Fergus Falls woman forms sexual assault survivors' group, saying victims' stories are dismissed
An Otter Tail County woman who says investigators have ignored her allegations of a gang rape has formed a group she says will help others going through the same trauma.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Four years after the alleged rapes, no one has been charged.
"This is my healing stuff. I carry it everywhere I go, everything is in here, (like) my investigations," said Abigail Vondal of rural Fergus Falls.
Vondal is organized. She keeps an accordion file full of documents she says support her claims of an alleged gang rape in Otter Tail County in 2018.
"Here are the investigations," she said, opening another part of the file. "These are just the medical records from the hospital on that day."
"Being a survivor now, I know that the two things you have to do are survive and report," Vondal said. "I survived, went to the ER, did a 7-hour sexual assault exam. That was probably the most horrendous part so far."
She has formed a nonprofit called "No More Silent Sisters." Its goal is to make sure other survivors of rape are not ignored.
"We don't talk about it enough, and that is why I named it No More Silent Sisters, because I'm sick of being silenced," she said.
Vondal said that since starting her nonprofit, other women have reached out to her who say their cases have been ignored.
In Vondal's case, she said it has been four years since her alleged rapes, and no one has been charged.
"If you're not proactive, I feel like you're stagnant. ... I wasn't going to take this. I wasn't going to be dismissed. I wasn't going to be a statistic. I wasn't going to be another Native American woman who was not listened to or heard," she said.
Vondal says her goal is to get someone to listen and take action on her rape case, even though law enforcement and prosecutors have reviewed medical, investigative and BCA reports.
"I don't want anyone to feel alone. I don't want anyone ever to feel what I felt," she said. "They are not alone. There are other survivors. I'm going to walk you hand in hand down the healing journey."
No More Silent Sisters has also teamed up with other sexual assault survivors to form a support group.
More information about No More Silent Sisters can be found on the nonprofit's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/No-More-Silent-Sisters-109171214937433/.