Rape victim Julie Weil launches new charity

Rape victim Julie Weil launches new charity

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Palm Beach County mom whose experienced the darkness of humankind, she was kidnapped, raped and tortured in 2002, is turning her story into a life-changing organization for victims of sexual assault.
Julie Weil is the picture of resilience.

"It's a crime unlike any other," said Julie. "It really hits the most intimate part of your being."

In 2002, the mom of two endured hours of abuse.

"He did things to me that I don't even want to admit to myself today" she told anchor Shannon Cake, during a special report in 2013.

Julie was abducted from her church parking lot, driven deep into the Everglades and repeatedly raped while her children were forced to watch.

Today, Julie's not only dedicated her life to advocacy work, "We care about sexual violence and in this dark hour we want you to be comfortable," said Julie.

She's launching a non-profit called It's Not Just Me Foundation. Click here for more information on how to help.

Julie buys food and items like t-shirts, flip-flops, underwear and drawstring pants for sexual assault victims to change into after enduring a rape exam that often lasts hours.

"The exam is so long and because police impound your clothes and you're not allowed to travel with family members, there's nobody to bring you clothing," recalled Julie. "You're stuck there by yourself wearing a paper gown, underwear, no shoes and it just makes the experience feel even colder."

She drops the items off at the Butterfly House, the county's first sexual assault care center.

Carol Messam-Gordon is a team supervisor at Victims Services of Palm Beach County.

"Whatever donations we get from those items, it's important," said Messam-Gordon. "It's important for victims."

From October 2014 through September this year, 578 women and 56 men in Palm Beach County reported to Victims Services that they were sexually assaulted. Totaling 634 victims. That's just reported cases. Many victims stay silent.

"We're seeing a lot more people reporting and a lot more people knowing there's someone that's going to be available to them at Palm Beach County Victim Services."

Her organization also helps to arrange lectures and self-defense classes.

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