A Las Vegas police officer was arrested for felony sexual assault last Saturday, and his alleged victim is a San Diego woman who was best friends with the officer’s wife.
Vivian Solomon talked about her ordeal in detail exclusively with NBC 7 News. She said she agreed to show her face and use her real name because she wants to empower other sexual assault and rape victims to help hold their attackers accountable.
“Women have been shamed for being raped for hundreds of years. (It’s as if) it's just something that happens to you, and you need to get over it and move on," Solomon said. “We don’t have to stay quiet anymore, and I’m not going to.”
Solomon said she went to Las Vegas last week to visit a good friend who is married to the alleged rapist, whom she met for the first time during that visit.
She was staying at the couple’s home, where the alleged rape happened.
“I went to bed with my headphones in, listening to some music,” Solomon said. “All of a sudden, I woke up, and that’s when he was on top of me.”
Solomon tried to fight off her alleged attacker, Las Vegas Police Officer Manuel Gutierrez.
Jail and court records confirm Gutierrez was arrested and charged June 8 with felony sexual assault.
Las Vegas Metro Police released a booking photo of the officer, who joined the force in 2014.
The department said Gutierrez has been placed on leave without pay, pending resolution of his case.
But Solomon is worried that her alleged assailant will not be held to account by the justice system.
She’s also upset about how she was treated after the alleged rape.
She said hospital staff in Las Vegas did little to comfort her, and also said a rape counselor was equally unhelpful.
“A girl comes in with a folder that has a couple phone numbers on it, and gives me a teddy bear and calls me an Uber," Soloman said. "And I didn't have a hotel room. I was staying at the house where I was assaulted."
Solomon said she, fortunately, found another friend to stay the night and returned the next day to San Diego.
But she said it’s been difficult to get any information about her case from Las Vegas police and prosecutors. She also said rape crisis counselors in Las Vegas and San Diego have done little to help her cope with the anguishing aftermath of the alleged attack, perpetrated by one of her best friend’s husband, in their home.
She, meanwhile, must get back to work on Monday to pay her bills.
"I have to walk around pretending that everything is fine, when really inside I have this secret that I am right back there, every second of the day, being assaulted again," Solomon said. “I am fully traumatized. I consider myself a strong woman and I am crumbled."
Solomon said the rape crisis line connected her with a therapist who offered to talk with her for a discounted rate of $80 an hour, which she can’t afford. But she said talking with a rape counselor on the phone, just isn't helpful. She said she now understands why rape victims need immediate, face-to-face help, from an experienced therapist.
"Because I'm sitting here wondering if I'm losing my mind, because I can't stop thinking about him, and all I want to do is stop," she Solomon said.
While Solomon is waiting for help and trying her best to cope with the mental and physical trauma, she wants other women to take comfort and find strength from her misfortune.
"Now feels like the time in which we don't have to stay quiet anymore,” Solomon said. “And I'm not going to."
Meanwhile, a preliminary hearing for Gutierrez is scheduled for Aug. 30.
His attorney did not return phone calls and emails asking for a comment about the criminal charge.