Assault, Partner, Tri County discussed on Retrospect


Okay. Very good. And again it's the twentieth anniversary. So you're taking on kind of a birthday theme at the cheers to change. I'm I I gotta say I'm kind of surprised it's only twenty years old. That need was so significant. Can you take us back in time a little bit? Yeah. So actually, it's a really close story. Commissioner Mary Johnson was our founder, she was really passionate. She had a personal connection to the need for a victim services. And so she really went to bat to fight for her that need and she worked really diligently with her partners in the commission to try and find the funding. And I love kind of the story of how it came about. She found a line item in the budget because that was the only thing stopping them. There was no money. And so she found a line item. That was the quarters from the payphones the inmates would use it the jail, and she said, well, what's this revenue going towards, and it was going towards paying for things like cable and some other amenities for inmates. And she was like, well, I this is a really great opportunity for some restitution for the victims in our community to receive the healing they deserve. And so we're really proud of the work that she did twenty years ago to be able to provide you know, that startup. For us. But we weren't the rape crisis center for that entire time. That was just initial rape services. For this crisis counseling, we only took that on in about two thousand five so we've grown exponentially in that time it was four hundred victims out first year and this pasture reserved over sixty two hundred victims. So the need is very great. Yeah. For sure it describe the kinds of services that you offer. So we run a twenty four seven help line. And if you are the victim of sexual assault twenty four hours a day, you can reach a master's level crisis counselor who will provide you those grounding techniques to be able to cope with what's happening through that help. You can also be connected with ferns services. So we have seen a sane nurse, which is a sexual assault nurse examiner. And we contract them to provide a very warm and welcoming environment with the accompaniment of a crisis counselor the forensic collection of DNA. So if you choose to report. To the police or you don't you have that evidence that you have options later in life. And then in our office leader on we have ongoing crisis counseling, we have referral services. We help with victims compensation, and if it turns out that this is really impacting your life, or maybe it was something that happened to you as a child we offer ongoing therapy as well. That's amazing. And I just got gotta wonder about that victim and knowing that they can call you for that. It's I think that we talk a lot about barriers that's for me as a communications person that I see that as my job. My job is every day to hopefully, say the thing that helps someone realized that whatever barriers in front of them is not so big that they can't come in to get the help that they deserve. But it's hard. Every victim has a barrier Willard's emotional or they think it's financial or maybe it's stability, whatever it is. Or maybe it's transportation. Maybe it's something logistical, whatever it is is working to try and make those barriers a non issue. So that everyone can access care. So all of our services are one hundred percent free. They're easily acceptable accessible, and we try and do everything we can. So if you can't come to us, you can pick up that phone. Do you find that the victims are aware that they can phone or? Did they I I mean, I guess when something happens to you? How do you even know where to turn? So a lot of times people are referred to us through our law enforcement partners. Because I think that's the most logical place to go. A lot of other individuals are being referred to us through either our website our social media other partners. We do a lot of work to point out our materials, we provide them for free. So anyone can reach out to us that thinks maybe their school or another nonprofit that they have a place to be able to play Armenteros. So that anyone can see them pick them up. We provide those as much as possible to the community just recently links, what are crisis cards in every single links bus, and we have a tariff flyers where you can tear off our phone number, and we've trying plaster those all over the Tri county area too because it's very, discreet. And we encourage buildings to put them in their bathrooms because it's the most private place where someone could either snap a picture of the phone number or. Tear off the number off the bottom. So Tri county area is your service area. Well, we serve anyone we won't turn you away. That's what I wanted to ask. But technically, we are certified as the replaces center for orange Osceola and Seminole county times people want to dry farther because they're very concerned about the discretion and wanting to remain confidential. So we we won't say, oh, you're coming from Lake County. We can't help you. That's not the case. A what's important is people receiving care? And so we just have certification to be the center for three counties. So how far do people tend to travel then? And also, what are your locations? So I've heard stories about individuals driving over an hour from Brevard county to attend group therapy with us because they really desperately wanted that confidentiality and they didn't want their community knowing what they were attending therapy for is. Sometimes I've had them coming from. From lakeland just depends and our physical office locations are in downtown just we are on east Michigan in downtown Orlando, and we have an office in Longwood. Great thanks for saying that because I wanted people to know that they can come from wherever anyone can come where our biggest focus is to be able to just provide healing. Anyway, that we can help them do that. But that's also why we offer that twenty four seven phone line. Because we understand that. Maybe you can't get away from a partner until maybe two o'clock in the morning when they're asleep, and you can find some privacy to make that phone call to get some help whatever it is that we need to do to help diminish. Those barriers you can access it. We're going to try and do it. What is it like for the people who participate in those support groups to meet other people who are going through similar things? They talk about how healing it is to know that they're not the only one on that is a lot of times. What? So many people who have participated in the metoo movement. That's why this became so powerful. Most recently is because social media and naval the metoo movement to grow and that solidarity and support is really what made so many people come forward because they knew they weren't the only one and when you say a barrier. Well, a barrier is for so many as the shame and assumption that they did something wrong. And that's not the case. And they've never done anything to deserve what happened to them? But until you learn maybe in group therapy were through other people vocally sharing their story on social media. You aren't able to grasp just how much it wasn't your fault or that you aren't alone. Do you think society is changing too? And instead of blaming the victim that they're starting to be more receptive to what's really happening. Well, we're working really hard towards that. I think that in the last five years we've made great progress towards that's one of the things that we do during sexual assault awareness month is denim day. It stems from a court case in the hundred ninety s where the Italian supreme court overturned a verdict where the victim had been wearing tight jeans, and the court said, well, your clothing choice must be an indication of the fact that you had to have participated in this action because your salient assailant could not have removed, these jeans without your assistance because they were too tight and not a horrible example victim blaming and so in solidarity the women of the Italian parliament, then more genes the next day to stand with this victim and say, we're not going to Stanford rectum blaming in such way. And then this week they blame two more victims of sex. Assault and said that they were to Manley. And so their physical appearance must have been the reason why they were sexually assaulted as we're working really hard in our community to not stand for that. So we use the original denim day case for our advocacy day. So the last Wednesday of April every year this year, it's April twenty fourth. We encourage everyone to register through our website, which is victims service, center dot org and have your school your organization your business where genes on that Wednesday. And it sends a message that you won't stand for sexual violence in this community. And we just ask that you take a group picture and you post it with the hashtag denim day. And you tag at Florida, and you share this is why we wear jeans on Dunham day, and it sends a really powerful message. Pretty good. And so actually the groups that are doing it can also like pay a fee like, casual I know kids schools, they do this alive. Right. It can wear that. And then the money can go to via c yes. Some of our partners have started doing that. The Orange County tax collectors has done that every year for the past couple of years. And if they find it to be easy way to support us into Wednesday. Most organizations don't normally wear jeans on Wednesdays Fridays, maybe not normally Wednesday. So they want to support us a little extra solo say, so there's a suggested donation will make a bulk donation to and so it is a nice extra way. Because we don't have a lot of opportunities to your do public fundraising due to the discretion of protecting our clients. So we like to try and use that day for that. But if you sign up, we'll send you stickers and for those who can't wear jeans due to their professional restrictions. We've also created Jean ribbons. So we're sending those out to everyone this year. And I love sharing this last year was my first day. I'm day, and I took a lunch break. And while I was getting lunch. I was at a place where you follow account counter your normally pass off to the next person. But this young lady insisted on following me. And she took care of me the whole way through even going as far as the the drink counter. And she finally said, do you think you can help me and she had seen the sticker that I was wearing but like talked about via c and it stuck with me. And I was already motivated, but I talk about that so much because it impacted me that that one person that one day saw my sticker, and she saw that it said that I didn't wanna stand for sexual violence in our community and she asked me for help. And so many people were stickers and jeans day. But like she was able to get the help she needed. So that mattered enough to me? That's that's terrific so denim day. Is April twenty fourth. It's an international advocacy day where do people go online. Victims service, center dot org..

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