Tristalyn Bixler-Kint said she often wonders why she was sexually assaulted at a party in March 2012, her senior year of college.
All she said she can come up with is "wrong place, wrong time."
Now two years later, Bixler-Kint, who was crowned Miss York County earlier this year, has taken her experience and turned it into a crusade to end sexual abuse and advocate for victims of it.
"Speak out and end sexual violence, as well as other crimes," she told a packed Trinity United Church of Christ, 32 W. Market St. in York City, during the 28th Annual Crime Victims' Rights March and Candlelight Vigil on Tuesday.
The event was sponsored by the York County Victims' Rights Coalition as part of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, observed from Sunday to Saturday.
"This is what's so important," Bixler-Kint said. "Coming together and fighting together as a community."
Bixler-Kint's pageant platform focuses on the fight against sexual violence.
March: The annual vigil got under way at the Colonial Court House, where marchers gathered before following the Kiltie Band of York to the church about a block away.
Speakers at the church said finding closure for victims of sex abuse can be difficult. But one state representative is advocating to eliminate the statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse.
Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks County, is a co-sponsor of House Bill 237, which would uncap time limits for victims to file civil lawsuits against their abusers. Earlier this year, Rozzi, who was sexually abused as a young teenager, announced he intends to introduce legislation that would do away with the limitations for criminal charges to be filed.
"The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania favors the perpetrator. That's a crime," Rozzi told the crowd. "We want total elimination of the statute of limitations."
After the event, York County District Attorney Tom Kearney said he's always in favor of bringing people to justice.
"Whatever we can do to bring justice and make victims whole, I'm all about it," he said.
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.