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It took 20 years to gain the strength to come forward, but finally, one Ohio woman who was victim to sexual assault told her story.
Her name was not released in order to protect her identity, but a Columbus, Ohio woman told reporters of her struggle through middle school and high school with a teacher she trusted at the time.
"I was very young, impressionable, very trustworthy and I had a teacher and a coach who I looked up to who was supposed to be my role model. She gained the trust of me and my family and took advantage of that situation," said the 28-year old, who reported a sexual assault earlier this month.
The teacher/coach befriended her when she was 11 years old, but the teacher then transferred to Walnut Ridge High School as the young girl got older so that she could maintain that close connection.
The victim said she was convinced that what was happening was okay because she had trust and faith in the teacher.
When asked why she took so long to come forward, she points to feelings of shame and loneliness.
"I came to a breaking point. I was tired of feeling ashamed and embarrassed and guilty and I was severely depressed and I knew that I couldn't deal with the secret by myself any longer," she told reporters from NBC4.
A government-run Women’s Health website defines sexual assault as a term that encompasses a range of definitions.
“Sexual assault and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including:
• Inappropriate touching
• Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
• Sexual intercourse that you say no to
• Attempted rape
• Child molestation”
Any form of sexual assault is a devastating crime and it is important for victims to remember that it is never their fault; nothing they did warranted such behavior by an assailant.
The National Center for Victims in Crime reports that women are sexually assaulted at an alarming rate.
“In 2005, 92 percent of rape or sexual assault victims were female; those 16-19 years old had the highest rate of sexual victimization of any age group. A total of 191,670 rapes and/or sexual assaults were experienced by victims 12 years old or older.