Family Crisis Center lends a voice for sexual assault victims in East Texas

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Each year hundreds of thousands of people fall victim to sexual assault.  Many of which do not report the crime.

The Family Crisis Center of East Texas Tuesday honored the 202 victims they assisted in 2011.  And, to raise awareness of the problem, they gave away 202 potted plants to symbolize each of the cases reported last year.

It is a powerful reminder from the Family Crisis Center.  "The purpose is just to create awareness within the community of what our agency does and how we can help victims of sexual assault," said Heather Kartye, Executive Director, Family Crisis Center.

According to the Center, someone becomes a victim every two minutes in the U. S.

"In the state of Texas, in 2010, about 19 thousand victims came forward," Michelle Miller, Program Director, Family Crisis Center.

Sexual assault nurse examiner Janie Lee says the number of children reporting abuse is most saddening.

"The children, it's quite alarming because sometimes the numbers are quite high," said Lee, SANE Nurse, Woodland Heights Hospital.

Every year, Lee examines 75 to 100 patients for physical signs of abuse.  She works as a liaison, making sure the crime is reported and the victim is safe.  "They can talk to us, and we can get a medical history and get the information that they need to give to the police without them being directly involved with them. And, we can offer them comfort measures."

Still, 6 out of every 10 victims keep the pain a secret, never telling anyone.  "But, it is important that they heal from that assault, and they go through that healing process. So, it's important that they know that someone is supporting them through that process regardless of whether they report the assault or not," said Michelle Miller, Program Director, Family Crisis Center.

Of the 202 assaults that were reported in 2010, 59 victims came from Angelina County and 32 came from Nacogdoches County.

Just like the plants, experts say with a little care victims can continue to grow in life.

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