"I just kept asking, ‘can I leave? 'They said ‘no, no you can't go, not yet, ‘"said Nichole Lavalley, as she described a horrifying tale of sexual assault by several unknown men.
"One of them started touching me, and I started to go toward the closet. That's when another guy came in. One person pushed me on the bed and then another guy came over. That's when they started raping me."
Lavalley said she was raped last year, on March 24th, in a home located in downtown Lafayette. After the assault, she said, she left the home, and walked several blocks to a near-by church, where she crouched and waited for help.
Her story is intensive, starting with what seemed like an innocent night of partying and ending in a gang rape. Now, almost a year later, she deals with being diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. She said she quit her job, scared of the possibility that one of her alleged attackers might notice her.
Lavalley mentioned her wait to hear from police; to hear that arrests have been made. Officials with the Lafayette Police Department said no arrests have been made yet. They said, the case is still active and they are waiting for forensic evidence before forwarding it to the district attorney, who could possibly issue warrants.
In the meantime, Lavalley is planning to move forward. She created a Facebook community, title, Rape Awareness in Louisiana, or RAIL.
"It's not just for me though," she began. "I wanted to help other survivors, and give them a place to talk instead of keeping it all in."
Lavalley also plans to re-trace the steps she took, on the one year anniversary.
"I will walk, and I will be forgiving my rapists. I will be putting a rape awareness wreath on the street sign of where I was raped, and then another wreath on the church where I hid."
She plans to wear the same heels she wore that night. To view Lavalley's online support community, search "RAIL" on Facebook.
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