Advocates raise awareness for crime victims’ rights

Apr 25, 2022, 7:56 AM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 1:55 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week — a time to honor victims of crimes, survivors and those who advocate on their behalf.

The Utah Office for Victims of Crimes gathered at the Utah Capitol on Sunday to raise awareness for victims’ rights and to show families whose lives have been changed by crime that they care.

This year’s theme is rights, access and equity for all victims.

Advocates say it’s never too late to speak your truth, and that’s what this week is all about to utilize these resources – you could be helping others who could potentially be victims.

Aniva Lao says she spent most of her life living with the shame of being sexually abused as a child by a close family member.

“I had family members that I went to for help and I just don’t think that they were in the healing space to do so,” Lao said.

She coped with the trauma with alcohol and food.

Therapy and exercise were her saving grace. Today, she is working toward a degree to become a therapist and she is a fitness instructor.

Her life mission is to help others come out of the dark and own their truth.

“Yes, it was a horrific thing to go through and it was a really hard path to walk through,” Lao said. “But I’m so grateful for it and I wouldn’t change it because it now allows me to truly serve in my purpose and be able to help people find themselves.”

One way you can show your support for victims of crime is by placing a blue light and lawn sign or poster on your porch or lawn.

Details on this week’s events can be found here.

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Advocates raise awareness for crime victims’ rights