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08 October 2016

ESPN Exec Keri Potts Counsels Sexual Assault Victims to Fight Back

Nearly two decades ago, the Bureau of Justice Statistics issued a report that said, “three out of four rape or sexual assault victimizations involved offenders with whom the victim had a prior relationship as a family member, intimate or acquaintance.”

It’s happened to countless individuals across the United States and around the world. It is what happened to ESPN Senior Director of Communications Keri Potts.

She knew her attacker. He was an acquaintance with whom Potts had built both rapport and trust. Then, in a flash, the trust was gone. The smiling face masking her attacker’s true identity came off and revealed the monster hiding below.

Potts’ harrowing account of her sexual assault survival made the pages of Marie Claire magazine. Each excruciating word bled with emotion as Potts relived a truly horrific memory.

Hearing the story in person, as dozens of Georgia State University students did last week, brings about strong feelings; not of sympathy, but of anger. You could hear the anger in Potts’ voice as recalled her 2008 attack in Italy, and you felt anger as well at the massive betrayal of trust she suffered while overseas.

“A guy tried to rape me. He almost murdered me. I escaped,” Potts told students. “I tell you this because my company took excellent care of me. ESPN sent someone to find me in my hotel that night. They flew me home on a first class ticket. They got me into therapy the minute I landed. They gave me protection when my family and I had to fly back to be interrogated by the prosecution.”

Keri Potts fought back, and she had some heavy hitters in her corner. Now, Potts has become a heavy hitter herself.

Potts is a rape crisis counselor at Grady Memorial Hospital. She is the person sexual assault victims come to when they need to rebuild trust and heal.

Grady is located in Fulton County.

During 2015, nineteen rapes occurred in Fulton County, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Chances are Keri Potts helped counsel one of these victims. She helped them fight back.

“That’s a passion project for me,” Potts said of her counseling work. “I’m really actually really good at this work.”