Katie Thurston Says 'Justice System Failed Me' After Assault

Bachelorette Katie Thurston Reveals Past Sexual Assault: ‘The Justice System Failed Me’ or ‘I Refuse To Feel Defeated’

Katie Thurston
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Former star of The Bachelorette Katie Thurston has revealed that she lost a legal case against her alleged rapist in a heartbreaking statement.

“I’ve had ample support from my community which allowed me to stay strong over these past seven months,” Thurston said in a statement to Us Weekly on Saturday, June 29. “While the outcome is disappointing, I am at peace and turning any pain into purpose and hope to help other survivors of sexual assault.”

Thurston, 33, shared a statement about her assault via Instagram on Saturday as part of a larger carousel of informational graphics detailing her experience reporting her rape and the resources she used to survive the ordeal.

“The justice system continues to let down victims every day,” Thurston wrote. “I refuse to feel defeated in the strength it took to be an advocate for myself. I hope my experience will help those feel the strength and support they need.”

Former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe commented on Thurston’s post, saying, “I know we have talked offline but just wanted to let you know that sharing this online matters. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I love you.”

Thurston noted in her post that while she is “not ready to share [her] story, [she wants] to share the valuable resources that saved [her] life.” (Thurston made her Bachelor Nation debut on season 25 of The Bachelor before she headlined season 17 of The Bachelorette.)

The Bachelor Nation star said she called 911 to report her assault, which sent a police officer to take Thurston’s statement and transport her to a specialized medical center for a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) exam. She further praised the “two women” who were with her — a nurse and an advocate — during the exam, who Thurston described as “kind, nurturing” and “patient.”

“I felt like a small lost child who was vulnerable and scared,” she shared. “They thoroughly explained the process, asking for consent along the way, and allowing me to decline or change my mind at any time.”

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Thurston explained that as part of her SART exam, her blood was drawn to check for “STDs, drugs, and blood alcohol concentration,” before she was given a slew of medications to prevent pregnancy and combat any potential infections. This was all done “at no cost” to Thurston, “regardless if I had insurance or not.” Her rape kit would take four months to fully process.

“Nothing could move until this was done, so the time between allowed me to seek mental health support,” she continued. Thurston also shouted out the resources she used: The Center for Community Solutions, CA Victims of Crime Board and the book Know My Name by Chanel Miller.

Despite going through all the necessary protocols that come with reporting and doing everything she “should have done as a victim of rape,” Thurston became another survivor of sexual assault who has been let down by the justice system.

“I did everything I should have done as a victim of rape,” Thurston wrote in one of her slides. “‘Here are my texts, my calls, my photos, my videos, names, witnesses, locations, social media, time stamps, surveillance footage, DNA, my body.’ The warning ‘a guilty verdict is hard in criminal court’ echoed throughout the months, like an annoying parrot you were forced to keep. And as much as I heard it, I still wasn’t ready to be stopped. And yet, without warning, I was.”

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She concluded, “This is not a loss to me. I am safe. I am loved. I am supported. Change happens in failure. And the justice system failed me. And continues to fail thousands every single day. But do not give up.”

Previously, Thurston made headlines in 2021 when she opened up about an assault that happened more than a decade prior during an episode of The Bachelorette. During a “vulnerability” themed date, Thurston revealed to a group of contestants that she was “involved in a situation where there wasn’t consent” at a party where she had consumed alcohol.

“For a long time I felt responsible for being too drunk, too irresponsible, too stupid,” Thurston said during the episode. “But it’s not my fault because consent is important and I did not give it that night.”

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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