Local News

Durham woman calls blindside attack, rape 'beyond cowardice'

Posted December 18, 2017 2:56 p.m. EST
Updated December 18, 2017 6:34 p.m. EST

— A week after she was attacked from behind and raped, a Durham woman vowed Monday to rebuild her life as she struggles to recall the events of that night.

The 32-year-old woman told police she was attacked near a wooded area in the 5300 block of Penrith Drive while walking her dog on the evening of Dec. 9. She was knocked unconscious, and her husband later found her with her pants down.

"Even after I came to, I’m still missing bits and pieces," said the woman, who asked to be identified only as "Amber."

"I didn’t remember anything. I didn’t remember being hit. I thought I got knocked out because I fell or something," she said. "The last thing I remember was how quiet it was."

Amber said she finds the strength to move past the assault from her everyday life.

"They didn’t really take anything from me other than my pride, which can be built back up," she said. "I still have my family and my friends and everybody that loves me and that I love."

She has undergone daily counseling for the last week, however, and plans to move from the Durham neighborhood where her family has lived for more than a year.

"I'm still having a little trouble sleeping, have nightmares," she said. "I have my moments when the sun starts to go down, I start to get a little panicky. But as far as trapping myself up in my house and letting it get to me, no, I’m not going to do that."

Amber said she also doesn't walk the dog alone anymore, and she's thankful her 10-year-old daughter had friends over that night and wasn't the one walking the dog.

"It’s a horrible thing that happened, and I’ll never forget it. But at the same time, I’m thankful that it’s me and not her," she said. "I don’t think I could’ve handled that."

Police have identified two persons of interest – two men in their mid-20s to early 30s wearing red and gray coats who were seen in the area on Dec. 8 – but have made no arrests.

Amber said she wants to come face to face with her attackers in court because "they didn’t give me that chance."

"Rape is a cowardly act as it is, but to come up behind someone, knock them out, not even give them a chance to face you, I mean, that’s beyond cowardice," she said.

Until then, she said, she will keep trying to move on.

"They caused a minor blip of interference," she said. "I’m not going to give them that power to wreck everything because, if I did, then that, you know, that would give them more control of my life than I’m willing to give anybody."