The parents of the Colorado woman who says she was raped by basketball star Kobe Bryant joined a public program in Denver yesterday to mark crime victims’ rights week. The Denver Post said that in her first public remarks since her daughter accused Bryant of rape last summer, the mother told an audience of 100, “I want to thank my daughter for teaching me about courage. I’m proud to be her mom.” The woman’s name was withheld to protect her daughter’s identity, but she allowed her photograph to be taken. “Victims’ rights are about standing up for the truth. Victims’ rights are about becoming a survivor,” the woman said.
Also in attendance were District Attorneys Bill Ritter of Denver and Dave Thomas of Jefferson County, Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, all of whom saluted victims and victim advocates.
One speaker was one of the 13 surviving victims of serial rapist and murderer Troy Graves. Kristen Marshall, 29, the third of eight women Graves assaulted or attempted to assault near the Colorado State University campus, said she has been infuriated by some comments about and press coverage of the University of Colorado scandal and Bryant’s accuser.
Marshall said that rape is one of the most under-reported crimes and that the CU and Bryant cases won’t help victims come forward. “With all the media attention to the CU cases and now the Kobe Bryant case, I fear the problem is only going to get worse. The fact is that rape should not be tolerated and victims should be able to come forward without fear,” Marshall said.