NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There has been a tremendous outpouring of support from the community after a stranger raped an elderly woman in her home on Bowling Avenue.
Phillip Hayes, 46, is now behind bars facing charges for the August 23 assault.
The horrendous crime shocked neighbors who quickly stepped up, first in helping nab the suspect and now in the victim survivor’s recovery.
More than $15,000 in donations has been raised in just a couple of days through GoFundMe to help with bills from the assault not covered by insurance, along with the addition of a security system and maybe even a guard dog to protect and help the survivor feel safe. The organizers say they plan to donate the surplus to Nashville’s Sexual Assault Center (SAC).
“Everything you see here obviously costs money and every therapy, every person we see, every rape kit we do all costs money and that’s not possible without the generosity of our community,” explained Lorraine McGuire, VP of Development and Marketing at SAC.
Since 1978, McGuire says the center has served over 35,000 sexual assault survivors in the community.
“We never turn anyway away for the inability to pay,” she said.
The nonprofit offers an endless list of resources for sexual assault victims of all ages across the spectrum from therapy to advocacy.
McGuire says they also provide the only nonhospital facility with free rape kits, “You are going to be one if not maybe two people in the clinic at a time and everybody is there for your support.”
Friends and neighbors of the victim on Bowling Avenue say she is bruised and injured, but the worst part is this man stole her sense of home and safety.
Less than a week after starting the GoFundMe, the organizers posted that they were touched by the outpouring of support of the community and are closing donations.
McGuire is grateful the community’s support sheds some light on the center’s resources to help survivors in cases like this.
“Not only is the community rallying around her, but they are rallying around everybody in Middle Tennessee that comes to Sexual Assault Center for services which is incredible. Donations matter. The community rallying around victims, not only do they feel supported to know that this is paid for by people who care but it is literally life-changing for somebody who needs services.”
The center also offers a 24-hour crisis line at (866) 811-7473. For more information visit their website.