Sexual assault survivors share stories at Take Back the Night

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, April 25, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- One in four; that's the number of women who will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Chances are it's happened to someone you know, and chances are you don't know about it.

It's one of, if not the, most under-reported crime.

On Thursday night, dozens came together at GRU to try and bring awareness to the issue and take back the night. The event was held by Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services.

Six survivors fought back tears as they shared their stories.

"It is so much harder than people who haven't been through it think to stand up and say this happened to me and I need somebody to do something about it," said survivor Carolina Holley.

When she was 14 years old, she was raped in the basement of her church by someone she didn't know.

"The fear that nobody's gonna believe you and that you are gonna be ridiculed is so pervasive," Holley said.

Thursday night, 10 years later, she's speaking out publicly for the first time.

"This is my first time really standing up and owning it in public, so a lot of people that are here today that know me don't know that I'm speaking yet," she said.

She did it to let others know they're not alone.

"That's my purpose for being here, is to encourage other people to not keep secrets, to not tuck it away and keep it to themselves," she explained.

At the Take Back the Night Rally, six survivors took to the podium -- sharing their stories, advice and urging others to speak up.

"I wish that somebody had spoken to me about it," she said. "I kept it really secret and quiet and tucked away for so long I wish that I had come to something like this and listen to somebody speak and have somebody encourage me to not be silent."

So far this year in Richmond County, there have been 27 reports of rape, including one on Paine College's campus.

Holley said she was unaware of all the resources out there for victims, but there are many.

If you have been or know anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault, you can contact Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services through University Hospital.

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