More sexual abuse victims coming forward

Jacksonville Beach woman says she fought off her attacker

Published On: Apr 15 2013 04:04:21 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 15 2013 04:14:44 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -

One day after Jacksonville Beach woman talked about surviving a brutal attack early Friday morning, another victim passes through tough urging more women to speak out about sexual violence.

MacKenzie Worthley, 24, says she was attacked by a man who approached her as she was skateboarding to a friends house on First Street.

"He tried to choke me out at one point. I saw stars," Worthley said. "It's really a miracle I wasn't knocked out."

She credits a homeless man with hearing her screams and flagging down help.  That not only interrupted the attack, but led to the quick arrest of 21-year-old Edward Marshall-Byrd Jr., who is now charged with sexual battery.

Worthley's story is close to Lauren Book's heart. As a child, she was sexually abused every day for five years by her nanny.

Book says predators thrive on knowing their victims are living in darkness and fear and is on a campaign to urge women to speak out.

"It is important that people share their story because,otherwise, you're living in that space of fear. Constant fear, and you don't need to," Book said. "We don't want to just survive what's happened to us. We want to be thrivers."

Worthley, how has bruises and scars on her face, knees and neck, plus four staples in her head, agrees. She says coming forward may even save a life in the future.

"What if he's done this before?" Worthley asked. "And now someone can come forward, now that I have. I hope that they would."

Worthley said she's still hoping to find the homeless man that came to his aid to thank him.