True Survivor

An existential story about a remarkable recovery from one of the worlds worst rape cases.

By Katya Martinova and Carsten Graff

This book unlocks the jarring psychological journey that propelled Russias most famous rape crime. It is the inside story of Katya Martinova’s prolonged sexual slavery at the hands of an ostensibly upstanding member of Russian society. When Katya was 14 years old, Viktor Mokhov abducted her and her friend Lena from the street and took them to a tiny dungeon he had built under his garage. During her captivity, Katya and Lena were subjected to terror, tear gas, malnutrition and rape numbering in excess of a thousand times. With Katya acting as midwife, her friend Lena gave birth to two children in the dungeon under barbaric conditions. They prepared for childbirth by reading a handbook for midwives Mokhov gave them. After a miraculous release in 2004, Katya’s story created headlines globally. This book is a voyage behind the curtain of extra-deviant sexuality and a young woman's desperate struggle to rebuild a psyche burned almost to ashes. 



Katya is an intelligent and reflective woman who has made a remarkable and inspiring recovery. Today she talks openly about sex and her love life. During captivity she tried to fight the degradation by empowering herself. She began writing poetry and when her kidnapper gave her access to paint and paper, she did a series of sophisticated artistic paintings. These paintings featured surprising motifs of sensual women in provocative positions. In this book Katya reveals the intentions behind them and describes what made it possible for her to recover and become the woman she is today. She also explains how she overcame the urge to seek revenge, how she has managed to find pleasure in sex and why the abduction made it possible for her to give birth to her own children without fear.


Abductor and rapist Viktor Mokhov meticulously planned his crime for approximately four years before capturing the two girls. In secrecy, he spent three years excavating 70 tons of soil with a shovel to prepare the dungeon for his future slaves. In his town, Viktor was a friendly and highly respected citizen. At first, the police struggled to believe the truth, but Viktor had a dark side and chose to deal with his pain by abusing innocent teenagers. Mokhov is still alive and will be released from prison in 2021.



Carsten Graff visited Katya Martinova in 2018 and the two of them developed a close friendship. Graff not only tells the story from the angle of the victim, but also of the rapist and the police investigator. Graff has the mind of a reflective philosopher and wants to tell us more than another shocking crime story. This is an existential exploration into freedom, deviance, pain, healing, death, sex, empathy and reconciliation. During his work with Katya’s story, Graff also managed to uncover a hidden understanding of the philosophy behind the crime. 

Katya in the dungeon
Intrance to the dungeon
The entrance to the dungeon under Victors garage.
First day of freedom
Katya coming out on the dungeon. First day of freedom for more than 3,5 years.
The rapist Viktor Mokhov
Victor Mokhov - the rapist and kidnapper
Katya's painting
One of Katyas many paintings that she did during her captivity
Katya's painting
I painting that Katya did during captivity.
First day meeting in Russia
Katya and Carsten at their first meeting in Russia in December 2018
Katya's marriage
Katya after she found true love and married in June 2019
Katya and her family
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Published 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022

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