On day 23 of the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, one of Breivik's youngest victims told the court that the perpetrator of the worst single shooting spree in peacetime is a 'cowardly little man.'
“I wear my scars with honour,” Yiva Helene Schwenke (15) from Tromsø told the court, Wednesday. “It's the price we pay for democracy.”
Schwenke was only fourteen at the time when Breivik shot her four times.
After hearing shots and running from the scene of the earliest murders, she found herself creeping along the path known as Kjærlighetsstien towards the rock wall leading to the water's edge. She saw a bullet hitting the ground two metres in front of her, but does not remember seeing the ten young people who were later found shot dead on the path.
Simen Sæbø (18) had told her to go down the rock wall first, so that he could cover her. Breivik appeared and began shooting down the rock wall. She could feel the bullets as they struck her in the shoulder and the stomach, and fell down the slope. Sæbø was later found dead.
“I almost ended up in the water, and I think perhaps it was here I was shot in the leg,” Yiva Helene Schwenke explained. “I tried to stop the bleeding from my shoulder. And kept an eye on the time, to have something else to think about. And I pinched my arm so I wouldn't lose consciousness.”
She was convinced that she was going to die. “I thought... that four bullets would be pretty impossible to survive. I just lay and waited, for the light or whatever that's supposed to happen when you die, but nothing happened. So I thought, I'm going to survive this,” she told the court.
Schwenke was eventually rescued, and spent four weeks in hospital. “I'm actually doing pretty well,” she told the court. “I've never had such good marks as I'm getting now, because I've been allowed off gym.”
When asked why she did not cover the scars she bears on her neck and throat, she replied, “I have no problem showing my scars. I view it as a victory of sorts. We have paid a high price for democracy, and we have won. Maybe I'm not proud, but I bear them with dignity.”
Anders Behring Breivik smiled when Schwenke said that democracy had won.
Four other young survivors also gave testimony on this day. All had survived bullet wounds.
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