YWCA York chief services officer and York College adjunct faculty member Rick Azzaro speaks with Stacey Coby, Kristy White and Bambi Beach about the
YWCA York chief services officer and York College adjunct faculty member Rick Azzaro speaks with Stacey Coby, Kristy White and Bambi Beach about the healing power of speaking out about the sexual abuses they said they experienced. The women spoke at York College's Take Back the Night event on Wednesday, an annual event to raise awareness of sexual abuse. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - CHRIS DUNN)

Three women took the stage at the Collegiate Performing Arts Center at York College Wednesday night to talk about the sexual abuse that forever changed their lives.

The event was part of the school's Take Back the Night event, organized by the York College Public Relations Student Society of America.

Each woman told her story -- different in the details and outcomes -- but similar in how they would never forget what happened to them.

The event was planned by Madeline Janeski, a 22-year-old senior who said she wanted the event to raise hope.

"I don't want this to be sad or depressing, but uplifting to people who had gone through similar things," Janeski said.

The women read from prepared speeches, describing their abusers and the draining court proceedings that followed. And despite their pain, they each found comfort in knowing they aren't alone.
 
Stacey Coby

At 18, Stacey Coby was looking forward to a Saturday night off from her job as a waitress at a York restaurant.

But after getting a hotel room to drink in that night, Coby's life would change.

Late in the night, when other friends moved on to a different party, Coby and two of her friends opened their hotel room door to three men.

Despite remembering her mother's warning words to be wary of strangers, Coby and her friends let the men in the room.

But when Coby went to use the bathroom, each of the men followed her, one at a time, and raped her.

Her friends never heard her cry for help.

After a friend took her to report the incident to police, Coby was given an emergency contraception.

She found out a few weeks later it didn't work, and she was pregnant. She made the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy.

After the men were arrested, they accepted a plea bargain and the rape charges were dropped, Coby said.

She was devastated, but found peace through her counselors and is now married with three daughters.
 
Kristy White

Ten years ago, at the age of 18, Kristy White told police she was sexually assaulted at a job interview.

The man was acquitted after a lengthy court ordeal.

White reported he congratulated her on being hired, and then forced her to perform oral sex.

White experienced a "downward spiral" in her life - she became an exotic dancer two months after the incident, received two DUIs and she attempted suicide twice.

While White has regrets about some of her life choices, she does not regret the five years she spent in court.

Her family, including her husband and daughter, stood to applaud her.

 
Bambi Beach

Bambi Beach has little memory of when her stepfather first began abusing her at 3-years-old.

Kristy White speaks about her sexual abuse during a Take Back the Night event on Wednesday. White, who was sexually assaulted during a job interview, said
Kristy White speaks about her sexual abuse during a Take Back the Night event on Wednesday. White, who was sexually assaulted during a job interview, said she attempted suicide twice and testified in two trials, but is now happily married with two young daughters. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - CHRIS DUNN)
Beach, now 48, calls him "the predator."

It started during her afternoon naps, when he would sneak into her bedroom.

As she got older, she'd be told to sit on his lap, only to be forced to do things a child never should, Beach said.

But she wanted to be obedient and do as her stepfather said.

It wasn't until years later that her mother would file for divorce and "the predator's" daughter from an earlier marriage would call Beach's mother with a warning of her own memories.

After a long talk, Beach's mother knew enough information to talk to police and have "the predator" put in a mental institution in the state of Washington, where, at the time, they believed they could "cure" him.

In 1979, someone walked into a bar and shot "the predator" in the head. The killer was never found.

"If you know who that person is, let me know," she said. "I'd like to buy him a beer."

And while Beach admits she still has issues with her abuse, she is proud to have survived it.

And if nothing else comes out of sharing her story, she hopes there will some day be a way to talk about sexual abuse as easily as people talk about breast implants or erectile dysfunction.

She joked about a career move to work in public relations for sexual abuse and already has an idea for a plastic bracelet.

One side will read "I like my sex consensual," and the other side will read, "survivor."

Recent York College case

York City Police reported last year they were looking for a man in the March 17, 2011 sexual assault of a female York College student.

The student told police that a man called out her name -- she reported that she did not know the man -- and asked her whether she wanted to go to another student's off-campus apartment, police said at the time of the incident.

Instead, the man allegedly led her down a gravel road leading to a construction site, where he sexually assaulted her, police said.

According to Lt. Tim Utley with the York City Police Detective Bureau, the case was closed at the request of the victim at a meeting with detectives and representatives from the York County District Attorney's Office.

No suspect was ever generated by the composite drawing or physical evidence recovered, Utley said.

According to the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis, York College students reported two forcible sex offenses both in 2008 and 2009, and one was reported in 2010.

If you need help

According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will suffer sexual abuse before the age of 18.

ACCESS-York and the Victim Assistance Center offer 24-hour hotlines for victims of abuse.

For domestic violence/abuse, call 717-846-5400 or 800-262-8444

In Hanover, call 717-637-2235

For sexual violence, call 717-854-3131 or 800-422-3204

@ralefever; 771-2088