The Edwards community is invited to hear “A Marine’s Story,” told by Mary Lauterbach, a courageous mother who tragically lost her daughter in 2007 after a sexual assault. The event will be held Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Base Theater.
Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was brutally murdered in 2007, at the age of 20 by a fellow Marine. It was a stark reminder that sexual assaults don’t just happen in communities outside the gates of military installations.
“In military culture, anyone senior to you has authority over you. As a young Marine, she did just that. The sergeant that sexually assaulted her and murdered Lance Cpl. Lauterbach was above her in rank,” said Kimberly Shirley, sexual assault response coordinator for the base. “She came forward, leadership didn’t believe her and in the eighth month of her pregnancy she was murdered. It’s horrific.”
The story garnered national media attention and inspired her mother to tell the tragic story to create awareness, prevent future assaults and encourage victims to step forward.
“Sexual assault is a heinous crime. Every person needs to do their part in prevention and intervening, which includes leadership,” said Shirley. “Lauterbach’s supervisors didn’t believe her when she came forward. Her abuser was a stellar troop with no blemishes in his record. Supervisors need to believe and not pass judgment.”
The event is sponsored by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office and is open to all military personnel, family members and civilians. After Lauterbach speaks, she will be available to answer questions.
“I hope this event will empower someone who has been assaulted to come forward. I hope that people stop victim-blaming and start believing when someone comes forward,” said Shirley. “If one sexual assault is prevented through Mary Lauterbach’s outreach, then her daughter’s death is not in vain.”
Shirley heard Lauterbach speak for the first time at a 2011 SARC workshop in Minnesota. From then on, she has wanted to bring “A Marine’s Story” to the Edwards community.
Lauterbach, who resides in Dayton, Ohio, continues to advocate for the SAPRO program and travel to military instillations sharing her daughter’s story.
The unfortunate reality is that sexual assault occurs not just in the civilian community, but throughout the nation’s military services. It affects men, women and children. Outreach efforts, such as “A Marine’s Story” can create awareness and demonstrate just how important intervention is.
When a daughter or son makes the decision to serve the nation and join the military, certain risks, such as deployments and combat time are accepted – sexual assault should never be one of those risks.
For more information about “A Marine’s Story,” please contact Kimberly Shirley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (661) 277-7272.