Amid reported sex assault on greenway, organization wants survivors to know there’s help

CHARLOTTE — A local group is making sure people know there are resources available following Wednesday’s reported sexual assault on the McAlpine Creek Greenway.

Extra police patrols were at the park Thursday after Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said a woman was attacked and sexually assaulted. Her attacker has not been caught.

Jasmine Hensley with Safe Alliance said crimes like this can stir up many emotions for people, and she wants people to know there is help. The organization helps those impacted by sexual assaults.

“We get a lot of calls from people who are either calling for themselves, saying, ‘I’ve witnessed this,’ or, ‘I have a family member who’s gone through a sexual assault,’ or anything of that nature,” she said.

Ruby Edwards said she walks on the McAlpine Creek Greenway four times a week. It wasn’t until she saw Channel 9 crews Thursday that she learned a woman was sexually assaulted by a stranger.

“To hear that it happened here -- and this is the route that I go, it hits hard. It hits close to home. Like, dang, this could happen to me,” Edwards said.

She saw the extra patrol and said while that eases some of her fears, it wasn’t enough to make her feel safe enough to stay on the trail Thursday.

“I feel like we should be able to be out here and exercise and feel safe. That’s why it hit me hard. Now I’m scared. Now I’m afraid to be out here and walk and exercise when it should be my right to be out here safe,” Edwards said.

Hensley, who is the hotline advocate manager, said survivors or anyone who has been impacted is encouraged to call the organization’s hotline, even if it’s just to talk.

“Reach out for the help because that’s how you take your power back,” Hensley said.

For more information on Safe Alliance’s resources, click here.

CMPD said they are searching for a man who is heavy set and around 5 feet, 6 inches tall. He is described as having braided hair and was wearing black clothes. Police said the suspect may also have injuries to his face or hands from where the victim fought back.

Anyone with information on where the suspect may be is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

(WATCH BELOW: Woman reportedly sexually assaulted on east Charlotte greenway; CMPD searching for suspect)

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