Victims speak out against abuse

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Cathy Miles reads a poem titled "Letting Go" that she wrote to help her cope with the sexual assault of a family member. Hope of South Texas sponsored Take Back the Night on Thursday at Victoria Mall.
  • Hope of South Texas Award recipients

    Child Protective ServicesLydia Hobbs

    Chrissy Wagner

    Victoria Police DepartmentChief Bruce Ure

    Hillary Logsdon

    Det. John Swenson

    Det. Daniel Boots

    Lt. Michael Beyer Juvenile unit

    Yoakum PoliceCollin Lee Campbell

    District ...

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  • Hope of South Texas Award recipients

    Child Protective ServicesLydia Hobbs

    Chrissy Wagner

    Victoria Police DepartmentChief Bruce Ure

    Hillary Logsdon

    Det. John Swenson

    Det. Daniel Boots

    Lt. Michael Beyer Juvenile unit

    Yoakum PoliceCollin Lee Campbell

    District AttorneyStephen Tyler

    Assistant Criminal AttorneyJohana Stellings

    Eli Garza

    Brian Hroch

    Arnold Haydan

    Hope of South TexasBrenda Walterdorff, administrative assistant

    Leticia Lechuga, crisis interventionist

    Laura Kinnison, crisis interventionist

    Robyn Heller

    Julie Flessner, executive director

    Cynthia Ramirez, forensic interviewer

    Bailey Brevning, forensic interviewer

    Jennifer Kelley, victim liaison

    Sara Palacios, victim assistant coordinator

    Also honored, but not present:

    Child Protective ServicesGlenn Mutchler, investigator

    Cassey Whitfield, investigator

    Nikki Nagel, investigator

    Kelli Wimberly, investigator

    Jarlene Ross, supervisor

    Sexual assault nurse examinersEster Trevino

    Jennifer Mumphord

    Leslie Kallys

    Victoria County Sheriff's OfficeSheriff T. Michael O'Connor

    Det. Jeffery Hobbs

    Det. David Ruiz

    Investigator Chris Barker

    Investigator Angie Martinez

    Assistant Criminal AttorneyVanessa Heinold

    The Heart Gallery

    The Heart Gallery of San Antonio, friends Bexar County Child Welfare Board, supports and provides photos of abused children who need adoption.

    They are having an event in Victoria.

    WHEN: Friday

    TIME: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    WHERE: Victory Christian Life Center, 1607 E. Crestwood, Victoria

    Hotline for abuse victims or volunteers

    LOCAL: 361-573-3600

    TOLL FREE: 1-800-365-7345

Cathy Miles decided she was no longer going to be a victim.

Miles, whose family member was a victim of sexual abuse, decided to speak out during the third annual Take Back the Night program on Thursday. The program was designed to bring awareness to sexual assault, sexual abuse and domestic abuse.

"The hardest part was trying to let go of it all," said Miles, who recited her own poem, "Letting Go."

The program was held to commemorate the end of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, said Julie Flessner, executive director of Hope of South Texas.

Held internationally, the event marks a movement begun 30 years ago where women decided to stand up and speak out against sexual violence, said Lt.Ralph Buentello of the Victoria Police Department.

"It was freeing," said Miles, after addressing the crowd of about 75 people.

She said that when her family member was assaulted, the family also became victims.

"It's a process what these victims go through," said Cynthia Ramirez, forensic interviewer for the Hope of South Texas.

An emphasis during the event was placed on the victims and officials who help.

"It's important that we recognize domestic violence because it affects our children," said Kindrea Briseno, investigator for the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Dana Kemper, a victim of sexual abuse, also addressed the crowd at Victoria Mall.

"I'm no longer a victim of it," said Kemper.

Flessner said she hopes this may encourage other victims to come forth.

"Sexual violence lives and breathes in darkness," said Jackie Patek, volunteer of Hope of South Texas.

Miles agreed with Patek and hopes that her speaking about her experience will help others.

"It's hard sharing your life, but if it can help anyone to free them," then it is worthwhile, said Miles, her voice trailing off.



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