NO matter how cold it gets, "Katrina" will not wear a scarf.
She hates anything around her neck after having a knife held to her throat during an armed robbery 20 years ago.
She was only 17 and in her first job as a pharmacy assistant in Melbourne when she was taken hostage during a hold-up.
"I was putting price stickers on some perfume boxes in a display cabinet when a voice came up behind me and said, 'I'm sorry but I'm going to have to frighten you'," she said.
"He grabbed me in a headlock and had a carving knife to my throat and dragged me across the floor."
The busy pharmacist was oblivious to what was going on until the robber yelled, "Give me the money! Give me the f...ing money!"
A co-worker who saw the robber from another room through a one-way mirror tried to hide, then ran next door but was so panicked that she could not remember to dial 000 for police.
The pharmacist shoved the day's takings - a couple of hundred dollars - into a bag, but the robber thought he was not going to hand over the money and began dragging Katrina away.
He dropped her and fled after the pharmacist rushed to hand over the money.
Katrina was left with a small cut to the throat, soft tissue damage to the neck and upper back, and emotional issues that have been much harder to heal.
"It affected my whole life," she said.
On her first visit to a chemist to pick up anti-inflammatories for her injuries, she found herself backing up against a wall, watching back and front entrances for any sign of an intruder.
She needed physiotherapy and massage for her injuries.
Her employers organised counselling for her and a co-worker, but she never returned to work at the chemist, and did not work for a year afterwards.
Worried that the robber might recognise her by her distinctive hairstyle, she had her hair cut, which she later learned was a common victim reaction.
Her relationship with her brother broke down.
Panic attacks set in, and she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder five years after the robbery.
Katrina later changed her name to make a fresh start.
She received $10,000 in compensation for the trauma she suffered "but I said at the time I'd give every cent back to have my peace of mind".