Local group is collecting messages of encouragement for 11-year-old girl

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- One local organization is making it their mission to make sure every survivor of sexual assault feels heard and supported.

This is the book that Survivor Strong will fill with messages of encouragement for the 11-year old girl to take with her to court.

The organization, Survivor Strong, does this in a variety of ways, but in this particular instance, they are doing it by collecting messages for one girl.

Survivor Strong was founded in May with the goal to support survivors of sexual assault through advocacy and education. The organization didn't hesitate when someone reached out on behalf of an 11-year-old girl in need of support.

"We wanted to make sure that no victim feels that they are left out or that they have to go through this process alone," Amanda Smith of Survivor Strong said.

"Dear you," "to the brave little warrior," "my dear sister" - are how some of the letters are addressed to the 11-year-old girl.

Anyone can write a letter, as long as it's supportive.

"We want to make sure that they are encouraging, they are supportive and that they really just make this person feel loved. When I went through it, I know it really helped to hear that there were other people supporting you, because sometimes you feel like you are on an island."

They're trying to collect as many letters as possible to fill this book so she can take it with her to court.

The writers commend the girl's strength, telling her that her pain matters and that she is loved.

But perhaps the most important message is a simple phrase: "I believe in you."

"Being a survivor of sexual assault in our culture can be very stigmatizing, people make you feel like you can't talk about it," Domenica DallaVecchia of Survivor Strong said. "You might not even have the words to describe what's happening to you, knowing that there's community support and that people do believe you...is so helpful," she added.

So far, Survivor Strong has gotten seven letters.

The group is accepting them through Friday (July 12) so you still have time to send one.

To send a letter, email it to info@survivor-strong.org.

To learn more about Survivor Strong, click here.

If you or a loved one was assaulted, or needs help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline 24 hours a day at 1-800-656-4673.

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