Olympic hero Dawn Fraser reveals rape and domestic violence, not the worst that happened to her

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Dawn Fraser is considered one of Australia’s greatest sports legends, but outside of the pool, her life has been filled with immense pain and trauma.

While the 83-year-old has survived two rapes, domestic violence and nearly committed suicide, the Olympic champion says there was one more moment in her life that was even worse.

In 1964, when Fraser was only 26, she was behind the wheel in a car accident that killed her mother Rose.

Dawn Fraser (pictured) is considered one of Australia’s greatest sporting legends, but outside the pool, her life is filled with pain and trauma

In 1964, when Fraser (pictured) was only 26, she was behind the wheel in a car accident that killed her mother Rose.

In 1964, when Fraser (pictured) was only 26, she was behind the wheel in a car accident that killed her mother Rose.

The gruesome accident, which occurred when Fraser bumped into an ute parked on a curb, left the swimmer with fractured vertebrae and torn ligaments in her knees. Her mother was dead on arrival at the hospital.

Despite the injuries, Fraser took home gold eight months later at the 1964 Tokyo Games, where she famously attempted to steal an Olympic flag as a souvenir.

She hid her pain for so many years, but in 2019, while at a swimmers camp in South Australia, the memories came back when the event’s MC asked guests to tell a story about their lives.

‘I broke loose that I was driving the car that killed my mother. Everyone burst into tears and I cried with them. It took me over some kind of hurdle. I just locked it in, ”she said The courier post

Before the freestyle swimmer became known across Australia as ‘Our Dawn’, she grew up on the working-class streets of Balmain in the inner west of Sydney.

She even had an after-school job as a runner for infamous SP bookie Lenny McPherson.

The Olympian has survived two assaults, been a victim of domestic violence, and nearly ended her own life

The Olympian has survived two assaults, been a victim of domestic violence, and nearly ended her own life

Fraser has won four gold medals in three Olympics.  She is pictured with her medal after a victory in the 100-meter freestyle at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960

Fraser has won four gold medals in three Olympics. She is pictured with her medal after a victory in the 100-meter freestyle at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960

But in her early twenties, she would become a victim of sexual assault, if a man she met at a party “took advantage of her” after she “drank.”

Fraser was a virgin and became pregnant after the attack.

Too embarrassed to tell her parents, she entrusted her late coach Harry Gallagher to organize an abortion.

‘That was one of the most horrifying times of my life. So horrifying that I put it in the back of my mind and try not to think about it… It’s in the past and I’m not living in the past, ”she said.

Ten years later, in 1971, she would be victimized again after a Polish sailor in Balmain harbor locked her in a room and raped her.

She said she was trying to fight, but he held a knife to her throat.

Before the freestyle swimmer became known across Australia as 'Our Dawn', she grew up on the working-class streets of Balmain in the inner west of Sydney.

Before the freestyle swimmer became known across Australia as ‘Our Dawn’, she grew up on the working-class streets of Balmain in the inner west of Sydney.

Australian swimmers Lorraine Crapp (left) and Dawn Fraser (right) at the Olympic pool in Rome, Italy, before the 1960 Summer Olympics

Australian swimmers Lorraine Crapp (left) and Dawn Fraser (right) at the Olympic pool in Rome, Italy, before the 1960 Summer Olympics

Fraser had also faced violence in her home after marrying Gary Ware in 1965.

He started gambling, going to nightclubs, playing cards and getting blind drunk until 4am, she said.

But the horror didn’t come to a head until a year after their wedding when Ware came home drunk and entered their daughter Dawn-Lorraine’s room.

Then all the anger came out. I took the (glass baby) bottle and I smashed it and I said, “ Leave her alone now ”. I said, “ You’ve brought me to this stage now, Gary. You have to go. I don’t want to go to jail for murder, and that’s what I’ll do, ” Fraser said.

After the divorce, she admitted that there were times when she was nearly an alcoholic and became depressed and suicidal.

But now she says she just wants to enjoy her life and leave her past trauma behind.

She has now left Sydney for the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, where she lives with her daughter Dawn-Lorraine, 55, and her grandson Jackson, 17.

Fraser says she is eagerly looking forward to the 2032 Olympics – which may be held in Queensland.

Fraser (pictured) now says she just wants to enjoy her life and leave her past trauma behind

Fraser (pictured) now says she just wants to enjoy her life and leave her past trauma behind