Victim Advocates Release Florida Rape Report

The national report found one out of every nine women in the state will be raped in her lifetime. Advocates say the numbers show Florida needs to do a better job of helping victims heal.

Nancy Bell will never forget the night 20 years ago when she became one of the victims of the man known as the Hyde Park rapist. He broke into her house in the middle of the night.

“He had apparently stalked me and watched my actions and came into the bedroom with a butcher knife and assaulted me for 20-some minutes,” says Nancy.

Nancy was able to get help through a rape crisis center, but now even 20 years later, there are only limited services available for the more than 700,000 estimated rape victims in Florida, one out of every nine women, according to a national study.

Ron Book's daughter is a rape survivor. He says the shortage of crisis centers is shameful.

"We have one facility to take care of those people for every 18,000 victims. There's something wrong with that," Ron says.

Advocates for rape survivors are asking legislators for four million more dollars a year to expand crisis services.

The governor says he's at least willing to listen.

“Clearly we need to be providing help for battered women and women who have been raped or abused, many of them by people they know, sadly,” says Gov. Bush.

Nancy Bell credits the rape crisis center she went to with helping her come through her ordeal, but she worries about the thousands of other women who might be out there right now feeling they have nowhere to go for help.

If you need someone to talk to about sexual assault, call the toll-free Rape Hotline at 1-888-956-7273.

You can also call that same number to volunteer as an advocate, helping victims going through medical examinations and courts proceedings.

Click here for a list of Florida rape hotlines.


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