Survivors to ‘Take Back the Night’

Argen Duncan

“I had 13 years of torture and rape.”

From age 5 to 18, Roosevelt County native Casey Jones said, she endured rape and assault that left her with broken bones and scars in every orifice. Her attacker was a relative who has since died, she said, and her family called her a liar and disowned her when she revealed the abuse.

Jones is scheduled to tell her story at the “Take Back the Night” rally Friday at Eastern New Mexico University. The event, which is open to the public, is also expected to include a march around the campus and a candlelight vigil to remember sexual assault victims.

Rally organizer Kristen Beltran said she and a co-worker wanted to bring awareness of sexual assault to campus.

“We really want to get the word out there because we feel like it’s maybe under-reported,” she said.

Beltran hopes that greater awareness will lead victims to report sexual assault and thereby possibly discourage other attacks. She said the rally is also for sexual assault survivors.

“It’s taking control of your life again, not having to be oppressed anymore,” Beltran said.

Jones, now 58 and no longer living in the county, said most people who endure torture and rape die before age 22 because of the physical problems, addictions and psychotic state brought on by the abuse.

“And I am literally a walking miracle,” she said.

Jones’ faith in God and the piano lessons, vocabulary and Scripture reading she received from her grandmother and her faith in God rewired her brain, she said. Everyone who has experienced such torture has brain damage, Jones said, but hers is less debilitating.

Jones spent 26 years with United Airlines and gives lectures on people with anti-social personality disorder. A movie and book are being produced to tell her story, she said.

In 2007, she married a man who turned out to be a professional con man. Jones divorced him and lured him into a trap with police.

“What all that means to me, I think, is victims can stop being victims,” she said.

Also, the moral of the movie, Jones said, is that Christians are to stand up for each other and try to stop the evil they see.

“In my childhood, no one heard my cries … They just turned their backs,” she said.

Jones said she hopes to show rape victims and their friends that if she can survive, stay sane and live a productive life, they can, too.

“You can forgive,” Jones also said. “It is possible.”

Amber Hamilton of Sexual Assault Services of Eastern New Mexico said statistics indicate one in four women and one in 20 men in New Mexico will experience some kind of sexual violence in their lifetimes. That can include unwanted touching, attempted rape and rape.

Hamilton said it was exciting to see the young rally organizers want to honor survivors and work toward prevention of sexual assaults rather than only response to them.

“I think it’s about community support, because whether you know someone directly or indirectly, realistically you will in your lifetime know someone affected by sexual violence,” she said.

Through the rally, Hamilton hopes to support survivors and help defeat the stigma that keeps victims from reporting the crimes against them.