CAMBRIDGE, Ohio (WCMH) – An victim advocate who was at the hospital when the woman accusing a Philadelphia Eagles player of sexual assault was brought in said attacks of these kinds happen everywhere, including Ohio’s rural areas.
Eagles rookie lineman Joshua Sills, an Ohio native, was indicted Wednesday on charges of rape and kidnapping in Guernsey County in connection with the December 2019 incident.
According to police reports, Michelle Carpenter-Wilkinson, the CEO of Haven of Hope, was at the hospital when the victim came in.
While she cannot comment on the case specifically, Carpenter-Wilkinson said sexual violence can happen anywhere.
“Last year at the Haven of Hope, we helped 2,132 victims in our community,” she said. “Which, to me, seems like a lot. I think one victim is too many.”
Carpenter-Wilkinson said there is no timeframe as to when a victim should speak out and seek help.
“It’s always when the victim is ready to tell,” she said. “It shouldn’t ever be about any of the rest of us. Because it didn’t happen to us. We are just here to provide support and help get them where they need to be.”
Stills is accused of forcing the woman to perform a sex act on him, an ordeal the victim said lasted for more than 20 minutes.
“At that point, you’re just trying to survive the moment, survive what was happening to you,” Carpenter-Wilkinson said of sexual assault victims.
As to why victims may wait to report crimes, Carpenter-Wilkinson said there could be a number of reasons.
“It could be a safety concern,” she said. “Maybe they’re afraid to report it. Maybe it’s someone they know or someone who’s threatened them, so there would be a fear of safety.”
Stills is due in court on Feb. 16, just four days after the Eagles play in the Super Bowl.