Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibility Advocates urge victims to come forward: 'We’re here to help' | WPEC
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Advocates urge victims to come forward: 'We’re here to help'

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Wednesday morning, a corrections deputy with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office was arrested for two counts of sexual battery on a child.

A 13-year-old girl said 38-year-old Wisben Sanon raped her, twice on back to back days in May 2017.

Police said since the victim came forward within in 48 hours of the incidents, they were able to find evidence of Sanon’s DNA on her clothing. However, that doesn’t always happen.

In this case, Detective Kristin Meyer with the Port St. Lucie Police Department said fear brought the teen forward.

Julie Stoyka, the Sexual Assistance Program Manager for the Treasure Coast, said usually fear keeps victims from coming forward.

“Fear of the unknown. They're not sure what will happen. They're not sure if people will believe them or maybe they've never said those kinds of things out loud,” said Stoyka. She continued, “We believe you. We wanna help.”

To help, victims need to first come forward.

“We absolutely want them to come forward and talk to us and if they don't want, if they decide that's part of giving the power back to them,” said Stoyka. She continued, “when they've had their power taken away basically by being victimized and then we want them to regain that power or feel like they're making their decisions. That's why we give choices and we don't tell them what they should be doing.”

She said some people wait years before coming forward.

“They’ve recognized that that has followed them they're whole entire life and they need help,” said Stoyka.

The whole goal of the Sexual Assault Assistance Program is to help victims.

“We provide for the victim whatever the victim needs,” said Barbara Faulkner. Faulkner is the Director or Victims Services for the 19th Judicial Circuit and for the Sexual Assault Assistance Program of the Treasure Coast. She continued, “we’re here to help.”

She said their advocates help victims throughout the entire process.

“The advocate you see at the hospital and that you see at the police department is going to be the same advocate that's going to be with you all the way through your court case and they will be with you beyond that as long as you need them,” said Faulkner.

These women stressed victims don’t have to press charges or go to police to get therapy, counseling or whatever the victim needs.

If you need help, call their hotline number 1-866-828-7273 or 1-866-828-RAPE.

They have an office in Indian River County, Martin County, St. Lucie County and Okeechobee County.

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You can also visit their website by clicking here.

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