LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) –
A 16-year-old girl says her life was forever changed when she became part of a violent encounter – witnessing an assault.
Nikole Silva Barnbeck is now taking that traumatic experience and using it to protect herself and those close to her. She will speak out about domestic violence and sexual assault during the Rape Crisis Center's Teen Space Summit on Thursday in downtown Las Vegas.
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Barnbeck says that during a family vacation, she saw a male passenger attack a female driver as a 9-month-old slept in the back.
Her father and stepmother, who work for Metro, didn't hesitate to intervene while she called 911. The woman ended up driving away.
Without knowing if the victim got help, Barnbeck felt compelled to learn more about assault. The statistics out there are astounding:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 20 percent of women report rape at some time in their lives. Almost 40 percent of those victims were first attacked between the ages of 18 through 24. Advocates say it's a message to send out to students, from those in college to those much younger.
“You always feel invincible; you're not,” Barnbeck said. “I don't know if there's any way to explain to someone you're not invincible until something happens to you.”
Barnbeck says she’s hoping others like her take note and do what they can to learn about the dangers.