By Spencer Whitney
In the spring of 2007, 23-year-old Sabrina Sadler was a victim of sexual assault while attending California State University Sacramento.
Sadler had been enjoying a night out with her friends at a club and decided to go home by herself when she was abducted and raped.
After surviving the brutal attack, which left her bruised and bloodied, she was found by a neighbor who quickly alerted authorities.
That act of violence changed Sadler’s life forever.
“Before I was attacked, I thought something like this would never happen to me,” she said. She was shocked to learn that one in five college students is assaulted across the country and decided to do something about it.
Sadler now works as a rape prevention educator in Sacramento County through WEAVE, an organization that provides crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She regularly speaks at California colleges about how to deal with sexual assault and ending the backlog of untested rape kits.
The state still has the largest rape kit backlog in the country, with over 12,000 of these kits containing rape evidence sitting untested in police storage facilities.
This backlog indicates the low level of importance that police tend to place on sex crimes, she said.
“Law enforcement has not made sexual assault crimes a priority,” said Sadler. When she was rushed to the hospital after her attack, Sadler was asked to submit DNA evidence.
But she waited two years under the perpetrator was arrested and the court case went to the District Attorney.
“We need to come together as a community and talk about sexual assault without it being taboo,” said Sadler.
She stressed that the most important thing is that survivors understand that they are not at fault for their attack.
“These are our mothers, sisters, and daughters that are suffering. We need more accountability,” she said.
Victims of sexual assault are urged to report the crime and can seek help through the National sexual assault hotline at 800-600-HOPE. They can also visit www.weaveinc.org/ which has a completely confidential system. Both services are free and available every day at all times.