WOMAN SAYS SHE HOPES SPEAKING OUT ABOUT ASSAULT BRINGS OTHERS FORWARD

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It’s been just two days since a woman living in Tuscaloosa went through an absolute nightmare, but today she’s standing up and speaking out.

On Monday, Tuscaloosa investigators arrested the man accused of her assault and at least one more in recent years. They believe there are more victims who haven’t yet come forward.

Tereza Jones, 24, of Demopolis was charged with first-degree rape Monday.

“It’s not OK that this happened to me,” she said. “But it’s not OK that this happened to anyone.”

The woman asked that her identity be protected, so we are not using her name.

“I was scared,” she said. “I didn’t even know if I should tell anyone at first.”

It happened early Sunday morning in a breezeway at Campus Evolution Village apartment complex in Tuscaloosa, she said. And it happened in front of her two young children.

“They didn’t deserve to see anything like that happen to the person they care about the most,” she said. “It’s just sickening. I just wish they never had to experience anything like that. I can’t even worry about getting myself better because I am worried about them.”

But instead of staying silent, she said she’s determined to tell her story in the hopes of helping others who have experienced a similar horror.

“I had a lot of people who said they had been sexually assaulted before but were scared to speak out on it,” she said. “I know you are going to be scared, but something came to me to just get my story out.”

By remaining alert and determined to survive, she was able to help law enforcement identify the man she said attacked her.

“The outfit he had on stood out to me because it was a bright color,” she said. “It happened so fast, it was all a blur, but when someone does something to you you might not remember right then because you are so traumatized, but you are going to remember who has harmed you.”

Jones remains in the Tuscaloosa County Jail. The woman said it’s comforting to know he’s still behind bars,but she’s not resting easy until his future is concrete.

“I just want him to be put away so he can’t do this to anyone else,” she said.

Jones was charged with the rape of a 14-year-old girl in Perry County in 2016.

Perry County District Attorney Michael Jackson said that case was dismissed after the victim did not show up for court.

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