‘Crime Survivors’ rise from deadly challenges to demand reform

A close family member sexually assaulted Deborah Ortiz as a child.

Years later, her alcoholic husband beat her in her early thirties.

One day, she awoke in a hospital to her pre-teen boys, confused why their mother had taken enough pills to almost end her life.

At last, she sought change.

“My children were the driving force to get out of my marriage,” she said. “I did not want those kids to become the same kind of man my husband was.”

But nearly two decades later, the Spring Hill woman wonders: Why did no one intervene?

Police responded to domestic abuse calls, but why did no one point her to help so she could heal? she asks.

“No one said, ‘you should talk to someone,’ ” she said. “Had that happened sooner, maybe I wouldn’t (have ended) up in a hospital with my stomach being pumped.”

Ortiz will be one of hundreds of crime survivors descending on Tallahassee to lobby for better support. She’s one of many voices rallied by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice in pursuit of reform.

For Ortiz, trauma remains a part of her past that can’t be erased.

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