FORT CARSON, Colo.- After a typical night out with friends he raped her. He told her she asked for this and deserved it. She was afraid that if she blacked out again that she would never wake up.
"I woke up to my friend raping me. I screamed, cried, fought and told him no," said Spc. Stephanie Evans, garrison command group assistant, 4th Infantry Division. "My best friend ruined my world."
Evans and two other survivors shared their personal accounts of sexual assault during a Sexual Assault Awareness Month presentation at Fort Carson, April 30.
"The event was called survivor stories and basically it's about people who've gone through a sexual assault and are at a point in their recovery where they're able to talk about their story," said Darcy Etaugh, victim advocate, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. "This event really helps Soldiers understand the cost of sexual assault for the individual and for the unit as a whole. It makes it personal."
10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 4th Inf. Div hosted the event and more than 200 Soldiers from the unit attended the in-person experience.
"Looking at a guy or gal eye to eye and to be able to not only hear but feel what they are saying is more powerful. This will stick with me," said a major from 10th SFG(A), 4th Inf. Div. "I thought that what the speakers said was from the heart. It wasn't rehearsed it was raw."
Evans said that she's shared her story for the past two years to help eliminate sexual assault and assist other survivors.
"It's a progress. Life is never going to be exactly the same," said Evans. "If I can save someone from having to live the life that I live now, I will."
According to the The Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, there was an 11 percent increase in reports of sexual assaults from last year.
At a Pentagon news briefing in response to the release of the report, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the military has a long way to go before we solve this problem but also that victims are growing more confident in our system.
"It's very easy for somebody to get help. They can just talk to us. They can call the self help line and talk to someone," said Etaugh. "We're willing to work with them basically under any condition."
The 24-hour Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention hotline can be reached at 338-9654.