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Sexual assault victim promotes awareness

Friday, May 14, 2010

In 1996, Angela Rose was taken from a suburban mall at knifepoint and sexually assaulted by a convicted child predator.

He was on parole for murder at the time.

She now uses her own experience as a victim of sexual violence to promote awareness and prevention.

Angela Rose's story is about courage, determination and survival.

She was 17 years old when she was assaulted. Not only did she survive, she thrived.

Now, rose is 31, and educating others about sexual violence. She says the problem is so prevalent that each one of us knows someone who's been attacked, and most of the time, the victims know their attackers.

A child killer out on parole kidnapped Angela Rose out of a Woodfield parking lot on July 13, 1996.

"I remember the moment in the car - hands bound behind my back, eyes taped shut," said Rose. "It was a conscious decision - I said: 'If I get out of this alive, he is not getting away with it.'"

Robert Koppa had already killed Julie Angel.

This time, he forced Rose into his car, assaulted her, and dropped her off. A few days later, Angela remembers a life-changing conversation with her grandma.

"My grandmother, who is my best friend - she's almost 90 years old - she's incredibly strong," said Rose. "'She said to me: 'Angela, this happened to you for a reason,' and those words of my grandmother helped catapult me into a role of activist."

Rose took her anger and turned it into action, launching an organization called PAVE, which is now celebrating its 10th anniversary in downtown Chicago.

PAVE stands for Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment. Rose said PAVE programs, including one that targets men, are now being used in 50 cities and three countries.

"My dad - it was really difficult for him," said Rose. "PAVE engages men to be a part of a solution, and that's so important, because this isn't a woman's issue - this is a community issue."

Rose said that to this day, it can be difficult for her mother. Her family has supported her mission to show that sometimes, life is about choices.

"It's so important for us to remember that we can't always choose what happens to us, but we can choose our response," said Rose.

Rose says she will always be part of PAVE, working on programs and spreading her message.

However, she's also trying her hand at being an author. Rose is working on a book entitled "Bound and Beyond."

Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline
888-293-2080

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