Short Documentary

Alleged Sexual Assault Victim Shares Her Story

by: Lauren McMillen

The following was produced for a journalism class at West Virginia University

West Virginia University freshman, Julie Lindsey, was allegedly sexually assaulted during her nightly run near her apartment in Morgantown, W. Va. She is now speaking out about that fearful night and is hoping her story will help shed light on the issue and bring awareness to others.

-MORGANTOWN, W.Va- It all unfolded on a late night in September. Julie went for a run around her neighborhood near Milan Puskar Stadium, but she would not return home for nearly 10 hours. What exactly happened after she stepped out of her front door still remains unclear.

“I don’t remember that night at all, I lost 10 hours I’ll never get back,” said Lindsey.

Julie’s roommate eventually found her across town on Greenbag Road, lying in an empty parking lot with blood and bruises on her body.

“I came about 10 miles away from my apartment. I had blood coming down my face and I had a gash in my cheek,” said Lindsey.

According to the American Association of University Women, one in five women will face sexual harassment during their college years.

Alison Tartaglia is a sexual abuse educator for WELL WVU. She said there tends to be more sexual assaults in the first six weeks of the semester. Educators call this the ‘red zone’.

“It is the period of time, especially for first year students, when they come onto campus and do not know anyone. It is a time for students, and particularly young women, when they are most vulnerable,” said Tartaglia.

Julie said she was embarrassed and in denial for quite some time, so she kept it a secret with her roommate. After some reasoning and time, she decided to go and report this incident to law enforcement.

Sergeant Lipscomb is part of the detective unit at the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department. He said is is extremely important for victims to reach out to officials so they can carry out an ¬†investigation.

“If you are a victim of a sexual assault it is important that you contact us so that we can hold the person accountable for whatever crimes they may have committed against another person,” said Lipscomb.

Many rape victims do not publicly share their stories and are reluctant to talk about what happened. But for Julie, this is how she is learning to cope.

She made a video describing what she remembers about that night, as well as trying to empower others who may have experienced similar situations. The video went viral and she has received feedback from across the world.

“People are really supportive. They say they are thinking of me and praying for me and they check up on me which is nice. I’ve gotten some negative, but I just try to work through that,” said Lindsey.

Julie said this is something that will always be apart of her past, but with the help of family and friends, she is looking forward to starting a new page and moving on.

The Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department is investigating this case.

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