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Arc of Dreams lit purple, National Victims’ Rights Week highlights local resources

Arc of dreams lit purple for National crime victims' rights week, local resources available
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 9:06 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -For over 40 years, a week has been set aside to highlight the rights available to victims of crime.

Krista Krista Heeren-Graber and the staff at the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault accompany survivors on their journey. Heeren-Graber shares her thoughts on National Victims’ Rights Week.

“So this week is really about ensuring that crime victims have their constitutional rights. And better yet, it’s really important that their voices will be heard, that they are a part of the process, and that we respect that they should be a part of the process because they are now survivors,” said Heeren-Graber.

Once a victim, now an advocate for others, Holly Wethor works one on one with domestic abuse victims.

“So the first thing is I give them the Marcy’s Law card. I explain their rights. I explain the court system process,” said Wethor.

And the Savin system, managed by the Attorney General’s office, can keep victims up to date on the perpetrator.

“They get to know where their abuser is, like if they go in and out of jail or when their court hearings are coming up, or when they get released and they’re to be notified,” said Wethor.

Abuse can feel like a trap.

“People don’t understand how mentally draining it is, how emotionally draining it is and how it’s so hard to crawl out from that hellhole,” said Wethor.

But others who have gone before are ready to help.

“And once you take that step, you’re able to breathe and you get a clear mindset,” said Wethor.

Experts can come alongside a victim to help navigate the journey to freedom and healing.

“You can go to any of the shelters or crisis centers and there would be people there to assist you. We value your voice and we want to help. You have options, even when it feels like you don’t and we can help you become a survivor,” said Heeren-Graber.

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