April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By: Sarah Platt Email
By: Sarah Platt Email

It's a startling statistic, but each year, about 15,000 Hoosiers are sexually assaulted, raped, and molested. To help combat those statistics, the month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In South Bend, according to an FBI Crime Report, rape rates are twice that of the national average. Meantime, nearly 80% of rapes are committed by someone who knows the victim.

A South Bend woman and rape victim sat down with us and talked about the importance of raising awareness on this issue. “You never think something like this would happen to you,” says Walsh.

What should have been just a terrible nightmare, turned into a stunning reality for South Bend resident Daria Walsh. “Things are coming back together slowly, I see a rape therapist every week,” says Walsh.

Walsh says a former co-worker, who she thought was a friend, drugged and raped her. “If it wasn't for my family and friends, I don't think I'd be able to get through this, thank heavens for family and friends,” adds Walsh.

Sadly, Walsh is not alone. One in six American women are victims of sexual assault. One in 33 men are also victims of sex assault. Statistics also show 59-percent of rapes go unreported.
(Statistics: www.rainn.org)

“Many rape victims are not brave enough to share their story. They're embarrassed, they don't want everyone to know what has happened to them,” says Linda Baechle, Executive Director of Saint Joseph County’s YWCA. “I think it's important for the community to put a face on it. This is someone just like me, could have been me,” says Baechle.

As for Walsh's case, the Saint Joseph County Prosecutor’s office found insufficient evidence, so no charges were filed. Often times, rape cases lack hard, physical evidence or are reported late.
Also, it can sometimes come down to a "He said, she said" situation, which doesn't hold up well in court.

Meantime, Walsh is pressing on, determined to bring justice to her rapist. She's hoping the person who attacked her might have told someone about the incident. Daria is asking that person to come forward. “I am offering a 5-thousand dollar reward leading to the conviction of the rapist,” says Walsh. “I’m not giving up, I'm never giving up. People need to know what's going on here.”

If you have information on Daria Walsh’s rape case, Radde Investigators of South Bend is fielding phone calls. Their number is 574-234-9091

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone about a case of sexual abuse, you can contact Saint Joseph County’s YWCA at 1-800-YES-YWCA.

Another contact: Sex Offense Services (SOS) is a rape crisis center in Saint Joseph County, which offers counseling and help. SOS can be contacted at 574-283-1308.

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