The Victim Service Center of Central Florida has been bombarded with calls from sexual assault victims for weeks.
While the summer is usually a busy time for the victim service center, this year has proven to be one of their most active.
“It’s a huge spike a huge increase. It’s definitely something our team is taking into consideration as we head into the 4th of July weekend,” said Shelley Rodgers with the Victim Service Center of Central Florida.
The majority of the recent victims are 18 to 24 years old. Often the victims know their attacker, according to the Service Center.
Danielle Sullivan, who has worked at the Service Center, said she knew her rapist. Sullivan said knowing him made it difficult for her to step forward at first.
“The first thing you want to do is take the blame away, especially if it’s someone you know and someone you trusted because you don’t want to doubt yourself and your judgment,” she said.
By the time Sullivan decided to step forward, it was too late. The statute of limitations for sexual assault victims expired.
“I just kept thinking, why can’t they make an exception? There has to be an exception somewhere…I was devastated,” she said.
Since then, Sullivan has spent time researching how to improve the statute of limitations. Over the last year, she has worked with state legislators to create a new law that would extend the statute from four to eight years.
Starting this week, sexual assault victims in Florida now have eight years to report a sexual assault.
“The statute of limitation should really be wider because no one should have a ticking time bomb over their head,” Sullivan said.
While she fights for zero limitations, victims’ advocates at the Victim Service Center want people to stay safe and know that their advocates are there 24-7.
The Victim Service Center Hotline is 407- 497-6701. You can also reach them on their website.
For more information about Danielle Sullivan’s life and story you can visit her site.