In June, an 18-year-old pregnant woman was walking her dog in the woods near her home in a remote section of New Mexico when a stranger stopped her and told her he had a gun and wanted to buy her a beer.
She had no idea the man had a history of domestic violence and was hesitant to approach him.
But that was just the beginning.
Within days, she said, she began to hear from men across the country who were telling stories about how their women were sexually assaulted by strangers in the name of beer.
“I started hearing about the ‘friend zone’ and I started to understand what happened to these women and I was so scared,” she said.
“I started thinking about the way they could feel so betrayed.”
The woman, whose name has not been released, had no plans to file a report with police, but she knew she needed to do something to get the word out.
“As a survivor, I knew I needed to share my story, because I’m going to be the one to help this community get justice,” she wrote.
“When you can’t say anything, you can do nothing.”
To help raise awareness, the campaign, “The Friend Zone,” raised over $10,000 to help cover the costs of advertising, publicity and to hire a public relations firm to promote the campaign.
It also took the woman a year to put the story of her rape and assault out there, and she said she still does not know who the perpetrator was.
The campaign has raised more than $1,000, she told TechCrunch, and her experience has changed her perspective on rape and violence.
“When it happens, it’s not something that’s funny or fun, it can really hurt someone’s life,” she added.
“But I knew it would make a difference.”
The campaign will continue for the rest of the year.