Victim shares sexual assault story to inspire others to report - CBS 5 - KPHO

Victim shares sexual assault story to inspire others to report

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GLENDALE, AZ (CBS5) -
It is one of the toughest things she will ever have to talk about. But one rape victim is speaking about her case publicly for the first time in hopes of empowering other women to report these crimes. 

"He was a dental assistant and he had done work on my teeth before and I needed some work done," said 30-year-old Tiffany Sarmiento. She said she trusted her boyfriend's cousin, 29-year-old Abel Samaniego. But on the day of her procedure, Sarmiento said he gave her medication that knocked her out. When she woke up, she had intermittent memories of the assault. 

"I called my boyfriend to pick me up and I told him, I think your cousin raped me," Sarmiento said. She said she waited several hours, but then called police. 

"I was terrified of maybe them not believing me," Sarmiento said.

"Over 50 percent of the time we don't have a victim coming to report this very serious crime," said Chief Debora Black with the Glendale Police Department. 

For the first time this year, Glendale Police participated in Denim Day, an international sexual assault awareness campaign. Patrol officers wore jeans and handed out information about the Scottsdale Family Advocacy Center, where women can go for examinations after the assault, even if they're not yet ready to report it - no questions asked. 

"The whole idea of Denim Day and how it originated really highlights that horrible thing we put on victims, that somehow they're responsible for what happened to them," Black said. "We would never do that to victims of other crimes. It seems to be unique with crimes against women."

Samaniego pled guilty and is serving five years in jail and lifetime probation. Sarmiento said without going through the justice system and the advocacy center, she wouldn't have been able to move on. 

"It'll remain an open wound until you tell somebody," Sarmiento said.

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