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Palm Beach County Victim Services: sexual assault calls doubled

Posted at 8:01 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 20:01:45-04

One by one, employees at Palm Beach County Victim Services lined up outside their office.

"That is what keeps me here. Is that I am helping to effect social change," Sharon Daugherty said.

Daugherty and her staff joined a national movement in support of sexual assault survivors, Monday.

"More people are talking out openly than ever," she said. 

Daugherty says last week alone calls at their office doubled. She says conversations about sexual assault on social media have triggered an increase in reports.

"There's an increase not only in people reporting but also coming to therapy because it is stirring things up," she said. 

Daughtery knows first hand the impacts of not speaking up. She too is a survivor of sexual abuse.

"It was my father," she recalled. "Incest.. from the age of six till I moved out."

That was 30 years ago. Now, she uses her story to help other survivors.

Monica Gonzalez is a licensed therapist who specializes in sexual assault and abuse cases. She says though the conversations about sexual assault can help give survivors courage it can also make some relive their trauma.

"Every time they log onto Facebook, Twitter and Instagram it's another story someone else coming out and it's a constant reminder of the struggle that they are going through," Gonzalez said.

If you are a survivor of sexual assault or abuse you can contact Victim Services SART Center at 561-625-2568. All services at the center including therapy are free for residents of Palm Beach County.