'No one expects or thinks that this is going to happen:' Bibb group helps sexual assault victims

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28-year-old Jamal Chris Rowe was arrested and faces several charges including five counts of rape, two counts of burglary, kidnapping, obstruction, and two counts aggravated assault.

This case comes after a year when Bibb County rapes went up about 47 percent.

Dottie Stafford says no one can prepare for being the victim of sexual assault. 

“No one expects or thinks that this is going to happen. You’re doing what you need to do to survive, and that’s the ultimate goal is to get through the experience and to survive and to heal,” says Stafford. 

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However, she says there is something that can be done afterwards, and that is where she comes in.

“Whether it’s a medical exam to collect evidence, or just get checked out, or just talking to someone over the phone about what’s going on,” says Stafford.

Stafford works with sexual assault victims at Crisis Line and Safe House. She says their goal is to make victims feel comfortable during a time when they are fragile.

“Sense of trust that’s disappeared as a result of this,” says Stafford.  

She says they are creating a center in Macon where women can get examined after being sexually assaulted instead of having to go to the hospital, a process Denise Atkinson says can be difficult.

“Having to wait and oftentimes being seen by someone who isn’t trained to do a sexual assault exam,” says Atkinson. 

District Attorney David Cooke says having advocates for victims throughout the entire process could help bring more of these cases to trial.

“They know how to get the most information out with the least amount of trauma to the victim,” says Cooke. 

Cooke says the more victims who come forward, the quicker they can find the suspect and prevent it from happening to someone else. Stafford says she hopes the new center can do just that.

“It’s critical for people to have somebody in their support system,” says Stafford. 

Crisis Line and Safe House says they are also opening a center in Warner Robins. If you would like to learn more about the organization, click this link. 
    
No bond was set for Rowe, and he remains in the Bibb County jail.