Advocating for local sexual assault victims

Advocating for local sexual assault victims

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Julie Weil wrote a message of hope on a flag, then placed it in the ground. Her's is one of hundreds of messages from sexual assault survivors. It's been a long road for Julie, since her life changed 12 years ago.

"It happened in Miami Dade County and my two children and I were abducted from our church by a stranger and I was driven out of the Everglades and raped multiple times," Julie said.

Julie told NewsChannel 5 the man responsible is now in prison, where he'll spend the rest of his life. She spends her life now as an advocate for others.

This month is a call to action to speak out.

"In 2016 about 668 people reported instances of sexual violence here in our county, so it's happening, we are not living in a bubble. this is happening in all of our neighborhoods in our county," she added.

Those who need help, can go the Butterfly House in Wellington for support.

"We have a sexual assault response team that works closely with law enforcement and the State Attorney's Office to make sure victims have a voice to make sure that cases are prosecuted to make sure the kits are tested," Carol Messam-Gordon with Palm Beach County Victim Services said.

"Sexual violence is one of the hardest things to heal from, because it violates the most inmate part of who you are. I guess the message we want to get out there is to start by believing," Juie added.

Healing Through The Arts will take place Friday, April 7, from 4:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m., at CityPlace in West Palm Beach

For more information, call Palm Beach County Victim Services at 561-625-2526.

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