As we resist the anti-Black racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, anti-trans, Islamophobic Trump regime determined to extend and deepen the vicious entanglements of violence, Survived and Punished (S&P) is called to press forward in our fearless support of survivors who live within the intersections of violence and criminalization.
Throughout this week, we are raising $10,000 to nourish our growing project. Send a “Happy Birthday” shoutout to Survived and Punished, and show your solidarity with criminalized and incarcerated survivors by donating to support one of our critical projects! bit.ly/sp_birthday
Help us keep building our momentum.
For the past year, S&P has worked tirelessly to realize our vision of freedom for incarcerated survivors. From policy research projects to prison peer training programs to freedom campaign support (including court watches, legal support, and letter-writing) to paradigm-shifting media and advocacy work, Survived and Punished has been on. the. move!
HELP PROVIDE IN-PERSON SUPPORT FOR INCARCERATED SURVIVORS:
Our prison visiting team provides in-person support and advocacy for survivors of domestic violence who are currently incarcerated. Incarcerated people, especially domestic violence survivors, have severely limited quality access to resources and support while inside. Our efforts to visit four to six times will transport our team nearly 5,000 miles over the next year to provide vital in-person support and resources to survivors, as well as advocacy on their behalf with any developments in their case. $3000 funds at least four visits per year. Every bit helps! Will you help fund our prison visits by donating now?
From the #FreeBresha campaign:
Dear #FreeBresha supporters,
Bresha Meadows’ next court hearing is rescheduled for May 8, 2017. Bresha is still incarcerated and facing serious charges for defending herself and her family against deadly abuse. Please continue to share the petition demanding her immediate release.
We are asking supporters to organize teach-ins to #FreeBresha during the week of April 10th-April 17th to raise awareness of the connections between sexual violence and criminalization.
Since April is sexual assault awareness month, we want to call attention to criminalization itself as sexual violence. People who are incarcerated are subjected to mandatory body searches. Their bodily integrity is disrespected by prison authorities. Many incarcerated people are also sexually assaulted in prisons, jails, detention centers, and mental health detention. By definition then, anyone who is incarcerated is subject to sexual violence. Bresha’s confinement is an additional form of abuse on top of the abuse she suffered at home. You can use the following poetry guides that include poems about sexual violence as part of your teach-ins: No Selves To Defend & Giving Name to the Nameless.
Please join us for a twitter power hour on April 17th at 10am PT/12pm CT/1pm ET.
Community members in Ohio now plan to rally to #FreeBresha outside Trumbull County Family Court on May 8th. Check www.freebresha.com for more details coming soon.
Thank you for your continued support to raise the profile on Bresha’s case. Please continue to demand her freedom and the freedom of incarcerated survivors of domestic and sexual violence nationwide.
From the Immigrant Youth Coalition:
Yazmin Liliana Elias Obregon (A: 076-373-569), a single mother of three U.S. citizen children, has been detained at West County Detention Center in Richmond, California for over a year. Yazmin came to the U.S. at the age of 4 and lived in Santa Rosa, California. When she was 14 years old, Yazmin entered an abusive relationship with a man who would become the father of her children. He abused her for nearly 10 years: he beat her, sexually abused her, and forced her to use drugs in an attempt to cause her to abort her pregnancies. Her ex-partner, now in Mexico, has continued to threaten Yazmin. If deported to Mexico, Yazmin fears persecution by her former partner.
Yazmin is currently detained by ICE. Prior to being detained, Yazmin was well underway to building a new life for herself and her three U.S. citizen children.
“Since my mom got detained, I have been feeling sad and it’s hard for me to focus on school. I really need for my mom to come back. Adults think I need medicine, counselors, social workers, but all I need right now is my mom.” – Yazmin’s youngest son, age 12
SIGN THE PETITION TO TELL THE SAN FRANCISCO ICE FIELD OFFICE and THE OFFICE OF CHIEF COUNSEL THAT YAZMIN DESERVES AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE A STABLE LIFE FOR HER THREE U.S. CITIZEN CHILDREN.
MORE ACTION STEPS:
The Abuse Excuse: Dismissing Domestic Violence and Its Effects in the Criminal Court System, by Victoria Law, Rewire
If a survivor is found guilty despite her claims of abuse, a compassionate judge may decide against sentencing her to prison. But even then, mandatory sentencing sometimes leaves no choice in the matter. This was the case for Ramona Brant, a domestic violence survivor convicted of conspiracy as part of her abusive boyfriend’s drug ring. At sentencing, her judge admitted, “I absolutely am shocked by the severity of the sentence” but, under mandatory sentencing laws, had no choice but to sentence her to life imprisonment. After 21 years in prison, Brant was granted clemency by President Barack Obama and now lives with her family in North Carolina. But Brant’s happier ending is an exception, not the rule, in how the legal system treats abuse survivors.
As reported previously in Rewire, no one knows how many abuse survivors are imprisoned for defending themselves against domestic violence. Similarly, no governmental agency tracks how many survivors are incarcerated for actions committed by their abusers.
The adversarial nature of the criminal justice system often doesn’t allow prosecutors to explore nuances such as the effects of domestic violence on a person’s ability to act. As reported previously in Rewire, the trauma resulting from domestic violence can result in difficulty making decisions, difficulties in concentration, inattentiveness, emotional numbness, memory lapses, and withdrawal—actions that might be perceived by police and prosecutors as failure to take necessary steps to stop their abusers from other harmful deeds. In addition, abuse can compel survivors to avoid situations they perceive as dangerous, which can include placing themselves in potentially harmful situations by reporting those crimes.
“The truth is, as double victims, we are unable to heal because now we begin to fight an even more powerful abuser—the system. Why? Because now we are expected to read the mind of another, know his choices and, the biggest shocker of them all, be able to stop him when we’ve never been able to before,” [Kelly Savage] reflected. “Let’s be honest—a domestic violence survivor cannot stop an abuser. Only an abuser can stop his or her behavior. If only we could get the criminal justice system to see the truth and reality of that.”"
Message from the Rasmea Defense Committee:
Rasmea Odeh received TWO standing ovations at the #InternationalWomensDay event at the Chicago Teachers Union hall last night. Watch the speech here, and it is also transcribed below.
In addition, our friends from Jewish Voice for Peace members Eli Massey and Lynn Pollack wrote pieces supporting and defending Rasmea from recent media attacks by contributors to the Chicago Tribune and other outlets. We thank JVP for its support.
Members of the Rasmea Defense Committee in NY are also responding to a New York Times piece, and we will share that with you when it is published.
Rasmea Defense Committee
March 9, 2017
Good evening everyone. My name is Rasmea Odeh, and along with my friends Barbara Ransby, Angela Davis, and five other organizers from the U.S. and around the world, I signed the article that called for the women’s strike on this day. I am a Palestinian, and I have dedicated my life to the liberation of women and of my people in general.
I want to talk tonight about my homeland of Palestine, and about my adopted homeland of the U.S., because there are clear similarities. Israel’s government today is more right wing than ever, and it continues to target my people with racist policies, political imprisonment, stealing of land, and killing. An Israeli soldier just recently received only 18 months for killing a Palestinian who was wounded and lying on the ground unarmed. He probably won’t even serve the entire sentence, because Palestinian lives are not worth much to the Israeli government.
In the U.S., we are living in a time that is worse than the few years after the September 11th attacks. The Muslim Ban tries to keep people from six Arab, African, or Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for many months. Other policies threaten undocumented Mexicans, Central Americans, and other immigrants with mass detention and deportation. Still other policies are criminalizing protests and making it easier for police to get away with committing crimes and killing Black people. An 18 year old Black young man was found hanging from a tree in Washington State in January, and African and South Asian men have also been recently murdered in hate crimes.
Israeli and U.S. policies make it easy to target our people, but Palestinians are resisting these attacks in Palestine, and here in the U.S., we are all resisting Trump’s attacks on immigrants, Black people, Arabs and Muslims, and others.
I want to end by telling you a little bit about my own story. Articles in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, New York Post, and other newspapers are attacking me because of my participation in this day of action. They are calling me a terrorist because members of the Israeli military tortured and sexually assaulted me into a false confession almost 50 years ago.
On International Women’s Day in 2017, I am here to say that I am a survivor of sexual assault, and I testified to the United Nations about it in 1979. I have been convicted in the U.S. based on this torture evidence, but I won my appeal and am going to a re-trial on May 16th. Before that, please join us in Detroit on April 4th for a pre-trial hearing. Sign-up sheets for the trip are on our table in the back. This is a time of resistance of women and all people in Palestine, the U.S., and across the world. And I am resisting too!
March 8, 2017
A Message From Trans(forming) & Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative:
Dear Ky Peterson Supporters,
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles finally handed down its parole decision for Trans(forming) member Ky Peterson on Inauguration Day – January 20, 2017 – though no-one informed Ky. He first learned the devastating news three days later, from us, during a visit. The Board set Ky’s “tentative parole month” (TPM) for July 2021. By then, he will have been locked up nearly 10 years.
No words can describe our immense grief, disappointment, shock, and -yes- anger that Ky is still not free, and continues to be punished for surviving. Our hearts are heavy, and we find no comfort knowing that the Board’s decision could have been even worse.
Despite the profound and ongoing injustice he has faced as an incarcerated Black trans man, Ky has remained deeply committed to his faith, goals, love for his family, and his hope and passion to create a better and more just world- especially for trans people. He told us, “Even if they keep me in here, they can never keep me down!”
We must continue to share his story, intensify our support and demand his release. We ask that you join us in taking the following actions to support Ky and other criminalized survivors of gendered violence:
The FKP is a photo campaign spreading awareness about Ky Peterson, a Black trans man imprisoned for killing his rapist in self defense & the untold stories of Trans Men of Color.
Visit this site for full statement and video update.
January 31, 2016
The #Justice4Rasmea campaign to free Rasmea Odeh announced that her legal team filed a motion to dismiss the new indictment brought against Rasmea in December 2016 after her successful appeal. Excerpt below:
"Today, the lawyers defending Palestinian American activist Rasmea Odeh moved to dismiss the new indictment that was brought against her in December 2016. The motion and supporting brief argue that the government’s “superseding indictment has substantially broadened the scope of the trial and the evidence that will be relevant and at issue.”
It also states that the new indictment, filed well beyond the statute of limitations in immigration law, is so different from the original 2013 indictment that it cannot be accepted by the court. The statute of limitations for the alleged 2004 offense is 10 years. This new indictment tries to bring fundamentally different charges against Rasmea.
Finally, Rasmea’s defense exposes the U.S. Attorney’s filing of the superseding indictment as a retaliatory and vindictive act. The conviction that the prosecutors won in court in 2014 was overturned in 2016 because the court violated Rasmea’s right to a full defense. She was not allowed to present expert testimony that she suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the torture she suffered at the hands of her Israeli captors in Palestine in 1969. Now the desperate prosecution is trying to bring terrorism charges against her. This is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to prejudice the jury by using buzz words such as “terrorism” to paint an unfavorable view of Rasmea."
Read full announcement.
January 27, 2017
Today, after 3 years behind bars and 2 years of house detention, Marissa Alexander was finally released from state confinement. Learn about Marissa's new project, the Marissa Alexander Justice Project.
Free Marissa Now's statement on Marissa Alexander's freedom. Excerpt below:
Since 2012, thousands of people all over the world REFUSED to accept the prosecution and punishment of Marissa Alexander. You wrote to prosecutor Angela Corey & Florida Governor Rick Scott urging them to drop the case, you fundraised over $100,000 to support Marissa’s legal defense fund, you organized community workshops & gatherings to spread the word, you engaged in direct actions in the streets and in front of courthouses, you wrote to Marissa to let her know she was not alone, you produced amazing works of art that spoke to the call for her freedom, you submitted organizational endorsements for her freedom, you sent heartfelt prayers, and you repeatedly boosted all forms of media to make sure your voices were heard. And our voices WERE HEARD. We believe that Angela Corey (now voted out) felt the pressure to offer Marissa another plea deal because you would not let up. We know that Marissa’s pro bono legal team got as far as they did because of the grassroots funds that supported their work. We saw Florida’s state congress pass reform legislation in response to Marissa’s case. And we saw an increase in defense campaigns for survivors all over the country. In short, Marissa Alexander was freed by your efforts of love and resistance that continue to make a difference. We at Free Marissa Now are overcome with gratitude.
No Perfect Victims Network Gathering @ 2017 Allied Media Conference in Detroit
Between 1977 and 2007, the population of U.S women prisoners grew by 800% with an annual growth rate doubling that of men over many years. The vast majority of incarcerated and criminalized women (trans and non-trans) have previous histories of domestic and sexual abuse. This gathering will engage participants on how to pro-actively support and advocate for survivors who live at the intersection of gender violence and criminalization. We will highlight the experiences of grassroots organizations and defense committees in supporting those who don’t fall into the “perfect victim” narrative and we will share a new toolkit for those who want to do similar work. Participants will learn how to use digital organizing to raise awareness, funds and gain supporters for their campaigns. This network gathering is invite only.
Coordinators of this network gathering are Mariame Kaba, Stacy Suh, Tasasha Henderson, and Ash Stephens.
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
We are calling for criminalized survivors, formerly incarcerated people, organizers, activists, educators, artists, anti-domestic/sexual violence workers, legal service providers, and others to
join us for discussion and strategizing.
Our vision for this gathering is to:
We encourage our network gathering participants to propose presentations and workshops to Allied Media Conference tracks and practice spaces. This network gathering is limited to 60 participants. To find out more and learn how to register email Mariame Kaba at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the #FreeBresha Campaign:
At Bresha Meadows’ hearing today, rather than release Bresha on bond, the court will transfer her from juvenile detention to a “treatment facility.” She will not be able to freely come and go from the facility. How then is this different from being jailed? It is also well-documented that so-called mental health treatment in detention can itself be traumatizing. We remain steadfast in our belief that Bresha has a right to self-defense and should not be criminalized or forcibly confined. We call for Bresha’s release from state detention so that she and her family are free to determine the best course for her recovery and well-being.
As a 14-year-old child pushed to her limits and fearful that she and her family might end up dead at the hands of her father, she did what she had to do to survive. She should not be tried and she most certainly should not continue to be jailed; this is unjust. We call on prosecutors to drop the charges against her and return to her family to begin the long process of healing. Short of this, she should at least be released from all forms of detention while awaiting trial. Bresha is a traumatized child survivor of domestic violence and her trauma has been compounded by her jailing for 175 days and counting.
We thank all of Bresha’s supporters who have organized workshops, protests, written letters, made art, donated money and more calling for her freedom. Bresha knows that you’ve been thinking of her, praying for her, and organizing for her freedom. She and her family have expressed gratitude for your support.
Please continue to agitate and organize in solidarity with Bresha’s family, friends and community. We’ll keep you updated on developments in the case as we learn of them.
Until all of Breshas are free.
Events, case & campaign updates, media, calls to action, and messages from survivors.
#FreeBresha Week of Action