PAR regains momentum following embezzlement scandal, holds "Take Back the Night" rally

PAR regains momentum following embezzlement scandal, holds "Take Back the Night" rally

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - People Against Rape say one in five women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

"The trauma of being sexually assaulted never really goes away, but the main goal is to take somebody from victim to survivor," says Michael Roach, a PAR board member.

PAR's mission is to encourage women and men who have been sexually assaulted to come forward.

Janet Ward, a sexual assault nurse examiner at MUSC, encourages victims to at least come in for an exam even if they do not report the crime to police.

"They can do an anonymous report and have up to 365 days to choose to report to the police or not. It's entirely up to them."

PAR says Thursday's rally was their first major event since a former employee embezzled up to $80,000 from the organization last year.

"It's been a very trying year," says Roach. "For some of us, we were just emotionally devastated and just worn out."

While the organization hasn't been able to hire anyone yet, board members say services haven't suffered.

"We have not missed a beat at providing one service to one victim," explains Roach. "There's no one that has called and said hey, you weren't there for me and as hard as its been, its been amazing what we've been able to do."

Roach says the volunteers have carried the organization, not just the last seven months, but the last 40 years.

"The volunteers, they're the backbone of the organization and without them we could talk all we want to, but the mission isn't getting accomplished."

The rally was a partnership with MUSC's National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center.