SAINT GEORGE, Utah. (KTVX/CNN) – A woman kidnapped and assaulted for more than a week by a man she met online is speaking out about her ordeal.
It happened last summer, and she says she wants other victims to know they are not helpless.
“I still think about what happened down in Arizona,” said victim Kiara Holm. “I have flashbacks to the moment where i was beaten, to where I was raped.”
Holm was 17-years-old in June, living in St. George, when she got into the car of a man she met on the app “Whisper.”
Police say the man told Kiara he was 20-years-old, lived 30 minutes away, and would bring her home before her parents noticed she was gone.
Instead, charging documents state 37-year-old Raymond Burk took her to Arizona, tied her up, sexually and physically assaulted her, and told her she was his “little pet” he was going to “keep forever.”
Holm explained, “I learned to just submit, and just do whatever to get through the day, because if I fought, it would get worse.”
Holm was listed as a runaway and says she was held by Burk for more than a week before she found a phone and messaged a friend for help.
“The moment that I reached out to my friend, that’s the moment that I realized I wanted to live.” Holm said.
Holm, now 18, chose to speak with her mom and sister by her side because she wants others to find hope. She said, “Don’t give up, and if you feel you’re at the end of your rope in your life, just tie a knot and hold on.”
She has a message to other children who have been abused: “Don’t think that just because somebody’s bigger than you, somebody is controlling you. Don’t think you don’t have a voice, because
you do, and your voice is 10 times stronger than theirs.”
Burk is charged in Utah with aggravated kidnapping and human trafficking.
Holm said, “Very grateful that he is being charged and that he is locked up. He could go through ten deaths and it’s not going to add up to what he put me through. I forgive him, because I’ve learned that you can’t move on in life if you don’t forgive people, no matter what they put you through.”