How You Can Help Pass A Survivors’ Bill Of Rights In Florida 

I’ll never forget the day I walked into the police station to give my first statement after my rape.  I was terrified as I entered and had all eyes on me, police asking hundreds of questions and doubting me, and feeling so alone. 

This was just the beginning. And each time I had to give another statement or answer more questions, the more overwhelming and terrifying it became. All these strangers knew so many graphic details of the worst days of my life.

I thought my life would just magically go back to normal once I told the police. But I quickly learned that that wasn’t the case. This is something I would live with forever. 

I had to learn how to fight for myself more than ever before, as I had to go through a broken and confusing justice system. That is a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone. 

Many times, a survivor of sexual assault is left to navigate a broken system and they are not guaranteed basic civil rights. For example, their name and personal information may not be protected, they aren’t guaranteed a victim advocate, they aren’t receiving information or updates on their case, or worst of all, their forensic evidence such as rape kits are thrown away before being processed, meaning the survivor never receives proper justice. 

There are so many of these rights that I wish I had. I truly believe that if I had them, coming forward would’ve been less terrifying and lonely. When the press released the news about my abuser’s charges and arrest, they never posted my name, as I was a minor. But the details they shared with the public about me gave it away, and it quickly identified me. 

At that time, everything was still so raw. I was in a very low place and embarrassed about what had happened to me.  The release of those details and others finding out made me feel like my whole world was crashing down. I would then endure months bullying and people doubting me and making jokes about being identified. 

Another major right I wish I had would be a victim advocate. I can’t even estimate the number of statements I had to give or write. I was constantly having to share every detail of what happened and felt so alone. All these people constantly surrounded me, but they never offered a victim advocate or even knew what that was at the time to ask for one. 

I believe if I had the right to an advocate, I would have felt less alone and would’ve had a safe person on my side. 

I am working on helping to pass The Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights Act in Florida (HB 1253) with my team at We have worked hard together, have shared our stories, our frustrations, our tears, and have fought so hard to create the best bill possible for survivors here in Florida. 

In Florida alone, there are 5.8 million survivors of sexual assault and many others that have never shared their abuse.

By passing this bill in Florida, it will guarantee survivors of sexual assault a comprehensive common sense of civil rights. Some key rights in this bill include making sure the survivor is protected when coming forward, they receive updates on their case, and they have the right to consult with a sexual assault survivor advocate, along with many others that would allow a survivor to begin moving forward and allow the healing process to start. 

As a survivor of sexual assault, I didn’t have many of the rights this bill offers and had to learn to navigate a broken criminal justice system alone and scared. This left me feeling like I needed to change this not only for myself, but for other survivors. And working to help pass this bill is doing exactly that. 

Florida’s legislative session began on March 7 and will run for a few months. The Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights has been assigned to committees in both the house and senate, who will hear and vote on it during this session. 

You can find more information and updates on the bills here. It’s so important that this bill makes it across the finish line this session for survivors. 

We created a petition to help draw attention to the bill. You can help support survivors of sexual assault and help get this bill passed by signing! A survivor of sexual assault endures so much pain, but this bill will help in so many ways and needs to be passed immediately.

Photo by Morvanic Lee on Unsplash


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