Almost 200 advocates from around the state gathered in Sarasota today for the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV) 2012 Awards Luncheon to honor our collective work to heal sexual trauma and end sexual violence. Jennifer Dritt opened the event saying:
“Each of your faces inspires me, knowing that together we can reach every survivor, and filling me with hope that one day no child, no woman, no man, no family, no community will be terrorized by sexual violence. You work long hours every day listening to people’s pain for a small paycheck—and we know that’s not why you do this work. You do this work because you are passionate about changing our world and know that your presence, your ability to listen and hold someone’s trauma, is life- and world-changing work. You deserve an award today and every day, and we are deeply grateful for the gift of each and every one of you.”
Ms. Dritt presented awards to several individuals who exemplify this dedication to supporting survivors and ending sexual violence.
Ms. Julie Weil received the 2012 Survivor Activist Award for her tremendous commitment to improving responses to victims of sexual assault. Ms. Weil experienced every mother’s worst nightmare in 2002 but has gone on to be an inspiration to all, speaking in front of the U.S. Senate on the need to improve the criminal justice response to sexual assault, representing survivors on the Florida Sexual Assault Response Team Advisory Committee, and lending a survivor’s experience to trainings across the state. “Julie has repeatedly answered our call for assistance and perspective, and her courage amazes us,” said Dritt. “It is such an amazing honor to receive the “Survivor Activist Award” from the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. Ms. Weil said, “I am happy that the trainings I have been able to do with SANE nurses, law enforcement and the State Attorney’s offices around the state have made a difference for survivors here in Florida. For me, it is empowering to see that my personal experience as a survivor can have a positive effect on the lives of others. It gives a purpose to all of the pain. I am so excited about all of the progress being made by the FCASV to improve care for sexual assault survivors and I applaud their victim-centered approach. This organization’s impact is immeasurable!”
Sandy Reynolds received the 2012 Outstanding Advocate Award for her 35 years of commitment to the Palm Beach County Victim Services Program as an advocate and mentor. “Sandy has stood steadfast with survivors in every possible scenario. She has done great things, and even the smallest things with great love, and we have all learned a lot from her,” Dritt said.
Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Wellington) received FCASV’s highest award for service on behalf of sexual assault survivors—the Warrior for Women Award—for her work to create Butterfly House, a comprehensive service rape treatment center in Palm Beach County and championing major legislation to combat sexual violence including passage of relocation assistance for victims of sexual assault. Dritt commented, “A survivor herself, Sen. Benacquisto has stood with FCASV at every turn as a tireless advocate for justice.”
Senator Joe Negron (R-Palm City) and Representative Chris Dorworth (R-Heathrow) received Outstanding Legislator Awards. Senator Negron prioritized funding for sexual assault programs this year adding $1.5 million in funding to his budget to decrease waiting lists for counseling. Rep. Dorworth sponsored omnibus legislation to reach the most vulnerable victims of sexual violence.
Contact: Jennifer Dritt, firstname.lastname@example.orgTweet