Group spreads awareness about the crime |

Group spreads awareness about the crime

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Brad Horn/Nevada AppealSarah Andrews writes the story of a woman who was sexually assaulted on a wooden teal heart while "Marsha" sits with her dog Rusty in the background, on Saturday. Marsha, whose name was changed to protect her identity, is the victim of a sexual assault that occurred 40 years ago.

Though it happened 40 years ago, “Marsha” still cries when she talks about being sexually assaulted.

At the age of 16, while living in another state, Marsha was walking from one friend’s home to another when she was hit from behind with a piece of wood. The suspect then dragged her into the woods, repeatedly hit her with his fists and threatened to kill her.

He then raped her.

“When it was all over, I was crying and he was apologizing,” she said. “I told him I’d make a date with him … I thought it was the only way to catch him, and I gave him my girlfriend’s phone number.”

The man left. Marsha picked up her clothes, which had been strewn about and walked to her friend’s house – the friend whose number she gave her attacker. She also called her dad, a police officer.

“He (attacker) actually called and made a date,” Marsha said.

“I met him at a doughnut shop with my dad and another cop – they were detectives. He actually showed up.

“When confronted, he pushed the other cop, jumped into his car and drove away. They got the license plate, found him and arrested him.”

Sadly, no one believed Marsha’s story and there were no advocacy groups to call for support.

Marsha had to retell her story to the district attorney, in front of her parents. Authorities said, “Someone 16 years old wouldn’t be smart enough to give them a phone number to catch them.”

Marsha said she figured they thought she was lying.

The case did not go to trial.

“Yes, this is why I now volunteer with Advocates to End Domestic Violence as a SARA (Sexual Assault Response Advocate) volunteer,” Marsha said. “I’ve been a volunteer for 12 years.”

As a volunteer, Marsha accompanies the victim of sexual assault to the hospital where they are thoroughly examined and all evidence is documented.

“And I believe them (victim),” Marsha said.

In recognition of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Advocates to End Domestic Violence’s SARA team is hosting events to make people more aware of sexual assault.

“People need to know this happens in our community,” said Traci Trenoweth, program coordinator. “We are here to help, 24 hours.”

SARA will hold a free self-defense class on April 12 at the small gym at the Stewart Indian Facility on Snyder Avenue. An RSVP is requested.

For your information

WHO: Sexual Assault Response Advocates

WHAT: Sexual Assault Awareness Month – Free self-defense class, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. April 12 at Stewart Indian Facility on Snyder Avenue, small gym

ALSO: SARA volunteer training, begins April 15

CALL: Traci or Kari at 883-7654


24-HOUR CRISIS LINE – 883-7654