Rape survivor shares her story - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Rape survivor shares her story

April 26, 2004

Valdosta - Every two minutes, someone in America is sexually assaulted. April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, and one survivor is sharing her story in hopes that other victims will come forward.

It's been six months since her attack, but she remembers every detail like it was yesterday. "I was at a store and was taken by gunpoint."

She was taken to a dark, isolated area, where she was raped inside her car. "First, I was thinking of survival, do what you've got to do to live and then also a lot of anger. I was thinking this wasn't the last time I would see him, I wanted to see him behind bars."

After the attack, she knew not to shower and kept the attacker's DNA. He was found just a few hours later. "It's given me a stronger sense of self, I was weak before but now I'm tough as nails."

A change she credits to support she gets at the Haven Rape Crisis Center. "The counselors here are cool, they've helped me so much." So far this year, the center has helped 41 women. "In all of last year we saw 85, so we're already at half of that and not even through the fourth month," said Karen Mortensen, Director.

But sadly, there's probably been more. Studies show that only 38 percent of sexual assaults are reported. "Usually they don't come forward because of fear of the perpetrator or fear of the embarrassment, and guilt that they caused this," said Mortensen.

This victim says she didn't have that fear or guilt, because she knew it wasn't her fault. "It's a continual process, some days are better than others." And her healing process continues, one step at a time.

posted at 3:35 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com

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