Two years ago the Sexual Assault Help Center received a referral for a mother whose daughter had been sexually assaulted just a few days prior. The woman was able to escape from her offender, an intimate partner, and seek safety with her extended family. She called law enforcement immediately to report the incident and they encouraged her to go to the local hospital for a sexual assault forensic examination where they would be able to collect the evidence. She did as they recommended and found that the examination was completely reliving her abuse. The hospital was not able to complete the forensic examination due to the lack of knowledge. Although she waited in the emergency room for over 6 hours, she was determined to do what she could to seek justice. Law Enforcement was eventually able to apprehend the offender for a small amount of time; however, they sought powerful counsel that was able to get him released. She went to seek a protection order and was unjustly interrogated by the offender counsel because she did know her rights and did not have her own counsel at the time. Her mother reached out to SAHC shortly after the incident to obtain advocacy. The advocate was present for the next hearing and was able to provide support during this horrible situation. The advocate assisted her with the victim’s compensation fund, knowledge of what events would be happening in the future, and overall supportive counseling. The offender was indicted almost a year later but her case never made it to trial. Throughout the system failure that this woman experienced, she is resilient. She has worked with the advocate for the last two years to heal and discover what her journey looks like. Her response to what happened to her is that she wants to be a voice for the Upper Ohio Valley, the advocate, and the change so that victims are able to seek justice and receive the respect they deserve. She continues to fight for her freedom against her trauma and wants to be a public speaker to inform the community that sexual violence is prevalent and exists in our part of the Appalachian Mountains.
-Sexual Assault Help Center