To sexual assault victims like 15-year-old Audrie Pott: Suicide is not the answer

Audrie Pott (AP photo)
Rape is something a victim may never get over.

Jennifer Marsh, vice president of victim service for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, told CNN, "It's such a violent and personal crime. … It's not somebody just breaking into your house. It's somebody assaulting the most private part of you."

To make matters worse, because of misconceptions about rape, many victims blame themselves and feel devalued and ashamed. To anyone who has been raped — no, you didn't ask for it. The only person responsible for the assault is the perpetrator. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and in no way did you deserve it.

And you are not alone. The statistic is staggering and extremely sad — nearly one in five women say they have been sexually assaulted, according to a government survey of rape and domestic violence.

But for most people who have been raped, this is not the thought that goes through their mind. Instead, they feel alone and like their whole world has ended.

For instance with 15-year-old Audrie Pott — she was allegedly sexually battered while passed out at party last fall and then humiliated by online photos of the assault. And eight days later, Pott hanged herself.

The suspects, three juvenile boys, were arrested last Thursday after an investigation that lasted several months. The suspects face two felonies and one misdemeanor each, all related to sexual battery that allegedly occurred at a Saratoga house party.

But no matter what happens and what charges these boys face, it will not bring back Pott, who, because of what happened to her, lost her will to live.

The says about the 15-year-old girl who lost her life way too soon, "She was compassionate about life, her friends, her family, and would never do anything to harm anyone. ... She was in the process of developing the ability to cope with the cruelty of this world but had not quite figured it all out. Ultimately, she had not yet acquired the antibiotics to deal with the challenges present for teens in today's society."

If only she could have seen how many people loved her and thought so highly of her. If only she could have seen how she brightened others lives and how bright of a future she had. 

The Audrie Pott Foundation aims to help those who may have gone through something similar and also aims to give teens a reason to live by offering scholarships in art and music. For further information, email

Kevin Caruso writes on, "I do not know how a woman could be raped and not become depressed. Many have told me that they feel like the rapist sentenced them to a life of hell. Their pain does not end. And every time I read an e-mail, call, or visit from someone who tells me about being raped as a child, my heart collapses."

If you are raped, reach out for help. Call the police immediately and then call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. And if you are ever suicidal, call 1-800-SUICIDE or your local emergency number.

"Always remember that suicide in never the answer — getting help is the answer.
And take it one day at a time," Caruso said.

To meet others who have gone through what you have and to learn that you're not alone, check out a support group for survivors of sexual assault. HAVEN in Pontiac offers individual and group counseling for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. For more information, call 248-334-1274

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