Home News Stories 2014 June Operation Cross Country Video: Dani Geissinger-Rodarte

Video: Dani Geissinger-Rodarte

Victim Specialist Dani Geissinger-Rodarte


Transcript:

We don’t enter any victim’s life at a good time, whether it’s a bank robbery or a child exploitation case. We have the ability to come in and help them deal with the impact of the case. We can’t undo what happened. There’s nothing I can do to make that go away and pull it away from their memory and their current situation. What we can do is spend a ton of time giving them good wraparound services, connect them with community providers, helping them reunite with family, and rebuild from where they are. And up and onward. So we can't go back.

Our mandate is make sure victims are informed their rights, to inform them of the status of the case, kept appraised of any public hearing, public aspect of the case, any progress that’s going to be relevant to them, and that their coordinated service options are there for them.

Our job is to meet the victim where they are at. If the victim will accept a sexual assault exam, if she will go for STD testing, for counseling, even clothing. We give them what they are able to receive, and that’s where we have to leave it. When the victim is ready, they need to know that we are there and we’ll give it to them when they are ready.

But as long as they keep in touch with me, I know that somewhere down the road they are going to be ready for services, and we can connect them. And honestly, that’s all we can do, because you can’t want it more than someone else.

A lot of our girls feel like they are stuck. The girls don't always feel like they can go home. Because at 16 years old if you’ve been forced to have sex with a couple hundred people you don't have everything in common with your peers that you did before.

Kids might look at you different. You’re going to go to school. The school counselor says, wow, you’ve been prostituting. And that’s kind of where it stops. It’s awkward for them to re-acclimate into their environment, especially when it wasn’t ideal before but now they’re more ostracized.

So we have to focus more on getting the wraparound services, helping them re-acclimate, and honestly it’s totally worth it. It’s a ton of work and energy. Every kid is worth that.

You can't give up. They’re kids. They can't make good decisions because no one is helping them do that. We can at least connect them to community resources, be there to keep reinforcing and redirecting that. It works.

06.23.14

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Since its creation in 2003, the Innocence Lost National Initiative has resulted in the identification and recovery of approximately 3,600 children who have been sexually exploited. This year’s Operation Cross Country sweep was the eighth.

Resources:
- National press release
- Director’s remarks
- Podcast: Survivor Speaks Out
- Story: 168 Juveniles Rescued in Operation Cross Country VIII
- Previous Cross Country Operations: VII | VI | V | VI | III | II | I
- Violent Crimes Against Children Section
- Innocence Lost National Initiative
- Crimes Against Children Stories
- Office for Victim Assistance



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