“There’s life after this horrible event.” Centenary police officer shares her story of sexual assault

Sexual assault awareness

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -The Centenary College Police Department might be small but their impact is pretty big, especially when it comes to informing students about sexual assault. For one of its officers, the topic is something she knows all too well.

Heather Boucher is on a mission. She’s trying to get as many Centenary College students as she can to come to the police departments Teal Walk, which raises awareness about sexual assault.

As she moves through the campus, her passion and dedication for this tough topic is evident; it’s something personal.

“I honestly just wanted to die," said Boucher. "I just wanted to crawl in a hole and not come out because I felt so horrible.”

It was Good Friday and Heather was 16 living in Texas. She was staying with a friend, whose parents were out of town that weekend. Her friend’s brother decided to throw a party and that’s when she met her attacker.

“He was a nice guy," she said. "He didn’t give any kind of indicators that he was going to harm either one of us. He seemed to be a nice guy so we sat in the kitchen and talked to him.”

He needed to make a beer run and asked Heather to go with him. He changed after they returned.

“I don’t really know why, I went with him but we went to…it’s like a guest house and we went to the guest house and from that point forward I wasn’t allowed to leave,” she said.

Heather says that's where she was sexually assaulted.

She tried to come up with ways to leave but it wasn’t until her attacker finally fell asleep she was able to escape.

“I remember going back to her house and I laid on the couch just curled up and I was so scared and I felt so gross and dirty that I went into her bathroom and I found one of those really hard scrubby brushes and I think I scrubbed my skin until I felt like I was going to bleed,” she said.

She saw her attacker again inside her friend's house later on in the morning.

“He came back in and he had my panties in his hand and he said I’ll just add this to the collection,” she said.

Heather went home but it wasn’t until a few days later that she finally broke down and told another friend and soon, her mother. They reported her assault to police and later learned her attacker was actually 26.

It was the words the officer on her case told her that changed her forever.

“He said they’re going to eat you alive on the stand and it didn’t go anywhere. So that was it. That was my justice.”

Heather soon built p a wall. It wasn’t until she hit her mid-30s that she knew something needed to change.

“I realized at a point that I could no longer let this one terrible incident dictate my whole life," she said. "It had absorbed and occupied so much of me that I had to let it go because it was going to end up killing me.”

Heather got married and owned a nail business for over ten years. She talked about becoming a police officer for years, but finally decide to make the career change at 34.

“I sold my business and went through the academy and I worked with Shreveport police as a patrol officer," she said.

She eventually ended up working as an investigator for the Centenary College Police Department. For the last eight years she has tried to help sure every student will never experience what she went through at 16.

Heather discussing the Teal Walk with a student.
Heather discussing the Teal Walk with a student. (Source: Maranda Whittington)

“I don’t ever want for someone to be alone to feel lost," she said. "That was probably the worst part is that feeling when I laid on that couch and I was alone.”

Heather has experienced something terrible but she has worked hard to make sure it doesn’t define the person she’s choosing to be today.

“There’s life," she said. "There’s life after this horrible event.”

Heather’s finally gained her power back and for her, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

Last week, Heather and the rest of the Centenary College Police Department were awarded the Organizational Ally of the Year award from the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault for all of the work they’ve done to raise awareness about sexual assault on Centenary’s campus.

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