Councilwoman Judy Waldman received the Community Leadership Award at the second annual Community Leadership Fashion Show and Luncheon hosted by the American Business Women’s Association Homestead Charter Chapter for her extraordinary commitment to advocating for victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse. It is thanks to advocates like her that survivors are finally stepping out of the shadows after years of silence.
At the event, Councilwoman Waldman spoke about what inspired her to become a champion for survivors. “A few years ago, I met a very brave woman who went through a horrifying experience—being abducted and assaulted multiple times in front of her own children. When she finally escaped, she notified the police and had to be taken from Cutler Bay to Downtown Miami for a forensic exam and then back home during rush hour traffic. She described the sense of isolation she felt sitting in that police car away from her family with the abduction playing over and over in her head and I knew I had to do something. No woman who has survived such an excruciating experience should have to go through more pain and suffering just to get the help she needs.”
Thanks in part to the efforts of Councilwoman Waldman, a Rape Treatment Center was opened last year at Homestead Hospital. The center administers immediate medical care and counseling services. Nurses in the facility received specialized training to perform forensic exams on sexually assaulted victims to aid in the reduction of their stress levels and to possibly provide expert testimony in trial cases. Now, victims of sexual assault in South Dade no longer have to travel to Downtown Miami to receive forensic exams or support services.
Councilwoman Waldman was also recognized at the Luncheon for her other community work with Little Angels and Judy’s Closet. The Community Leadership recipients are from as far north as Palmetto Bay to as far south as the Keys. Applications are submitted by various individuals or groups within the communities and are then reviewed by a panel of judges who have no connections to the individuals nominated.