CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - For the first time, the public heard from the Willowbrook attack victim.
Last Saturday, police say Melissa Schuster was leaving her house when she was approached by Londale Madison.
Police say he beat, stabbed and sexually assaulted her.
Typically, the identities of sexual assault victims aren't shared, but Schuster says she wants to share her story and thank her supporters.
Schuster, 26, lovingly called Mimi by her family, says that she has won.
“I defeated him. I took him down and he may have tried to do whatever he could to me, but ultimately in the end, I won,” said Schuster.
Moments after being discharged from the hospital, her family helped her into a wheelchair so she could speak to the media.
“I have been talking about it since day one, and it is a huge relief and burden and stress lifted off of me,” said Schuster.
She says her stab wounds are healing quickly, including the ones near her kidneys and liver.
Now, she says most of the pain is in her face. The attack left her with a broken nose and cheek bone, and blurry vision in her left eye.
“I actually saw myself for the first time in the mirror yesterday and it kind of broke my heart a little bit, I was almost in tears but then I realized it's just the beginning,” she said.
Schuster says her memory of the Saturday afternoon attack inside her home is foggy, but her escape is clear.
“He had led me upstairs and he wanted me to rinse off from all the blood and I remember standing there thinking to myself, this is it, I am not going to make it, I am going to die,” she remembers. “Then I looked down and I saw all the blood around me and that's when I said in my head, I am going to make it to my neighbor's house I am going to find a way.”
With her last ounce of energy, Schuster ran from her house to the neighbors.
Days later, she picked Madison out of a picture lineup.
“He does not deserve to see the light of day, he doesn't deserve to ever come in contact with another female or children or anything, he is an animal,” she said.
“This is unspeakable joy today, Mimi wins, we have our daughter back, that guy is put away,” said her father Paul.
She says she doesn't know exactly what her future holds, only that she wants to help others.
“He may have hurt me and had all of these physical scars and imperfections now, but they will go away over time and ultimately I am alive and I will be well and I still have my family and everybody around me that loves me so that's, he can't take that away from me,” said Schuster.