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Preparing for Public Speaking

dharmaBum

Sponsor
Hello hello!

I am a CPTSD survivor who struggles with symptom relapse periodically, especially due to stressors from the criminal element of one of my abusers. I have diary/etc. tons of posts from when I first joined the forum in 2009.

TODAY- I am here to share that I am preparing to testify to our state senate at the end of the month regarding not letting sexual assault offenders petition for early release under a newly proposed bill to improve equity in sentencing for marginalized offender communities.

There's a bunch of details, specifics... The bill has been bouncing around for a while. I'm not prepared to debate the merits of the bill. Just hoped to share what I will be saying. I'm in need of some positive feedback as I just hit send to the advocacy group who requested I speak and I have no idea how my statement will be received or when they will respond.

STATEMENT (it can only be 3 minutes long) vv

Thank you Senator XXX and members of the Senate Law and Justice committee for the opportunity to speak with you today and for your willingness to hear from me while protecting my identity.

In college I wrote against the proposed construction of a prison in my new home town I'd found since leaving [Big City] after surviving half a decade of child sexual abuse at the hands of a neighbor, who had multiple other uncharged victims, and enduring a treacherous and traumatizing criminal justice experience with little victim focus. It is still my home and for 10 years now his too: incarcerated at just that prison for raping a 7 year old child in the same house where he victimized me for years.

I opposed the new prison because punitive incarceration lacks opportunities for rehabilitation and redemption. Disparately incarcerated people, especially, deserve a chance to contribute meaningfully after atoning for their mistakes.

But no one mistakenly rapes a child.

And it is not an injury a victim can brush off.

The suffering caused by his repeated violation of not just my body, but will and agency, created a condition of overwhelming fear for which death itself truly seemed the only relief.

As a teenager, I felt no relief even after the rapist had two felonies on his record and became a Level 1 sex offender: I saw him playing catch alone with kids on our street. I felt no relief after moving out of his sight as for years regular nightmares reminded me that he was a continual danger to children. I felt ultimate desperation when I learned that he had raped another child and I was called to testify as a prior-victim witness.

Briefly, there was a moment of freedom, when the trial verdict came back guilty and the sentence: 18 years-to-life, followed by indeterminate review. But his appeal began immediately and my job became to "not worry about it."

Ultimately, he was re-sentenced to 24 years. But the breathing room instantly shrank due to a 33% Earned Release Date Credit. And then it drew back a bit more with the potential for work release approval right where I live.

This is the broken system that we already have.

As currently written, [This Bill] convolutes this uncertain end further by allowing, in all cases except aggravated murder, the offender themselves to appeal the length of their sentence.

Should that be true in cases where sexual assault results in a victim's lifetime sentence of Post Traumatic Stress Injury? Should conduct while in prison outweigh the gravity of the crime? Must sexual assault victims continually live with the specter of breaking open old wounds in order to respond to an offender’s petition for early release?

We must not heap more wrongs upon innocent sexual assault survivors who deserve to be free of their perpetrators rather than have their suffering minimized by reducing sentences for offenders who’ve grown older and feel transformed.

As a survivor who has never been made whole by the justice system or my perpetrator, I would like to petition for an early release from the anxiety, dissociation, and immobilizing fear that mark my day-to-day. I’ve served far longer than 10 years in this condition, and I’ve contributed much to my community.

Please do not allow sexual assault offenders the ability to petition under this bill. These crimes generate ongoing hardship for their victims which would be exacerbated by placing the agency for early release into the hands of offenders who did so much more than “make mistakes.”

Thank you again for your time today.
 
Engaging in this process had been triggering for sure, and I was already in a state of PTSD struggle which is how I got on the radar of the advocacy group in the first place. If you struggle with ongoing stressors/triggers, I encourage you to search and search until you find advocates who really understand what you are going through without you having to explain it to or convince anyone. It has been a long difficulty journey of that for me, with many dismissive and denying folks along the way who are paid to support people in exactly my circumstance. Maybe the same is true for you.

I had to revise my remarks a bit for time & style. Also I use way too many syllables to read quickly out loud 🤓. I've hardly spoken to anyone out loud about any of these things. But I have journaled/forumed about them a fair amount.

Revised statement below. I could definitely use smart-cat-goes-to-college or other goofball gif-reacts today. The revision is resent. The moments between sending and receiving reply are the hardest. I have one person in my day-to-day life I talk about this with my voice, and they are at work.

STATEMENT vv

Thank you Senator xxx and members of the Senate Law and Justice committee for the opportunity to speak with you today and for your willingness to hear from me while protecting my identity.

In college, I wrote against the construction of a prison in my new home town I'd found since leaving [Big City]. After surviving half a decade of child sexual abuse and rape at the hands of a neighbor, a person who had multiple other uncharged victims, and enduring a treacherous criminal justice experience with little victim focus, I had moved to be free of reminders of the lengthy trauma.

It is still my home.

And for 10 years now, it has been his home too: because he is incarcerated at just that prison for raping a 7 year old child in the same house where he victimized me for years.

I opposed the new prison because punishment does not rehabilitate or redeem. Disparately incarcerated people, especially, deserve a chance to contribute after atoning for their mistakes.

But no one mistakenly rapes a child.

And it is not an injury a victim can brush off.

The suffering caused by his repeated violation of my body and will created an overwhelming fear of him, for which death itself truly seemed the only relief.

As a teen, I felt no relief even after the rapist had two felonies on his record and became a Level 1 sex offender: He played catch alone with kids on our street. I felt no relief after moving out of his sight as for years regular nightmares reminded me that he was a continual danger to children. I despaired when I learned that he had raped another child and I was called to testify as a prior-victim witness.

Briefly, there was a glimpse of freedom, when the verdict came back guilty and the sentence: 18 years-to-life, followed by indeterminate review. But his appeal began immediately and my job was to "not worry about it."

Finally, he was re-sentenced to 24 years, allowing me to breathe again. But the breathing room instantly shrank due to Earned Release Credit and became smaller still with the potential for work release right where I live.
This is the broken system that we already have.

As currently written, HB 2001 convolutes this uncertain end more by allowing, in all cases except aggravated murder, the offender themselves to appeal the length of their sentence.

Is this fair in cases where sexual assault results in a victim’s lifelong Post Traumatic Stress Injury? Should conduct while in prison outweigh the gravity of the crime? Must sexual assault victims live with the threat of breaking open old wounds in order to respond to an offender’s petition for early release?

We must not heap more wrongs upon innocent survivors who deserve to be free of their perpetrators rather than have their suffering minimized through reduced sentences for offenders who’ve grown older and feel transformed.

Please do not allow sexual assault offenders to petition under this bill. These crimes cause ongoing hardship for their victims which would be worsened by placing the agency for early release into the hands of offenders who do so much more than “make mistakes.”

As a survivor who has never been made whole by the justice system or my perpetrator, I would like to petition for an early release from the anxiety, dissociation, and immobilizing fear that mark my day-to-day. I’ve served far longer than 10 years in this condition, and I’ve contributed much to my community.
cleardot.gif

Thank you again for your time today.
 
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