Sharing Stories at the State Fair
When you have a booth at an event like the Kentucky State Fair, visitors learning about Marsy’s Law for the first time or those who are stopping by as long-time supporters often bravely share stories of their own victimization.
Take, for instance, the young woman who disclosed she had been severely abused by her father as a child. The abuse resulted in a divorce between her parents, but never resulted in charges or a conviction. She revealed that, although she was an innocent child when the abuse occurred, she still struggles with shame and believes that if she had felt heard by the justice system – under the protections provided by Marsy’s Law – her healing may have come more quickly.
Or the woman who suffered severe domestic abuse by her ex-husband. He was ultimately arrested, charged, and found guilty. She was not kept involved in the case or notified of hearings. Although the abuse occurred many years ago, she still has flashbacks and finds herself looking over her shoulder – particularly because she’s terrified that he will be released and make good on his threats to find and kill her and that she won’t be notified of his release, just as she wasn’t notified of case events.
These are just a couple examples of the stories fellow Kentuckians have shared with us. Some are heartbreaking and tragic, while others are stories of strength and healing. Each one is as different as the makeup of that person. However, the one thread of commonality that seems to run through them all is the desire and need to FEEL informed and heard.
As one very articulate man – a victim of robbery – explained…”No one expects or deserves to become a crime victim. And when you do, you are made to feel vulnerable and powerless. Then the justice system can make you feel this way all over again if you aren’t treated with respect or kept informed.” Re-victimization is never the intent of our justice system or the many dedicated and hard-working Kentuckians who form it. But we, as citizens of our Commonwealth, MUST provide the legal protections that enable crime victims to move steadily along the continuum from “victim” to “survivor” by treating them with respect and keeping them informed and involved if they so wish to be.