For sexual assault survivor, recovery is a long road - FOX34 Lubbock

For sexual assault survivor, recovery is a long road

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

It is estimated that two to four percent of all sexual assaults or rapes in Lubbock are a result of date rape. It is a number experts say is grossly under reported.

These attacks happen at bars, parties or any other social drinking event. 

Laura, whose identity she wants protected, is one of these victims. 

She was a typical college student, having the normal college experience. She joined a sorority, made a lot of friends and went out on the weekends. 

"Definitely the bubbly, talk to a wall kind of girl who always has a smile on her face," she said. "I've always been kind of driven. Academically I've always been involved in other activities. I was in Greek so I was involved in my sorority I was in. I was always just really happy. I surrounded myself with people."

That all changed after one night out with her friends. 

"It was just kind of a normal weekend night out. I had the girls come over to hang out. The group that I always hung out with, and we just hung out, pregamed a little bit and then we went out."

"I was with my friends and then next thing I know I was with a tall boy and the next thing I know I was not really well. I couldn't really walk on my own, I couldn't really talk well, I was belligerent and very publicly belligerent. Next thing I know I'm in a truck with I think two or three guys, I'm not too sure, and then I remember this truck pulling up into this house," she said. 

"I remember pulling up, so I guess I was a little more coherent that I remember because I said where I lived and so I remember pulling up to where I lived at the time and stepping out and I remember hearing like these two people yelling that I don't remember where they were but this time I was only with one boy and then it kind of went a little dark after that."

"I remember like coming up into my front door and just falling into it. And then it kind of went dark again. I remember someone being on top of me and not having any clothes on and then dark again and then I woke up and was in my bed alone."

After the attack, Laura, like many other victims experienced changes in her attitude and demeanor.

"I became very moody, I became very dark. I would react to people around me in a negative way when really I have always been an easy going kind person."

Unfortunately her story is not abnormal. 

Leslie Timmons with the Voice of Hope, a rape crisis center in Lubbock, said more times than not the attacker is someone known to the victim.

"We call it acquaintance rape," Timmons said. "They may not be a total stranger to you but it may be somebody you just met that night or friends of a friend or you had a class with them or maybe you work with them."

For Laura it was just some boy she met at a party.

"It kind of went zero to 60 real quick shortly after I met him," Laura said. "Like we had a short conversation and next thing I know I was extremely intoxicated."

The problem with these kind of attacks is that you do not know what is happening until it is too late.

"If you were out in a situation and maybe you had one or two drinks and maybe you experience really rapid intoxication, you know that would be a red flag and my suggestion would be to go to the hospital for an exam," Timmons said. 

Oftentimes, as in Laura's case, the shame is too great and it goes unreported. 

"What got me through it is I got back involved with a bible study and I went to church and I started praying about it and I reached out to some friends that I can rely on and I got over the, I had a lot of guilt for not reporting it but I didn't even know where to start because I didn't know the guys name," Laura said. 

While she is not ready to come out publicly, she is hoping that by telling her story, it will serve as a warning to others to be observant and not to become an easy victim.

"Like it's okay to go have fun. I was a sophomore so should I have been drinking, probably not, but I wasn't a bad person, I wasn't a crazy party girl. I was just a college girl having fun so it really taught me to be aware of your surroundings and to stick with your friends," she said. 

If you are out, Timmons said some common sense tips can go a long way to protecting yourself against an attack. Some tips include not drinking from an open container, like a punch bowl, covering your cup and to never leave your drink unattended. 

If you have been attacked she suggests going to the hospital for an exam. There are also resources like Voice of Hope that can help cope with the trauma. 
 

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