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#MeToo Founder visits Palm Beach County amidst human-trafficking investigations inside local spas

Posted at 7:01 PM, Feb 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 18:23:01-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A silence breaker. One of Time Magazine’s people of the year in 2017.

Tarana Burke shared her story with hundreds at the 12th Annual Heart of a Woman event in Boca Raton. The luncheon was held to raise money for Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, a local shelter otherwise known as AVDA.

“I’m asking for us to work together. I’m asking for us to heal together. If you all are ready to do that work, I leave you with two words: me too,” Burke said during her speech, to a standing ovation.

Burke talked about healing from sexual violence, not just at an individual level, but as a community.

“We cannot just banish people from the community and think that the problem is going to end,” Burke told Contact 5’s Merris Badcock. “Community healing means we have to come together to come up with solutions.”

Solutions include changing corporate policies and laws.

Recently, Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast found themselves at the center of national spotlight, when law enforcement began investigating local spas for possibly trafficking young women.

However, the arrest of prominent ‘johns’ in the case brought on national media attention, not the investigation itself. For that, Burke had a warning for our community.

“When we look at the individual alone we ignore the sites that are in place that allow them to do these things, and we ignore the systemic problems,” Burke said. “It is dangerous to just focus on individuals. When we get caught up in these singular people, these big names that get a lot of media attention, then we lose focus on all the other things around them.

“If you only look at the big CEOs, then you are not looking at the coach, or the priest, or the father, or the mother, or the teacher.”

If you or someone you know needs help getting out of a violent relationship, click here to visit AVDA’s website. They help women come up with escape plans for getting out of abusive relationships and shelter women, children and pets when they have nowhere to go.