Family hopes Megan Rondini vigil will spark change for rape vict - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Family hopes Megan Rondini vigil will spark change for rape victims

(Source: WBRC video) (Source: WBRC video)

On Friday night, friends, family, and even strangers gathered to remember University of Alabama student Megan Rondini with a vigil and march.

She committed suicide after allegedly being sexually assaulted months before.

There was a lot of prayer and reflection in the vigil for Megan Rondini, but organizers also spoke about resources available to sexual assault victims and how much work still needs to be done so they are heard.

“Let these witnesses tonight bring the message of love,” said Megan Rondini’s Aunt Robyn Yetter. 

Yetter read a poem to the crowd of at least 60 right outside of DCH Medical Center. “I dug deep and garnered the courage she said we should all have,” said Yetter. 

Yetter and her family are overwhelmed with how much support they've received.

“We are being heard. Her name was said on the floor of the house of the representatives,” said Yetter. 

She's referring to the Megan Rondini Act that a Texas U.S. Representative filed requiring hospitals to have a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner available 24 hours a day. 

“Any survivor - not just Megan - you want to be believed,” said Yetter. 

Tuscaloosa For Change is a group made up of some rape victims and was formed in response to Megan's death. 

“I actually was raped when I was 17 years old and I did press charges,” said rape survivor Laurie Beth Kesterson.

But like Megan's case, the outcome was the same. Laurie Beth Kesterson's alleged attacker was never prosecuted. She wants others like her to know they aren't alone. 

“You can come to us and we want to support you. We don't want anyone to go through what Megan did again,” said Kesterson. 

Yetter is hopeful Megan's story will inspire progress to improve the system. “To think outwardly, to run bravely against opposing fire, Megan's not going to be forgotten,” said Yetter. 

The Rondini family currently has an active lawsuit against the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff, named detectives on the case, her alleged attacker, and the University of Alabama.

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