Victims speak out against abuse
April 29, 2010 at 10 p.m.
Updated April 28, 2010 at 11:29 p.m.
Hope of South Texas Award recipients
Child Protective ServicesLydia Hobbs
Victoria Police DepartmentChief Bruce Ure
Det. John Swenson
Det. Daniel Boots
Lt. Michael Beyer Juvenile unit
Yoakum PoliceCollin Lee Campbell
District AttorneyStephen Tyler
Assistant Criminal AttorneyJohana Stellings
Hope of South TexasBrenda Walterdorff, administrative assistant
Leticia Lechuga, crisis interventionist
Laura Kinnison, crisis interventionist
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
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.
TIME: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
WHERE: Victory Christian Life Center, 1607 E. Crestwood, Victoria
Hotline for abuse victims or volunteers
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.