Jax mayor, sheriff, state attorney all to speak out at rally against sexual violence

rape kit

On the heels of a new Florida law requiring speedier testing of rape kits, advocates in North Florida are speaking out about the high rate of sexual assault in the region.

A Community Speak Out is set for Tuesday morning at Jacksonville City Hall, featuring representatives from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office,  State Attorney’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Women’s Center of Jacksonville’s Rape Recovery Team, and other community service agencies, along with survivors.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Sheriff Mike Williams and State Attorney Angela Corey are all scheduled to discuss collaborative efforts to process untested sexual assault kits through the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI).

Jennifer Dritt, executive director of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, will discuss the statewide impact of the SAKI project because the 4th Judicial Circuit is the only one in Florida selected for funding.

It’s timely. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, with the goal of raising public awareness about sexual violence and educating communities and individuals on how to prevent it.

Corey’s recent announcement of the grant her office had received to test the rape kits had been a campaign issue for her opponent, Wes White.

Melissa Ross

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at [email protected]


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