Police seek public help on sex attack
The woman, who had been out with friends, decided to take a short cut through the park on her way home.
It was a decision she will regret for the rest of her life.
A sexual predator lay in wait behind the oval's change room, where he violently sexually assaulted the young woman.
The attack took place between 1.30am and 2.30am.
Lismore police crime manager Detective Inspector Steve Clarke described the attack as a particularly nasty aggravated sexual assault from which the victim had been extremely traumatised.
"It is a violent and intrusive offence," Det Insp Clarke said.
Det Insp Clarke said police had exhausted every possible avenue of investigation and were now appealing to the public for help in finding the assailant.
Yesterday, police released a com-fit image of the attacker, based on the woman's description.
He is described as being of white European appearance with a medium complexion, aged between 35 and 40, and between 165 to 170cm tall, with a medium build and ash-blond hair.
At the time of the attack, he was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and black steel-capped work boots.
Police searched the park the morning after the attack and Det Insp Clarke said they were able to gather physical evidence.
He said that the woman was receiving counselling.
It is unusual for people to be attacked by strangers in sexual assaults.
North Coast sexual assault service co-ordinator Bronwen Myers said that while sexual assaults by strangers did occur, most assaults were by people known to the victim.
"It is more likely the assailant will be an ex-partner or a friend," Mrs Myers said.
It is important that when sexual assaults occur, we blame the assailant and not the victim, she said.
"Unless we do, women will feel discouraged from reporting sexual assault," she said.
Mrs Myers said it was important that we strove to claim the right to safety in our streets and homes.
Det Insp Clarke said young people needed to be extra vigilant when out at night and they should look out for one another.
Anyone with information which may help police catch the young woman's attacker should call Lismore police station on 6626 0599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.