Victims of sexual assault remembered in Tulsa

Monday, April 7th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

This is national crime victim's week and Tulsa has a number of activities going on to pay tribute to victims of crime. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says the focus Monday evening was on rape victims.

There was a candlelight vigil near 29th and Peoria to honor people who've survived sexual assault and to call on the community to end these types of sexual crimes. We have one woman's first-hand account of how quickly things can turn violent.

A woman we'll call Ann, met a man over the Internet. After talking online and on the phone, they met in person. They'd been dating for about a month when she says he turned on her. The couple had been watching television and then went to bed for the night. Ann says she told her date no, but he didn't listen, held her down and raped her. "I wasn't, trust tarnished in a matter of minutes."

For the first 12-13 hours, Ann says she was in a state of shock. But, she knew in her heart that what happened was wrong and eventually picked up the phone and called police. Date rapes are the most common type of sexual assault; yet, they are the hardest to get prosecuted. Some people don't take these crimes as seriously or cast doubt or suspicion on the victim, which just adds to their pain. "Just want him to admit it to have remorse and never to this to another woman again.”

Ann says getting counseling at Tulsa's Call Rape each week has helped her focus less on what the man did to her and more on how she can heal, which takes time, when even supportive family members can't really understand. "They don’t really know, held down like that, it takes awhile.”

Tulsa has nearly 300 reported rapes every year, that's practically one attack every day and rape advocates say that's certainly too many in a city that prides itself on being a safe, friendly place to live.