CALIPATRIA, Calif.- Local community members, prison staff and officials gathered at the annual National Victims Right’s ceremony to honor individuals who have been victimized. Calipatria State Prison along with the Center for Family Solutions invite a victim of crime to share their testimony.
Rachel Woelke is a victim survivor of domestic violence. Woelke was brutally beaten by her boyfriend in front of her two young daughters. Woelke shared her story publicly for the first time at this years ceremony, she says she is glad to have been given the opportunity.
“You need to speak out about these things, you need to be aware of them, people are suffering in silence because they are ashamed of these things and they need to have support, to know that it’s ok” said Woelke.
Woelke says she is thankful for all the programs the Imperial Valley offers for individuals affected by violence.“I’m hoping that people are more aware of them so that they know that they don’t have to be quiet. That these things are wrong and that there are people here to help them get through the experience that they went through and survive and thrive.”
Claudia Macias event organizer says, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has honored the National Crime Victims Right’s Awareness week for the past 30 years. She says it is a great way to inform members of the community as well as prison staff the importance of working together.
“To stop them from committing crime to show them the effects of what one act can do and affect the lives of so many others” said Macias.
Belinda Hedrick, Calipatria State Prison Chief Deputy Warden says the impact is not only for the victim, but everyone else.
“The people that we interact with, it affects their lives and we need to remember that so when we’re out in the community and we see things happening we need to remember to assist others.”