Homestead Councilwoman Judy Waldman stopped mid-sentence, her voice breaking, as she struggled to get back to the story she was reading.
“She trusted me to tell her story today,” Waldman read. “It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, your nationality, your gender, this can happen to anyone.”
Waldman publicly shared her story of rape for the first time at the annual M.U.J.E.R. luncheon on Oct. 28 at the Women’s Club of Homestead, as members celebrated launching the Rape Crisis 24/7 Helpline and the Sexual Assault Response Team, a team of 17 nurses trained to be first responders at Homestead Hospital.
But while she spoke in the third person, Waldman made clear she was describing her own experience. She said the legal system she relied on 30 years ago at the time of her abuse let her down, but was hopeful that M.U.J.E.R.’s partnership with Homestead Hospital would help other victims feel like they were not alone.
“This is the first and only rape treatment center south of Jackson Memorial,” said Waldman, who hopes having the center in Homestead will encourage victims to seek help.
M.U.J.E.R., a nonprofit organization helping the South Dade community with issues of domestic and sexual abuse since 1997, wanted to