Dakota went overseas for a one-year high school study abroad program in France in September 2014. The night before she was flying home to the USA one of the sons of her host family came into her room and raped her. He held a knife to her throat, gagged her and tied her to the bed. Her bedroom was in the basement and the parents room was on the second floor on the other side of the house. She was in shock. This was someone who she trusted. He had befriended here immediately when she arrived in France.
He used a condom, saying no one would believe her that it was not consensual. When he left the room she couldn't even think straight. The next morning he pretended like nothing happened. Like he was still her best buddy. Dakota felt like she was in a nightmare. Her host parents kept asking her if she was okay on the way to the airport. She told them she was just sad because she was leaving.
Dakota called us when she got home. She does not want anyone to know. She is getting counseling thanks to donations like yours. It will take time, but with support, she is going to be okay. She did ask the study abroad program to not send anymore girls to that family, saying it was probably better to send boys because they would have more in common. She doesn't want it to happen to someone else.
In the first three months of 2015, we assisted 21 American sexual assault victims. This was possible because of donations such as yours.
One of these victims was Cora. She was sexually assaulted while teaching English in Costa Rica. Another was Susanna. She was sexually assaulted while on vacation with her family in England Another, Sheri, who was sexually assaulted while on a business trip in Spain. Then there is Nicole. Nicole was in a study abroad program in Japan.
All of these young women were enjoying the time of their life when their lives were horribly disrupted by sexual assault. We are able to provide them services in the hopes our help will help them heal.
Ingrid was teaching English in Costa Rica. She loved her students, the quaint town she lived in, the people, everything. When she was attacked in her small home, beaten and sexually assaulted, her world fell apart. Her mother called us crying, desperate to find help for Ingrid. One of our contacts in Costa Rica was able to get Ingrid to a doctor and help her file a police report. We have been providing free counseling for Ingrid. Her court case is coming up next month and because of donations like yours, she will be able to go to court with a psychologist by her side. Ingrid has a long way to go but she is doing because we are able to help sexual assault victims with your support. Thank you so much!
Niva was having the time of her life on vacation with her friends in Costa Rica They were enjoying the last of their summer before college began again last month. Niva and her friends met an international group of students on an overnight hiking and camping trip. Niva was in her sleeping bag in the middle of the night when one of the male students entered her tent, held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her if she screamed. He sexually assaulted her. When he was done, he told her if she told anyone he would say she was the one that invited him to her tent. Niva felt ashamed and afraid. The next morning the male student acted like nothing had happened. He laughted and joked with all of her friends. Niva was relieved when they went back to their hotel room she was sharing with her friends. Her friends kept asking her what was wrong. She told them she had a headache.
Niva came back to the USA and tried to forget the sexual assault happened. She began having nightmares and was afraid to go anywhere by herself. She called our crisis line and spoke to one of our advocates in our SASHAA Program, Sexual Assault Support & Help For Americans Abroad.
We connected Niva with a counselor. She will need counseling for a long time. She told us she wants to become an advocate herself one day when she is done healing.
Thank you for supporting Americans who have been sexually assaulted abroad! The SASHAA Team!
Laura was so excited to study abroad. She had heard that young American women that study abroad are often victims of sexual assault so she was cautious. She didn't go out at night alone and she dressed convervatively like the local women. Laura made a lot of friends, both young women and young men in the program. One young man she had befriended asked if he could come over to do some homework together. She considered him a friend and he made sexual advances towards her. She told him no. When she physically resisted he sexually assaulted her. He told her if she told anyone he would kill her.
Terrified she didn't tell anyone until the nightmares got to be too much. She called our crisis center and spoke to Lucy. We have been able to support Laura with safety planning, counseling and helped her get transferred to a different study abroad program. After she was safe in another country, she reported the sexual assault.
Without donations like yours we would not be able to offer the services we do to American victims of sexual assault overseas.
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