Victims Of Sexual Assault Given Phone Sex Number Instead Of Crisis Hotline

A victims' rights pamphlet handed out by Florida deputies unintentionally listed a phone sex line as instead of the proper "24 hour hotline" for domestic and sexual assault victims to call in times of crisis.

"Welcome to America's hottest talk line," the prerecorded message said. "Ladies, to talk to interesting and exciting guys free, press 1 now. Guys, hot ladies are waiting to talk to you."

This has got to be the unluckiest misprint of all time, in addition to being the most unfortunate. I'm sure that message isn't exactly the first thing a recent sexual assault victim wants to hear.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office said it had been printing the incorrect number on pamphlets for years (!) and, until Tuesday, had no idea it was the wrong one — or how wrong it truly was.

"We got a call from a victim we had given a pamphlet to and said that number was not going to [crisis center] the Haven," said Sergeant Jim Vachon. (After this, Vachon presumably checked every single phone number that the sheriff's department hands out to make sure victims of arson weren't being directed to the fire department.)

Even more interesting was the fact that the pamphlet listed an (800) number, when the Haven has always had a local area code. Vachon wasn't sure that this was truly a "clerical error," as has been claimed. How could the mix-up be so bad?

"It disturbs me because I don't want my victims calling that number," said Kelly Smallridge, executive director of the Haven. "If they are in need of help, if they are upset, that is probably the last number they need to call."

A sheriff's office spokesman has assured that all older pamphlets have been destroyed and they are reprinting new ones with the Haven's correct number (which, for the record, is 352-753-5800 for domestic violence or 352-787-1379 for sexual assault).

Luckily, along with pamphlets, assault victims have also provided a victim's advocate who personally ensures that each person gets the help they need. Hopefully this screw-up didn't end up being too damaging. (YEARS, though. Come on, Lake County...)

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Christine Salek

Christine is a writer and perpetual student living in Des Moines, Iowa. Her writing can also be found on Medium, the Gonzaga Bulletin, and ResearchGate.

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