Raising awareness by raising a pint


Her story doesn't sound that different from a thousand other stories of a night out. Only the ending is different.

It was 1 1/2 years ago, in December 2003, she said. She was out at a bar partying with her friends, and she noticed him watching her.

"Karen" is a waitress, and she recognized him as a regular customer at her restaurant. He approached her and asked her if he could take her out sometime. She was uncomfortable. She didn't want to go out with him, but she didn't want to hurt his feelings. She said, "I don't know." And that, she thought, was the end of it.

By the end of the night, she was at another bar with a few of her friends, and he approached her again.

He said there was an after-hours party at a friend's house.

"My friend was gong to go, so I thought I would know someone there," she said. The man offered her a ride, and she accepted.

But instead of driving to the party, he drove to his place.

"He said we had to wait for the guy to call us," she said. "So we sat on the couch and smoked pot and talked about skiing. The guy called and said he decided not to have the party. By that time, I was really high and really tired. It was 2:30 in the morning, and I didn't have my car. I started to fall asleep on the couch. He told me that I could crash in his room."

She went into his room and fell asleep.

She woke up when she realized the guy was trying to take off her clothes. He had her wedged against the wall.

She fought him for what seemed like hours.

"He held my hands behind my back with one of his, and he was using the other to get at my clothes," she said. "I was saying 'no, please, no.'

"He'd go for my pants and then for my shirt and then for my pants again. I couldn't keep going back and forth. I finally had to give up my shirt. It was exhausting. I was worn out." He finally won.

Karen made it home and called a friend at 6 a.m. They agreed to call the police. Her rapist is now in jail.

"I'd been in that kind of situation before many times," Karen said. "You go over to someone's house after the bars, and so you're not drinking and driving, you ask if you can crash on their couch. You wake up at 7 a.m., and you go home."

Because most of the sexual assault cases Diane Moore sees as the executive director of Advocates Against Battering and Abuse have something in common with Karen's case -- alcohol -- holding the second annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month fund-raiser at a bar seemed more than appropriate.

"(Karen) is a perfect example of what many of us have done in our lives," Moore said. "Usually, you know the person a little. There is a sense of trust. This isn't someone who is just following you to the parking lot."

Eighty-four percent of rapes are acquaintance rapes, and 90 percent of those involve alcohol, said Allison Plean, volunteer coordinator at Advocates.

"We want to throw an event where people can have some fun but also where we can provide some information," Moore said. This year's SAAM event will be much like the one that took place this time last year. SAAM pint glasses will be available for a $10 donation, and everyone who fills out a sexual assault awareness quiz will be given a free beer. There also will be a rotating power point presentation displayed with local statistics and safety tips.

Worried Men will provide musical entertainment.


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