PASADENA, Texas -

A Houston-area woman is recovering after a brutal sexual assault in which her attacker left her for dead.

It happened last month after the suspect asked the woman to borrow a cigarette and then her cellphone outside a Conoco gas station on Queens near San Jacinto in Pasadena.

"The corner of the gas station is when he came behind me," says the woman, who we're not identifying because she the victim of a sex crime.

What troubles her the most is she says she originally tried to help 43-year-old Derek Esparza by letting him borrow her phone and a cigarette.

It was just after 4 p.m. outside the gas station on March 22. But then Esparza allegedly kidnapped her at knife point and led her inside this abandoned warehouse.

He allegedly beat her so badly she suffered a broken jaw, a broken eye socket, and stab wounds to her neck and head -- and then was sexually assaulted as she lay unconscious.

After more than 12 hours she woke up, dragged herself outside, and made it back to the gas station to call 911. Today she's not just recovering,
she's healing -- physically and emotionally. And she doesn't consider herself a victim -- but a survivor.

"I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother. I mean something. There's people that care about me, and he almost took me from them," the victim said.

Police say the caught Esparza because he also stole the woman's cell phone and used it for several days after the alleged attack.

One of those calls allegedly was to his ex-girlfriend whom police say Esparza phoned to inform her he had broken into her apartment, ransacked it, and
spread her mother's ashes around the woman's bedroom.