Crime victims share stories at Merced ceremony

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Crime victims were honored and remembered in Merced on Thursday during a victims' rights ceremony. (KFSN)

Crime victims were honored and remembered in Merced on Thursday during a victims' rights ceremony. It was part of Victims' Rights Week and was organized by the Merced County Victims' Witness Program.

JoAnn Buttaro was one of Thursday's guest speakers. Buttaro was date raped after a match.com date in Philadelphia 11 years ago. About a year after her attack, she stood by her attacker's other victims as they told their stories in court.

"Tell someone you trust; it doesn't matter if it's a friend or family member. You can call hotlines, rape crisis hotlines, seek counseling, because if you do nothing else, that will help you move forward in life and get past it," said Buttaro.

She now lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and travels as part of "JoAnn Speaks Out."

The theme of Thursday's event was "Engaging the Community, Empowering Victims."

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