The Fitch Law Firm Sexual Abuse Survivor Scholarship was designed to spotlight the stories of people who have been affected by this heinous act while offering substantial assistance toward future careers. Samantha Downey embodies resilience, perseverance, and commitment to both her own life and the lives of others, making her the perfect fit for the $2,500 scholarship award.
Downey’s winning essay in part plots her trajectory from a young girl wanting to become a lawyer to her entry into the military as an Army Combat Medic at the age of 18. Then, in 2015, she was assaulted by her direct supervisor during a training exercise. “In 2016 my assailant was convicted of that assault, and he was sent to prison,” Downey wrote.
The process to obtain justice was itself traumatic, as many other survivors of abuse and assault can attest. However, if there was some silver lining in the experience, Downey wrote, it was the way her all-woman team of attorneys handled the court martial. Seeing the prosecution sparked that former dream of a legal career, and it has propelled Downey to this day.
Downey’s Life After the Military
After leaving the military, Downey juggled keeping a consistent 4.0 GPA at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, advocating and speaking publicly about issues related to sexual assault survivors, becoming a legal intern, and performing volunteer work. In the midst of all that, she was also a wife and mother, “all while attempting to keep my sanity,” she said.
Now, all that hard work has truly paid off. Accepted into the Notre Dame Law School Class of 2024, Samantha Downey has big plans for her degree. “I plan to not only improve my own life by becoming an attorney,” she wrote, “but I also want serve my community as a pro bono legal liaison for victims of sexual assault and other violent crimes.”At the Fitch Law Firm, we wish her well and are proud to provide assistance toward reaching that noble goal.