For a year, The Frontier has examined how rape and sexual assaults are investigated, uncovering a war-within-a-war that requires state and local institutions to fight for money, manpower and proven training methods to assist victims.
The Frontier conducted more than 70 interviews to put the state’s undeclared rape crisis in perspective. The never-revealed stories of rape and sexual assault translate into hundreds of thousands of victims across the country each year.
Oklahoma has struggled to maintain programs for nurses, law enforcement and prosecutors to bring justice to the growing number of rape victims in Oklahoma.
“There is a money issue. When you have a dollar need and are given a quarter, that just doesn’t work. That’s where we are in this state.” — Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater
The Legislature passed a bill to help sexual assault victims file charges, but a little-known, last-minute change produced a national uproar and left legislators scrambling to undo the damage.
“And with that, every lawyer and judge, not only in Oklahoma but across the country, starts blowing up my phone.” — Rep. Carol Bush
> Part Three — Not in my backyard
When Danyelle Dyer’s molester got out of prison, he moved next door to her. The 21-year-old reached out for help on Facebook and the world came to her rescue.
“I stand with gritted teeth and clenched fists refusing to let the fight be hers alone.” — Dyer’s father
Colleges have faced federal investigations for how they handle reports on sexual assault. Oklahoma, including the University of Tulsa, is no exception.
“We kept telling them, ‘This is not aggressive enough.’ We knew immediately after the first one, this is not a burglary. This is a sexual predator because he’s watching her sleep.” — Tulsa Police Department Sgt. Jillian Phippen
Rape legislation, like all bills, is subject to the whims of powerful legislators. When one rape victim clashed with the head of a committee, her two bills died. But one bill was resurrected at the last minute by an unexpected ally.
“Something died. I was just trying to survive in my own little world. There was no one to talk to. I was just this little person, all alone in there.” — Danielle Tudor, rape survivor.