Woman trying to row Lake Michigan sexually assaulted

July 24, 2012 (GULLIVER, Mich.)

Jenn Gibbons is raising money to help breast cancer survivors. She was about five weeks into her journey when she was attacked as she slept in her boat Sunday night near Beaver Island, Michigan.

"This is just one really, really awful thing that happened, but you know I can name a million other wonderful people that I've met along the way. Those are the things I'm going to think about as I get on the bike tomorrow," Gibbons told ABC7.

On Wednesday, Gibbons will continue her journey on a bike until she reaches Muskegon, Michigan, where she will return to her boat.

On her website, Gibbons said she believes life is a gift even when it is scary and unfair.

Police have released a sketch of the suspect. They believe he may have traveled a great distance to commit the assault.

A yellow Jeep Wrangler with a smiley face tire cover was seen in the area at the time of the assault.

Gibbons' grandmother died a short time after she set sail. She says she began rowing because she found that there was healing in the power and poetry of rowing after working with some breast cancer survivors.

Josh Thurbee is a friend and rowing student of Gibbon's. He says he knew something was wrong when she wasn't responding to his daily text of encouragement. He found out what happened when she posted this on her website about the attack.

"More than anything, I'd want to want to give her a big hug," he told ABC7. "I just want her to know she's amazing and she's changed so many people's lives, and no matter what she does next she's going to continue to change people's lives."

ABC7 does not typically name women who have been sexually assaulted. However, Gibbons said the topic should be discussed because other women have faced similar ordeals.

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.