Crime Victims Rights Week celebrated at Calipatria State Prison

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Calipatria – A ceremony dedicated to victim survivors was held at Calipatria State Prison Friday morning.

This event was held in honor of national Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

The theme for this year is strength, resilience and justice, and earlier today our news team spoke to one young lady who shared her story of domestic violence survival along with various advocates who encourage victims to reach out and speak up.

“When you look at me, I want you to see a survivor and the hope of a bright future. Domestic violence is a part of my family’s story and a part of my story, but it isn’t my destiny,” said Anneke Benedictus, child survivor of domestic violence.”

Anneke, a senior at Imperial High School shared her story along with other leaders who say it’s important that people are aware that there is help.

“There is a lot of resources and there is a lot of violence, not only domestic violence but violence against children and we’re trying to reach the schools and it’s important for the community to know where they can go so they can the help, and there is a lot of places that are nonprofit that do not charge,” said Margaret Sauza, Executive Director at Sure Helpline Crisis Center.

A new coalition is in the works, we learned of the development of a new effort to help heal victims.

“We are partnering with other agencies to create a crime victims coalition. We have the same focus and the same goal to heal victims of crime and so now April 12th, we will be hosting all together as a coalition a remembrance vigil at the El Centro Police Department at 6 o’clock and we urge the community to be there to support these agencies this coalition that is newly formed because you never know when you will become a victim,” said Yulil Alonso-Garza, Founder & President of Mothers and Men Against Gangs Coalition.

“I share my story and each time I get stronger and stronger and I cry less and less, so it’s very important for victims to be able to do this and it’s something you definitely have to work up to. It’s one way for victims to heal and to prove to themselves that they are strong enough to overcome,” added Benedictus.

The Crime Victims Coalition event is April 12th, for more information you can head to https://www.facebook.com/MAGCoalition/.