Her physical wounds healed, but the flashbacks still haunt her.
“No matter how much time has lapsed since this has happened, I won't forget any of the details,” said Rachel Spiva, who said she was raped by a man after their relationship had ended. “I can remember the smallest thing about that day. It's something that stays with you. I fully expect it to stay with me forever.”
Spiva is using her experience to help others victimized by rape, a crime experts say is all too common and often goes unreported. She will speak Saturday at a race organized by the YWCA Oklahoma City. April is sexual assault awareness month.
The Oklahoman's policy is not to name victims of sexual assault unless they ask to be identified. Spiva said she hopes her experience will help others victimized by sexual violence know they're not alone, and that there is a lot of support available.
“After surviving that assault, my community was there to provide resources, programs, services and educational services. I feel like it's only right to return the favor for other women and men who are going through this,” Spiva said.
Organizers said the race will raise money to support victims of sexual violence.
The race is called the 2 Minute 5k because every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States, said Karla Docter, senior director of sexual assault services at the YWCA.
Stranger rapes grab headlines, but don't tell the real story, Docter said. The majority of rape victims know their attacker, who is often a friend, partner or acquaintance.
Sexual assault is an umbrella term that encompasses different things, Docter said.
“Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact or attention, which can include things that are verbal, visual or physical,” Docter said.
Rape is a type of sexual assault, she said.
“In order for rape to meet a legal definition,” she said, “there has to be lack of consent, force, cohesion and penetration.”
Docter encourages victims of sexual assault to call the Oklahoma State Safeline — (800) 533-7233. They will be referred confidentially to support and services.
Knowing how to respond when a victim of sexual violence discloses what occurred is a key part of sexual assault awareness, Docter said.
“If someone confides in you, believe them, support them, refer them to services such as the YWCA,” she said.
The YWCA provides a free forensic exam within five days of a sexual assault, as well as an advocate who will travel with a victim to the hospital to provide comfort, support and referrals, she said. The forensic exam will not be turned over to police unless the victim makes the request, she said.
If you go
Fifth annual 2 Minute 5k
Registration for the fifth annual 2 Minute 5k is ongoing online at www
After surviving that assault, my community was there to provide resources, programs, services and educational services. I feel like it's only right to return the favor for other women and men who are going through this.”
Spiva, who said she was raped by a man after their relationship had ended, will speak Saturday at a race organized by the YWCA Oklahoma City.