She was abducted from her place of learning, driven to an abandoned house and brutally raped. But she wants the world to know she isn't bitter, she isn't just another victim and she is still committed to this country.
Rene, younger sister of Springbok rugby star Schalk Burger, spoke out bravely on Thursday as she confirmed she was the unnamed student who was abducted and gang-raped last week.
The attack took place in an abandoned house outside Stellenbosch.
Rene, a medical student at Tygerberg Hospital, eventually managed to escape.
Since the news broke on Saturday, the media has respected a request by the family to keep Burger's identity private, to protect his sister's privacy.
But family spokesperson Dup de Bruyn said Rene wanted to speak out against abuse of women.
"The reason she wants to do that is to send a very strong message - not to lie down, to fight back and don't let them do this to us."
In a media statement, Rene said: "To fall victim to brutal abduction and rape is one of the most traumatic experiences any woman can live through.
"You do, however, have a choice in how you respond to this reality."
The statement said her family had expressed relief about having her home safe and wished to thank friends and strangers who had shown solidarity and support.
The family comprises Schalk junior; Schalk senior, who also played top-level rugby, and his wife Myra; Burger's younger brother Tiaan; "and my little sister Rene... who got all the looks and all the brains!" as Burger told a magazine a few years back.
This week, Stormers spokesperson Frikkie Erasmus told how players hung on to a draw against the Waratahs on Saturday despite a week of trauma and sadness over the rape of a fellow player's sister.
"Obviously the whole squad are like a family, and it was disturbing - the players were upset. And yet they were very supportive."
Erasmus said he had spoken to the player. "He's fine, but very traumatised - like anyone would be if something like that happens to a sister."
Asked how the news of the crime affected the players, he said: "It's something they quite often deal with, traumatic things, so they are equipped to deal with them."
On Monday, players were still honouring a vow to protect Burger and his sister and keep the matter "strictly private, like in a big family".
Police spokesperson Captain Marie Louw said they were hoping to make an arrest soon, following strong leads after the publication of an identikit picture of one of the suspects.
It emerged on Thursday that police stationed at Tygerberg Hospital knew nothing about the attack until this week.
A source close to the investigation said: "The security guards apparently didn't know about the attack, and even after they were informed, they didn't think to tell the two police officers stationed at a mobile unit there."
The unit has been at the hospital for more than 10 years.
The National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union said it had received previous complaints about security at Tygerberg. Hospital chief director Dr Terence Carter said no disciplinary action would be taken against the security company.