By Luaine Lee McClatchy-Tribune News Service
As the snooty Cordelia Chase in both “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” Charisma Carpenter was assaulted at every turn.
She was blinded through witchcraft, barely escaped death via the Master’s vessel and was the victim of a psychotic girl she snubbed in high school.
But few people know that in real life Carpenter suffered much worse. She survived a horrendous attack by an off-duty police officer and almost lost her life.
That story — and the tale of similar survivors — will be the subject of Investigation Discovery’s new show, “Surviving Evil,” premiering Wednesday.
Carpenter, who hosts the series, says the secret of her survival was the will to fight back.
She and two friends were on the beach in San Diego one evening when they were assaulted by a gun-toting stranger.
Her friends were wounded but were able to defend themselves and eventually escape. Carpenter later identified the assailant who was convicted and remains in jail to this day.
“One of the things that I was told when I was 10 was whatever they’re going to do to you when they get you alone, is going to be 10 times worse than if they had to do it right there,” she said.
“I feel that your chances of survival are greater if you fight immediately, and never get in the van.”
Another victim, Lisa McVey, was abducted as a teenager by a serial killer in Tampa, Fla.
In spite of the abuse and terror, McVey set about deliberately planting clues wherever she found herself in the hopes that they would lead to her kidnapper.
“The moment that I was plucked off my bicycle, that was the moment that I recognized that I am going to do whatever it took to survive,” McVey said.
Her efforts led to the arrest of the perpetrator and today she is a deputy with Florida’s Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department.
“Most of the people that we’re profiling in the series are passionate about telling their story, said Pamela Deutsch, executive producer of the show,
“It has some therapeutic benefits.”
“Surviving Evil” premieres at 10 p.m. Wednesday on the Discovery Channel.