Sexual Assault Awareness Month Highlights
By: Lui Damiani, Executive Director
April, which is globally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, was a very special month at the Victim Service Center of Central Florida!
The month kicked off with City of Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer, and Orange County Mayor, Teresa Jacobs, reading separate proclamations for the City and Orange County respectively, declaring the Month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Both proclamations were presented to the Victim Service Center of Central Florida. On April 6th, the entire City of Orlando was lit in teal including the Lake Eola Fountain, Tower of Light, and Amway Center Spire, the global color for sexual assault awareness.
The entire month was very busy for the VSC team, organizing several events throughout the month, including Cheers to Change, our 2nd Annual Gala. We also partnered with the Osceola County Sexual Assault Response Team and held our first Sexual Assault Awareness Conference in which over 150 individuals traveled from all over the state to attend. On April 29th, Central Florida came together in support of victims of sexual assault by wearing jeans on Denim Day.
Finally, on the morning of April 29, while wearing our jeans in support of Denim day, we received very exciting news. The 43 Days initiative passed the House Civil Justice Subcommittee unanimously (37-0)! The bill which was sponsored by Representative Rene Plasencia and Senator Darren Soto was originally filed to extend Florida’s current statute of limitations for reporting rape from 4 to 10 years. The final adopted version settled on 8 years which is still twice the current statute. It is called the “43 Days Initiative” Act, after Danielle Sullivan, one of our former client and a sexual assault survivor, whose case never got heard after she waited 4 years and 43 days to report what occurred.
We thank you all for participating in Sexual Assault Awareness Month and for supporting our goals to provide crisis intervention, support, and therapy to our Central Florida community. Your support continues to positively impact our community.