Sexual assault survivors struck by Richard Mourdock's controversial rape remark

Advocates focus on healing, not knocking Mourdock

INDIANAPOLIS - As the controversy grows surrounding Richard Mourdock's comments on rape and pregnancy, so do the number of sexual assault survivors in Indiana.

One in seven women in Indiana will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, but advocates suspect the number is actually higher, because rape is the most under reported crime.

The Center for Hope at IU Health treats 650 victims of sexual assault each year. That's almost two per day.

"Not everyone who comes has to have evidence collected," said Katy Howe, a specially trained nurse at The Center for Hope. "It's a very gentle procedure. It's not painful."

While the average sexual assault exam takes four hours, recovery -- both physical and emotional -- can take much, much longer.

"We are there to advocate for whatever that victim needs at the moment and support her decision in this moment of crisis," Howe said.

Advocates for survivors of sexual assault are putting their focus on the survivors and not Mourdock's controversial remarks.

"It's important that we stand with survivors of rape at this time," said Erick Scheub, with the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault or INCASA.

INCASA works with centers all across the state to help survivors of sexual assault get the support they need.

The agency was busy Wednesday, reassuring rape survivors following Mourdock's comments.

But instead of condemning him, the focus is on survivors' recovery.

"They may have felt re-victimized with Mr. Mourdock's comments. We're just there for these survivors of rape and sexual violence telling them that there are services available," Scheub said.

One Hoosier voter told RTV6 that she was hurt by Mourdock's remark.

 

Malea Crosby, 33, said she was going to vote for Mourdock until he made the questionable comments on rape, abortion and God's will.

"I don't think I could endorse anyone that would feel that way," Crosby said. "I was infuriated. It was an ignorant comment to make."

Crosby herself is not ignorant about rape. She was raped when she was 16 years old.

She didn’t get pregnant from the assault, but she said Mourdock's comments hurt all the same.

"It just put so much of the blame back on the victims themselves and we hear that enough," Crosby said.

She said she now questions the candidate's ability to handle women's issues.

"I don't think any apology really means much at this point because I think it show his own beliefs," she said.

Crosby lives in Terre Haute, where she helps other survivors of rape through the healing process.

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