Clarion, Pa.- Sexual assault is not a crime that should be taken lightly, but both men and women in today’s society often
find it a hard topic to talk about, let alone to try and understand.
Victims of sexual assault are often too scared to talk about their experience to police, let alone to use their experience to encourage others to speak up and fight for criminal justice.
However, on Wednesday, March 18 in the Marwick Boyd Auditorium, ESPN’s Keri Potts came to Clarion University to shed light on her experience with sexual assault, and to encourage others to fight back.
Potts presented a speech about sexual assault and what it takes to speak up and talk about it.
Potts has been working with ESPN since June 2003 and is the head of public relations, traveling from place to place giving presentations.
Before working at ESPN, she worked for the National Collegiate Athletic Association for three years.
She is originally from Long Island, New York and attended Syracuse University where she was the captain of the volleyball team.
She graduated with her undergraduate degree in three years and earned her master’s degree the following year, an educational achievement.
Before Potts began her speech concerning her personal encounter with sexual assault, she related a personal inspirational quote, “The attention span of humans is eight seconds versus a goldfish at nine seconds.”
She then explained, “In a short amount of time anything can happen, pay attention.”
On Nov. 11, 2008, Potts was in Italy where she met a man. He was an artist, good looking and smooth. Potts said, “There was no warning signs that he was a threat, because he was a well-known guy within the community.”
She went out to a local café with him just to have some fun but as Potts said she “kept telling myself to be back at the hotel by 2 a.m.”
Potts also said she members vividly saying “No sex, just friends.” After leaving the café with him and insisted that Potts came back to his apartment to see his paintings and hesitantly Potts agrees.
However again she made it clear to Marco, “No sex, I have to be back by 2 a.m.”
Potts then paused to tell the audience, “Watch were you go, what you drink, and who you are with.”
Potts goes on to tell how her dream of flirting and have fun with a handsome Italian became a nightmare. Potts said, “Once we were in his apartment he began blasting Coldplay, to dilute her screams” of her being sexually assaulted.
However, Potts said “It’s better to break glass, make noise, fight back like hell.” As she tried to make her exit, Marco began to play mind games with her telling her “you’re not going any where you make me angry.”
Potts then did what she had to do in order to survive, she fought back. She tired to make her first attempt at escape by trying to jump of the balcony, however, her attacked grabbed her before she made it all the way out. Potts remembers how “I just wanted to survive” and continued to fight back.
After many blows with Marco, Potts tried her escape again and found herself scaling the walls of apartments in Italy, her adrenaline overcoming her. She kept running until she was safe.
Finally, when Potts made it to safety, she returned to her hotel, where she called for help. Potts said, “I had to wait the whole night until the following morning in order to get help, my body was the evidence.” Potts spoke with the police, gave them a report, but the fight was far from over. Her horrible encounter with Marco and seeking justice for what he had done to her was a two year long fight to get justice.
Even though Marco tired to turn the story around back on her, saying it the assault was her fault, by preserving her body for examination and leaving the crime scene untouched, that was enough to prove Marco guilty. Potts closed her speech by telling the audience, “to fight back, do what must be done.”
She concluded, “It doesn’t make sense to make excuses for men saying they were misled, and make it seem as if a women wanted it and changed her mind, no, its time to fight back.”