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“We can survive this.”

Shelly Monahan-Cain discusses sexual assault awareness with high school students and their parents at the Red Morgan Center Oct. 3. Monahan-Cain has spoken at more than 5,000 sexual assault and rape recovery talks over the last 20 years and has talked at Fairchild three times.

Shelly Monahan-Cain discusses sexual assault awareness with high school students and their parents at the Red Morgan Center Oct. 3. Monahan-Cain has spoken at more than 5,000 sexual assault and rape recovery talks over the last 20 years and has talked at Fairchild three times.

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Shelly Monahan-Cain spoke about sexual assault awareness at the Red Morgan Center Oct. 3. Monahan-Cain was hosted by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office.

Monahan-Cain spoke about her personal rape story for the third time at Fairchild, providing insight and encouraging discussion among high school students and their parents.

Monahan-Cain was one of 40 victims of the "South Hill Rapist," a high-profile criminal in the late 70s and early 80s.

“There was a star off in the distance, and I just began praying to God," Monahan-Cain said. "I promised to turn this experience into a positive; if God were to let me live, I wasn’t going to let Him down."

Monahan-Cain has spoken across the country at more than 5,000 sexual assault and rape recovery talks over the last 20 years; including multiple television appearances, high school and college assemblies and church groups.

"Shelly is able to tell a difficult story with a good mix of seriousness and humor,” said Vada Martinez, SAPR victim advocate. “She is candid and open in a way that invites people to ask questions and join the dialog. Faith and family are her cornerstones. Every challenge seems to increase her personal resolve and she uses that inner strength to help others."

Monahan-Cain discussed her encounter with the South Hill Rapist, how she overcame the rape and how she dedicated her life to ensure women and men are educated on sexual assault.

"I don’t use the word ‘victim,’ I use the word ‘survivor’," Monahan-Cain said. "You young men and women are going to go through so much in your lifetime; it’s just the beginning.”

It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it, concluded Monahan-Cain.

For more information on what you can do or how to help someone you know who has been the victim of sexual assault, contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at (509) 247- 4771.