FRANKFORT, Ky. – The statistics are mindboggling: one person in the U.S. murdered every 31 minutes, raped every 1.9 minutes, assaulted every 36.9 seconds.
Gretchen Hunt, director of victims’ advocacy for Attorney General Andy Beshear, rattled off those startling numbers at the Capitol on Wednesday at a gathering of the Kentucky Survivors Council.
Beshear created the group in January to provide advice and to assist the attorney general’s office on matters related to victims of crime. That includes promoting victim-centered services, raising awareness, as well as weighing in on training and policy.
The Survivors Council is made up of people who survived the violent death of a family members, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, gun violence and other violent crimes. The council advises Beshear on ways to improve services to crime victims.
Members of the council took part in a ceremony Wednesday in recognition of Kentucky Victim’s Rights Day. Hunt said crime victims and family members “face each day with strength, resiliency and seek justice for all.”
Beshear, Kentucky’s chief law enforcement officer, said crime victims need to know that police and prosecutors are seeking justice, “and that they are going to work as hard as they can to secure it.”
Beshear said Kentucky has come a long way, but still has a long way to go.
“Until there are no victims left of violent crime, we’ll have to keep working,” he said.
Michelle Kuiper, co-chair of the Survivors Council and a crime victim herself, quoted writer and civil rights advocate Maya Angelou: “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.”
Kuiper added: “We are all here today because we refuse to be reduced by it.”