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Survivor speaks out after rape on Vanderbilt University campus

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Vanderbilt University has been under a microscope in recent weeks over a rape investigation involving several former football players, but a woman who was raped last year in a campus parking garage is speaking out to give hope to other survivors.

It is our policy at Channel 4 News to not identify rape victims, but Taylor Walker, 22, doesn't mind being identified, because she says she did nothing wrong.

"It's one of those things that you think you would only see in a movie," Walker said.

But that night in February 2012 still plays over and over in her memory.

"When I think about it, it saddens me, but it's not something that terrifies me," Walker said.

Walker, then a Vanderbilt University junior, had been walking to her car on the 6th floor of a campus parking garage, so she could go enjoy a concert when her life would change forever.

"As soon as I got up to my car, I felt someone behind me. And I was attacked and pushed into my car, and experienced the worse moment of my life really," she said. "But luckily I made it through. A lot of other people don't end up living to see another day."

Walker refuses to hide behind the label of victim. She's a survivor.

"As a survivor, you reach out for that hope, because you need to hear that. You need someone to tell you it's not your fault," she said.

However, at the time, she said she felt as if she was underwater, and everything was moving in slow motion.

"There is a lot of blame initially, I thought, 'Why didn't I scream? Why didn't I fight back?," Walker said. "But in that moment, you're going to do whatever you think is going to let you live and survive to the next moment."

Tyrone Batts, now 26 years old, would later be arrested for the crime.

He is accused of robbing three other women and attempting to rape one of them during the same weekend Walker was attacked. He was out on bond for an attempted rape that occurred in 2011.

"I'm just grateful he's not on the streets," Walker said.

Walker is now volunteering with the Sexual Assault Center, where she goes to area hospitals to counsel rape victims.

"I think you can take any bad situation, and try to educate others and make it a positive influence," she said.

Amber Stevenson, clinical supervisor for the Sexual Assault Center, first met Walker at a preliminary hearing for her case, while Stevenson was working with a victim's intervention program with Metro police. She has helped Walker begin to heal.

"It wasn't her fault. It wasn't her shame to carry, and I believe her standing out and speaking out really sends that message that help is possible and healing is possible," Stevenson said.

Walker said she doesn't blame Vanderbilt for what happened to her.

"Instead of blaming, there need to be transparency," she said. "I do think colleges and universities need to take a look at their policies, and look at their prevention programs for incoming freshmen."

Batts is currently undergoing a mental evaluation as his case moves forward.

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