Local woman talks about her own ordeal with sexual assault
NEW BERN, Craven County - The hashtag #MeToo has become a rallying cry for many women who've experienced sexual assault or harassment.
The hashtag was started by actress Alyssa Milano after the allegations that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted more than 30 women.
"Anna Beth" remembers back to when someone she knew tried to sexually assault her.
"He started walking in circles around me and I knew at that point that something wasn't right and I was in trouble," she said (we changed her name and masked her voice to protect her identity.)
"He was somebody that I knew, we had worked together for months and I never expected that to have happened or have a reason to believe that was even possible."
Her parents were asleep when she said her assailant lured her away.
"When he saw I wasn't going to go willingly into the car, the next thing I knew, I was on the ground and had hit my head on a stump and just remembered praying to God not to let me pass out," she said.
She said she begged and later escaped without being raped. It scarred her for life.
"'If you just let me go, I won't tell anybody'," she said. "Anything I could possibly say to try to get back inside. "Often times you think before this happens to you that you would fight to get away but I didn't. I think I went into shock."
Her story is just like many flooding social media with the #MeToo.
What does the hashtag mean to "Anna Beth"?
"It's a chance to stand up and have a voice and even for those who can't come out and speak about it, the ones that do can be a voice for them," she said.
Psychologist Nancy Hauck with New Bern Family Counseling sounsels many victims.
"There is so much shame and guilt that can be involved with being a survivor of sexual assault," Hauck said. "Sexual assault is an abnormal event and I hope that it highlights that and the need to provide preventative and educational services."
"Anna Beth" hopes the stories will help bring change.
"As sad as that is, I was proud of the ones who were brave enough to share it because as a survivor, it is nice to know that you are not alone," she said.
We talked with another woman who said she was raped and is still too scared to share her story on camera. She said just seeing the posts on #MeToo is giving her some sense of safety.
Hauck added the hashtag is also helping men deal with their own assault or how it affected their relationship with their spouse, partner or child who was a victim of sexual assault.