Sarah, a young, single woman, found herself among friends one evening. They were hanging out at a private home, doing the things that young adults do. Laughing, sharing stories, enjoying a glass of wine, and each other.
One by one, friends left. And as Sarah sat on her phone texting with a friend, she was assaulted. Raped. Raped by someone she knew. Someone she trusted. Someone who broke that trust in the worst possible way.
Later that night and in the wee hours of the morning, Sarah sat in the ER waiting to be seen. Because of a standing relationship with all the local hospitals, one of our Rape Response Advocates was contacted immediately and met Sarah within minutes of her arrival.
Though it’s best to receive an exam as soon as possible, you can wait up to nine days after a sexual assault to have a forensic exam. Because she was exhausted from the traumatic events, Sarah decided to schedule an exam for that afternoon.
One of the tenants of trauma-informed care is to meet people where they are at mentally, physically, and emotionally, and provide care based on their individual needs. That’s what makes the Rape Crisis Center so unique-the WRC was able to provide for Sarah’s needs outside of just a forensic exam.
Sarah chose to obtain a Victim Protective Order and when she arrived in court an advocate was there to stand by her side so she didn’t have to stand right next to her perpetrator. This was the first time she had seen him since the assault and that can be terrifying. Once the judge granted her the VPO, the advocate helped create a safety plan with Sarah. A VPO can be an important piece of a criminal case, but they can prompt an act of violence toward the victim.
After the local District Attorney decided to prosecute, Sarah’s advocate sat by her side through all the testimonies so she wouldn’t be alone in the large, formal courtroom. The WRC SANE provided expert testimony which included educating the judge and defense attorney throughout.
Following a two-years-long journey, Sarah’s rapist was convicted of first-degree rape where he faces 20 years to life in prison.
Because of one evening, and the choice of one person, Sarah’s life was forever changed. Thanks to the WRC Rape Crisis Center, her life was changed in other ways too. The Rape Crisis Center can’t take away what happened but if you ever need us, we can ensure you won’t be alone just like for Sarah. We can’t take away the pain but we can help you work through it with a specialized counselor. The WRC can’t erase the injustice of what happened, but we can de-mystify the justice system so you know what to expect.
Sarah’s story is not uncommon. For more than 40 years, the Women’s Resource Center has provided safe shelter for victims of domestic abuse; sexual assault services including forensic exams, advocacy, and education; comprehensive counseling services; support groups; and prevention education throughout Cleveland County and the northern portion of McClain County.
Oklahoma ranks higher than the national average of women affected by sexual violence.
51% of female rape victims reported being raped by an intimate partner.
In 8 out of every 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator.
The Women’s Resource Center helps victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking every day. With YOUR HELP the Women’s Resource Center can continue impacting our community.