I'm very sorry to hear what happened to your girlfriend. I think you are sensible to move to Brighton to give her a better chance of getting over it quicker.
I wanted to tell her something that helped me after I was attacked some years ago.
12 years ago I was attacked by a really big guy who tried to rape me. I kicked and screamed and eventually he gave it up and ran away so although I did get beaten up and a bit scarred I did not get raped, but in my case I was lucky in that there was only one of them, not like your girlfriend who was attacked by several people.
Even so I was very badly affected afterwards by what they call "Post traumatic stress". This is normal but I had to deal with it to be able to get on with my life and I eventually found a very good martial arts instructor who gave me one to one self defence training which gave me back my confidence. There is a lot of rubbish taught as womens self defence so you have to shop about a bit but there are some brilliant people out there most of whose clientelle are there because they too were attacked and are learning to cope with what has happened to them.
As a result of this when I was mugged recently by a guy with a meatcleaver in Spa Road park I dealt with it much better than I would otherwise have done. I didn't do any fancy moves, I gave him my phone and I got out of there unhurt which is the object of the excercise. I maintained my sense of being in control and I was OK. I highly recommend learning some good dirty fighting techniques to any woman who has been attacked, not particulary with the plan of looking to use them, but in order to be able to think straight and handle yourself in a bad situation: Assess the situation, formulate the safest plan to escape, carry out the plan.
Something else I was told but haven't tried is if you are attacked to crawl under a car and hold on to the chassis if they try and drag you out. It's very hard for them to get a person out from under a car, they aren't going to want to crawl in after you and if they do you kick them in the face. Hopefully they give up and go away and you can phone for help on your mobile or even just pretend to loudly if you don't have one for the attackers benefit to encourage them to leave.
Southwark is not as safe as people like to imagine and it's fairly easy to look up your statistical likelyhood of being attacked round here on a number of websites, you will find it is much higher than many other areas. Also bear in mind that these statistics are generated from the REPORTED attacks. Not all the attacks.
There are a huge number of cycle thefts from Leathermarket Court, sometimes bikes are stolen almost daily and very few are ever found. This has been happening for over 10 years yet the managing agents (Gross Fine) always refuse to put signs up or improve the security of the cycle area.
Surely this must bring criminals into the area and substantially increase the chances of more serious violent crime.
prof64 i guess you live at Leathermarket Court from your posting. Unfortunatley security hasn't been high on the residents list of priorities over the years, and given the haphazard funding that was in place, it was difficult to achieve. Now, however, a sustainable and sensible funding scheme is in place and security is the top priority as far as I am concerned. A meeting will be held next wednesday, 28th Novemeber @7pm, where we shall discuss proposals to improve security on the estate.