In the early morning hours of September 28, 2005, Whitney Wahlstrom was awakened by two intruders, tying her up in her own bed in her North Carolina home. And then according to Whitney, the unimaginable happened.
Whitney says the two intruders each took turns sexually assaulting her numerous times.
"I just remember looking up at the ceiling a lot. I didn't really look at them. I didn't want to know. I mean, it crossed my mind that I should be thinking about looking at what they looked like and everything like that, but I just didn't care at that point," said Wahlstrom.
Whitney says after the attack, she immediately contacted the local law enforcement.
"Law enforcement told me that I had imagined that somebody had been there, that I had imagined that this had happened to me," Wahlstrom said.
After she talked to law enforcement, Whitney said she felt hopeless.
"It's just a feeling you can't really put into words. The betrayal. And that's partially why I felt so guilty. I believed it. I believed that I deserved what had happened to me. That was another reason I didn't say anything for six years," Wahlstrom said.
During those six years, Whitney said she couldn't bring herself to terms with what had happened.
"I just didn't deal with it. I just kind of shut down and just put it out of my mind for the most part and just did not let it bother me," Wahlstrom said.
But through it all, Whitney found her strength and rebuilt her life. She received a bachelor's degree, has two adoring dogs, and is back in school to become an EMT. She also encourages everyone to attend the Sexual Assault Awareness Walk put on by the Women's Center of Marquette.
"We are relying on friends and families to bring out their husbands, their brothers, their boyfriends, Northern students, anybody who has a sister, a mother, a girlfriend, that they want to see sexual violence come to an end," said Kelly Laakso, Sexual Assault Advocate for the Women's Center in Marquette.
The walk is Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in the Great Lakes Rooms at the University Center on Northern Michigan University.