by your side’. And it’s the best decision we’ve made.”

Gillen said, “I said to mum ‘It’s a little baby’ and I said ‘I’m giving birth to him’ or ‘I’m bringing him into this world, so I’m not going to think about getting rid of him at all’.” Now April-lee says her son is “a little boy version of his mum,” and that she is recovering well from her injuries.


Acting Superintendent Andrew Koutsoufis explained more about the incident. He said, “We believe that she was dragged into that vehicle and something has happened in that vehicle, and shortly afterwards she was ejected from that vehicle, dragged along, where she suffered some serious injuries. [She is] just a 17-year-old girl walking alone in a dark street when she’s encountered … this. She had no support there with her, she was alone and I can’t imagine how horrific it would have been.”

Unfortunately, police have not been able to locate Gillen’s kidnapper. Leonie concluded, “I feel they shouldn’t be out there and that’s why I’m here today. If anyone out there knows anything at all in regards to what happened to April, please speak up, don’t just walk away.”