Survived and Punished calls for the freedom of all incarcerated survivors. California has increased the number of commutations for Life Without Parole sentencing, meaning fewer people are sentenced to die in prison because they have a chance at parole. One strategy has been raising public awareness of multiple cases within the intersections of sexual, racial, domestic, and carceral violence, and organizing public support to urge the Governor to commute more sentences and free more people.
Please sign the petition to #FreeTammyGarvin!
Tammy Garvin is an incarcerated survivor who was convicted for her trafficker/abuser’s lethal violence. For surviving, Tammy has been in prison for 27 years already. She is serving Life Without Parole in California.
Tammy was only 14 years old when she was trafficked, and by the time she was convicted and sentenced to Life Without Parole in her 30s, she suffered from the long-term effects of severe psychological and sexual abuse.
Incarcerated survivors are leading groups to support survivors and advocate to de-criminalize survival from within the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), the biggest women’s prison in the U.S. (and likely the world).
Tammy has a real chance at clemency during Governor Brown’s last year, but only if we insist on it. Can you help us get over 100 signatures to #FreeTammyGarvin today on her 59th birthday?
Welcome home, Bresha.
In this post, #FreeBresha organizers Colby Lenz and Mariame Kaba review how #FreeBresha successfully advocated for Bresha Meadows, an Ohio teen who was jailed after killing her father in self-defense. (Originally published at Teen Vogue)
Bresha Meadows was released to return to her family on February 4, after surviving juvenile and mental health incarceration since her arrest in July 2016.
Bresha was only 14 years old when she was charged with killing her father, who her mother and family said had inflicted years of abuse on them. Instead of receiving compassionate care, Bresha was criminalized for what many consider to have been self-defense. Prosecutors charged her with aggravated murder and sought to try her as an adult. She faced a potential life sentence in prison in Ohio. After instead pleading "true" to a charge of involuntary manslaughter, Bresha was sentenced to one year in a juvenile jail (with 10 months already served), six months of confinement in a mental health facility, and two years of probation once released.
Bresha’s attempts to escape domestic violence and seek help were blocked by multiple systemsthat ultimately failed to support her, including the police and Child Protective Services. Bresha’s story reveals the powerful pipeline between girls’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence and their forced entry into carceral systems.
Once arrested, black girls like Bresha face disproportionately high rates of prosecution and incarceration. Once incarcerated, Bresha joined the 84% of girls in the juvenile justice systemwho have experienced family violence prior to incarceration.
We are both part of #FreeBresha, the small organizing collective that brought Bresha’s case to national and international attention. In August 2016, we formed a volunteer, ad-hoc defense committee to demand her freedom. A defense committee or campaign is a grassroots effort to secure the freedom of a person targeted for criminalization, through community organizing, political pressure, community education, legal and media advocacy, and other strategies. As part of an effort to #FreeBresha, we organized calls to action and then coordinated and publicized widespread decentralized actions into an organizing force to be reckoned with. Supporters across the world demanded care and resources, not cages, for Bresha and all survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
We took a number of actions to #FreeBresha. We created a petition to drop the charges against her. We organized mass letter-writing to the prosecutor to release her immediately. We demanded media attention. We invited supporters to send postcards, letters, and books to Bresha. We promoted book drives and delivered thousands of books by women of color nationwide. We raised money for legal experts and emergency family support. We raised awareness about the abuse-to-prison pipeline for Black girls and women by producing a curriculum that was used at teach-ins and events across the country. We protested. We amped up support when Bresha was on suicide watch. We organized vigils. We solicited and circulated powerful artwork. We mobilized our allies in the antiviolence sector. We uplifted survival and freedom campaigns for other criminalized survivors. We wrote poetry and songs. We stormed Twitter. We organized court support for Bresha’s hearings.
Collectively, we organized to #FreeBresha.
And — against the force of mass criminalization and its targeting of Black children — we won.
Bresha should never have been incarcerated, but it is a win nonetheless. The punishment system was unsuccessful in disappearing this young Black woman. As Bresha continued to endure punishment and isolation, we organized alongside her dedicated family and pro bono legal team, connected in our commitment to see her — and all survivors — supported and free. Our team worked hard and quickly, with no funding, office, or institutional support. We had the power of the people, though, and the momentum and tactics of a centuries-long tradition of freedom campaigns. We also had a broad national network of organizers ready to mobilize, especially youth organizers.
Collectively, we demanded freedom and care for Bresha. We opposed her further traumatization and structural abandonment by criminalization. We refused to accept that, for defending her life, Bresha would be further victimized by state violence, compounding her existing trauma and adding her to the list of girls and women filling cages nationwide — to be counted among the fastest-growing segment of the incarcerated population. We connected Bresha’s placement on suicide watch to the traumatic effects of incarceration and isolation on youth and adults. We tied our need to increase support for Bresha to organizing against the suicide crisis in California women’s prisons, demanding an end to the deadly practice of incarceration.
We refused to exceptionalize survivor freedom as we organized in solidarity with movements to end the criminalization of survival of all kinds. We made Bresha’s case visible, to demand her freedom and to pressure prosecutors to stop pressing charges against survivors, if for no better reason than to avoid the organized threat of public exposure and shame. In Ohio, we heard from people who would know that prosecutors were nervous and concerned about the level of public attention and public pressure being brought to bear around Bresha’s case. The sheer number of media outlets from around the world calling to ask permission to film Bresha’s trial was a testament to the attention. We did this.
Along the way, our defense committee received increasing requests for support for other criminalized survivor campaigns, so we worked with our Survived & Punished team to develop a toolkit to help resource people organizing grassroots freedom campaigns. We also continued to strategize mass defense campaigns for all criminalized survivors.
Now, as Bresha returns home, we continue to urge criminal justice reform, abolition, and antiviolence movements to recognize that prisons of all forms are both filled with survivors and producers of state sexual violence. This is a crucial feminist issue, since survivors of domestic and sexual violence are disproportionately girls, women, and gender nonconforming people. Trans survivors are disproportionately criminalized and must be prioritized for resources and support. We call on the antiviolence movement in particular to make the changes necessary to include criminalized survivors at the center of survivor advocacy and service models. These changes need to happen at every point of criminalization — from prevention to arrest, pretrial, postconviction, and postrelease.
Bresha’s case also reminds us why we all must work to develop and practice transformative solutions to violence that do not rely on carceral systems, including policing, prosecution, and prisons.
Bresha still has two years of probation before her, so she is still under state surveillance. She is home but still not “free.” We will remain vigilant on her behalf. All who demanded Bresha’s freedom played a role in her survival and release and in pushing national discourse toward decriminalizing survival. Now, it continues to be on all of us to keep doing the work to end the criminalization of survival and to demand safe, resourced futures for Black girls like Bresha and for all survivors.
Welcome home Bresha. #FreeThemAll
Does the #MeToo anti-violence movement reach survivors of domestic and sexual violence in California’s women’s prisons? Recent reforms to curb mass incarceration in the U.S. have reduced the total number of men in state prisons since 2009, but populations in women’s prisons have increased in 35 states. The Prison Policy Initiative found that the criminalization of women expanded in part because actions taken to survive domestic and sexual violence (e.g. self-defense, drug dependence, sex industry, etc.) have been increasingly criminalized.
California has been a particularly troubling site for intersections of gender violence and carceral violence. Though women’s incarceration in the state is decreasing, it is likely due to court-ordered reductions in its prison population following a 2011 Supreme Court ruling asserting that California’s prison overcrowding violated the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has also been cited for egregious institutional abuse of people in women’s prisons. In 2017, the California State Auditor released a highly critical report highlighting CDCR’s failure to implement effective suicide prevention and response policies, and uncovering dangerous prison conditions at the California Institution for Women (CIW) which led to a soaring suicide rate over the past four years. Also in 2017, four trans and queer people of color, all of whom identify as survivors of sexual trauma, filed a lawsuit against the State of California and the CDCR, stating that they were beaten and sexually violated by correctional officers, and were then denied medical treatment for their injuries and prevented from filing grievances. This lawsuit is one of multiple cases filed against CDCR for sexual violence and wrongful death in the last several years.
Survived and Punished (S&P) is an all-volunteer statewide and national project that illuminates the “gender violence to prison pipeline,” and analyzes how carcerality is part of the cultural infrastructure of rape and domestic violence. S&P joins others who contend that #MeToo efforts that highlight sexual and domestic violence must also address how this violence is an integral component of carceral systems – including police, immigration enforcement, prisons, court systems, and other structures of punishment and surveillance. Therefore, for S&P, securing pathways to freedom from prisons and detention centers must be a central anti-violence goal.
On December 2-3, 2017, S&P convened over 30 advocates and activists who are also formerly incarcerated survivors of domestic or sexual violence. This convening was an opportunity to learn directly from formerly incarcerated survivors about their experiences of criminalization and barriers to release, as well as collectively identify California-based decarceral strategies to increase the rate of prison release for people in women’s prisons and trans women in men’s prisons.
BARRIERS TO RELEASE
Convening participants identified barriers to release that have been previously documented as ongoing institutional problems, such as the lack of access to free/affordable and effective legal representation, the lack of information about new legislation that increases pathways for release, and coerced plea deals that can forfeit the right to appeal. Additionally, participants also explored lesser known barriers that are often gendered, such as the role of abusive partners in manipulating judicial processes, parole board discrimination against survivors of domestic violence, immediate ICE detention after prison release, and the refusal of prison officials to follow court release orders, sometimes out of retaliation if the incarcerated person has filed a complaint about abuse while in prison.
The Board of Parole Hearings was highlighted as a particularly problematic institution with largely unchecked power to extend incarceration. Some survivors reported getting rejected for parole over ten times, and others described how identifying as a survivor of gender violence can be used as a reason to prevent their release because it is distorted as evidence that they are not “sufficiently remorseful.” The relationship between ICE enforcement and prisons was also identified as extremely dangerous. Even if some survivors are able to achieve freedom in one system, they may end up facing multiple points of incarceration after being released. The fear of deportation and isolation can cause profound emotional barriers to fighting for release. It is also extremely difficult to secure free/low-cost legal representation with expertise within multiple systems as well as skills for developing dual parole plans.
SOURCES OF SUPPORT & RECOMMENDATIONS
Participants identified multiple key sources of support that helped them navigate their way to freedom. The nonprofit, California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), was cited as a crucial resource that helped create conditions that improved the likelihood of release, including providing volunteer legal advocacy, and advocating for the health and survival needs of imprisoned people. As a membership-based organization, CCWP also creates community networks inside and outside prisons that decrease isolation and provide the grassroots political support that strengthens advocacy efforts. Community groups, such as the TGI Justice Project and the Asian Law Caucus, also organize people to attend court hearings, a support that participants identified as a tremendously valuable strategy that supported their feelings of individual worth, and demonstrated community support to the court.
Additionally, participants identified a number of recommended actions to widen the pathways for release, including building more supportive post-release institutions and resources for women, queer, and trans people; building advocacy networks for survivors to provide crucial support such as legal advocacy, health support, etc. as soon as survivors are arrested; holding prosecutors accountable for making choices to prosecute survivors and ending the prosecutorial conviction incentive; increasing organized court watches to decrease isolation and make judicial processes less hidden; exposing how multiple sectors of carceral systems actively discriminate and punish survivors; building more coalitions between immigration justice advocates and victim advocates; and continuing to support public grassroots defense campaigns that can advocate for commutations and paroles.
This convening was hosted by the UC Berkeley Center for Race & Gender and supported with a generous grant from the UC Irvine Initiative to End Family Violence. It was an important early step to set the preliminary groundwork for an organizing and advocacy model that incorporates a complex understanding of the criminalization of survival, and increases access to freedom.
Mapping the “gender violence to prison” pipeline.
탈출하고자 했던 박해를 이민자 수용소에서 거듭 겪은 한국인 가정 폭력 생존자의 발언 | "Being Detained Feels Like the Abuse I Tried to Escape": A Korean Survivor Speaks Out From Immigration Detention
김이화씨는 길고 긴 8개월 동안 박해와 학대를 이민자 수용소 안에서 겪은 후 2017년 12월 28일 오전에 한국으로 강제로 출국당한다. After 8 long months of abuse and harassment in immigration detention, Yihwa Kim is being forced to return back to South Korea on a morning flight on December 28 2017. Please read Yihwa Kim's story in English here at Truthout.
김이화씨는 한국에서 사는 동안 아버지와 그리고 그와 연관된 사람들로부터 극단적인 학대와 성폭력을 오랫동안 받아왔다. 그 고통을 피하기 위해 2017년 4월 그녀는 한국을 떠나 미국으로 들어오면서 망명 신청을 하였는데, 곧바로 이민자 수용소로 보내졌다. 11월에 그녀는 6개월이 넘는 수용소 생활을 하면 가지게 되는 이민자의 보석 심리권을 요청하나, 그녀의 망명 심사를 담당한 판사는 전직 국토안보부 검찰관으로서 그녀의 요청을 무참히 거부했다. 오래된 수용소 생활속에 필요한 의료조치를 받지 못함으로 인해 그녀의 건강상태가 악화되었고, 수용소 생활이 언제 끝날지 모르는 상황이 계속되자, 그녀는 12월 1일 입국허가취하를 요청하게 된다. 판사가 그녀의 망명신청을 취소함에 따라, 그녀는 몇 주 안에 한국으로 강제 출국을 당하게 되는 상황에 처해있다. 12월 1일에 있었던 공판중 그녀는 “한국으로 강제 출국을 당하는 것은 자살행위와 다름 없지만, 수용소에서 2년 혹은 3년까지도 수감되어 있는 사람들을 보면서 나도 그런 처지에 처할 수 있다는 사실과, 그렇게 오래된 수감 생활 동안 의료서비스를 받지 못할 것을 감안해, 입국허가취하 신청을 할 수 밖에 없었다. . . 나는 여기 감옥 안에서 죽고 싶지 않다”고 말했다.
탈출하고자 했던 박해를 이민자 수용소에서 거듭 겪고 있는 한국인 가정 폭력 생존자의 발언
내가 왜 2017년 4월에 샌프란시코 공항에 도착했을때 출입국 관리사무원들에 의해 집중적인 인터뷰와 검색의 대상자로 선택되었는지는 지금도 정확하게 알지 못한다. 그들은 나를 무례한 태도로 대하면서 방문의 이유와 상관도 없는 별별 질문을 다하더니, 창문도 없는 아주 작은 조사실로 나를 데려갔다. 나는 폐쇄공포증이 있으니 그 밀실과 같은 방에는 못 있겠다고 했으나 아무도 아랑곳하지 않았다. 그들은 몇시간 동안 질문을 해댔고, 나의 소지품들을 일일이 몇번이나 수색했다. 그날밤 나를 공항에 억류했고, 나는 긴 의자에서 잠을 자야 했다. 다음 날 몇 시간을 기다린 끝에 한 직원이 들어와 다시 여러 시간 동안 심문을 해댔다.
변호사는 물론, 통역사도 제공되지 않았고, 그 상황속에서 출입국 사무직원들이 이끄는데로 많은 결정이 내려졌다. 그들이 내게 한국으로 다시 돌려보내겠다고 할때, 나는 아버지의 학대를 피해 미국으로 왔으니 한국으로 돌아가고 싶지 않다고 대답했고, 그들은 그러면 망명신청을 하라고 일러주었다. 나는 망명신청을 했을 경우 어떤 상황들이 수반되는지 잘 알지 못했지만 그렇게 하기로 했다. 그 결과 나는 수용소로 보내졌다. 나는 수용소에 억류되기 보다는 인도적 차원에서 주어지는 가석방을 받았어야 했는데, 트럼프 정부가 들어서면서 나와 비슷한 처지에 있는 사람들이 거진 다 구속되고 있는 추세라는 것을 한참 후에 변호사를 통해 알게 되었다.
처음에 수용된 곳은 켈리포니아 리치몬드시에 위치해 있었는데, 그 곳 간부들은 내가 도움을 요청했을때 도움을 주기는 커녕 오히려 나를 독방에 가두겠다고 위협했다. 그 후로 한동안 누구하고도 얘기하고 싶지 않았다, 적어도 수용소에 직접 방문하시는 한 미국인 변호사가 엠네스티 인터내셔널에서 일하는 미주 한국인 두분을 소개해 주실때 까지는. 그리고 그 두분들을 통해 센프란시스코에 있는 아시안여성의쉼터를 알게 되었고 그 곳에서 일하시는 분들의 방문과 도움을 받게 되었다.
하지만 세달 정도 지난 후 나를 (LA 에서 3시간 정도; 샌프란시스코에서는 5시간 정도 떨어진) 베이커스필드에 있는 “메사베르데” 수용소로 이동시켰다. 그 곳은 사기업에 의해 운영되는 이민자 소용소이다. 그곳으로 옮겨지던 날 나는 새벽 4시 반 부터 이동 준비를 강요 받았고 하루종일 여기 저기로 운송되었다. 나를 태운 이동차는 밴 종류 차량이었는데 창문이 없는 밀폐된 공간이어서 나의 폐쇄공포증 증세를 유발시켰다. 다른 억류자들을 이곳 저곳에서 태우면서 차문이 열릴 때는 그나마 숨을 쉴 수 있었다. 그러나, 물과 음식도 없이, 그리고 화장실 갈 시간도 갖지 못한채 마지막 몇시간 동안을 그 차 안에서 목적지에 도착할 때까지 있어야 했다. 차안의 온도는 칠월의 태양열로 뜨겁게 달아올랐고, 나는 숨막힘과 동시에 폐쇄공포증으로 인한 구토와 열에 시달렸고, 다른 수감 여성들도 다들 울면서 도움을 요청하는 소리를 질렀다. 엘 살바도르에서 온 한 분은 격한 발작증세를 보였고 한 중국 여성은 여러 시간 동안 구토를 해댔다. 그럼에도 불구하고 아무런 조처도 취해지지 않았다. 나는 마침내 의식을 잃었다.
메사베르데 수용소에는 현재 대략 이백명의 여성 억류자분들이 계시고, 그 중 열 다섯 혹은 열 여섯명 정도의 아시아 여성들이 있지만, 한국인은 나 혼자뿐이다. 직원들과 경비원들은 북한과 남한 사회의 차이를 이해하지 못하며 한국인을 중국인으로 가정하는 일이 흔하다. 또한, 한국과 미국의 문화적 차이가 너무 커서, 비록 내가 한국어 통역이 가능한 사람을 찾는다 해도, 내가 이야기 하는것을 적절한 영어로 옮기고 이해시킬 수 있을 것 같지 않아 두려웠다. 예를 들어, “주민등록번호” 혹은 “종가” 라는 말들이 어떻게 영어로 변역되고 이해될수 있겠는가? 언어의 차이뿐만 아니라 행동과 몸짓 하나도 문화적 차이에 의해 오해를 불러 일으킬 수 있다.
나는 간염을 앓아 왔고 또 다른 질병들에 의해 고통과 불편함에 시달려 왔다. 하지만 수용소 안에서는 적절한 의료서비스를 받을 수 없다. 게다가, 두통, 감기, 열 등의 다른 증상들에 쓰는 약들이 다 간염을 악화시킬 수 있기에 나는 복용할 수 없다. 수용소 음식도 견딜 수 없을 정도로 형편 없다. 양이 정말 적은 것도 문제지만 야채는 너무 오래돼 냄새가 나고 거진 녹아있는 상태다.
수용소 직원들은 수감원들에게 종종 소리를 지르고 인종차별과 조롱, 그리고 성희롱를 일삼는다. 내가 환경개선을 해 달라는 요구를 함으로 인해 그들은 나를 표적으로 삼았고, 나를 “북한 노예”라 부르며 또 벌레에 비유하기도 했다.
의료진들도 마찬가지다. 한 의사는 내가 진료를 거부했음에도 불구하고 내 몸을 만졌고, 특히 내 가슴 부위를 만졌다. 한번은 내가 왼손을 다쳐 붕대를 감고 있었는데, 한 직원이 오더니 그 붕대를 풀게 하고, 두 손을 맞 잡게 하더니 아픈 왼손과 멀쩡한 오른손을 함께 수갑을 채우듯이 붕대를 감아버리고는 깔깔거리고 웃었다. 그에게는 웃기는 일이었는지 모르나 나에게는 굴욕적인 시간이었다. 한 사람은 내게 한국 여성답게 순종적 태도를 가지라 했다. 한국여성에 대한 잘못된 고정 관념을 가지고 나에게 양보를 강요했다.
여기 수용소에는 사회복지사 분들이 일주일에 한번씩 억류되어있는 사람들을 찾아와 사무관이 못됐게 구는 일이 있는지 살핀다. 그들은 대부분 친절하고 수감자들의 생활이 어떠한지에 대해 대화하려 한다. 하지만 계속해서 내가 중요한 사람이 아님을 주입시키고 아무도 내가 여기에 억류되어 있음을 신경쓰지도 않을 것이라고 말하면서 나의 사기를 저하시킨다.
수용소 생활을 한지 일곱달이 넘어간다. 내가 어떻게 취급받았는가를 생각해 볼 때, 미국의 방침이 인종차별을 넘어선 “인종말살” 이라고 나는 생각한다. 나는 이 나라를 대상으로 어떠한 범죄도 저지르지 않았고 한국에 있을때 시민으로서 정상적 생활을 해왔다. 우리 조상 중 대한민국정부 건설에 직접 참여한 당사자들도 있다. 더욱이 나는 안전과 보호를 청하기 위해 여기에 왔다. 그런데 미국은 나의 권리를 훼손하고 쓰레기 버리듯 취급하고 있다. 이러한 수용소 생활은 전쟁 수용소 생활과 전혀 다름이 없다고 나는 생각한다.
Bresha Meadows was 14 years old in July 2016 when she allegedly used the gun that her father had brandished for years against her and her family (terrorizing and abusing them) to shoot him in his sleep. Bresha long learned to fear her father who had repeatedly made threats to kill her and her family. She was arrested and prosecutors refused to release Bresha while she awaited trial. The threat that she might be tried as an adult hung over her head until public pressure forced prosecutors to announce in December 2016 that she would be tried in juvenile court.
On May 22, 2017, Bresha submitted to a plea deal that would keep her in juvenile detention for a full year (which includes 10 months of time served) and an additional 6 months of confinement in a mental health ‘treatment” facility. During her months of detention, Bresha was put on suicide watch multiple times. Juvenile detention compounds trauma, it doesn’t heal it.
Bresha is just one of tens of thousands of incarcerated girls and young women across the United States. Understanding the details of how Bresha has been treated is instructive on how the criminal punishment system is a destructive force against children and youth, especially those who are Black. Bresha’s family and legal team credit popular support and organizing for pushing the state to offer Bresha a plea that prevented her from spending many many years behind bars.
This video was conceived by Mariame Kaba and narrated by CeCe McDonald. Directed and produced by Dean Spade and Hope Dector. Audio editing by Lewis Wallace. Audio recording by S.O. O’Brien. Artwork and photographs by Sarah-Jane Rhee, Molly Crabapple, Monica Trinidad, Kara Rodriguez, Bria Royal, Viko Alvarez, Ari Levin, Molly Costello, and Kathy Liang. Created by the Barnard Center for Research on Women and Survived and Punished.
More videos like this at the Survived and Punished website.
Domestic violence survivor, Ny Nourn, has finally been released from ICE detention! More info about the organizing to free her can be found in this article, and Ny released the letter below via Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus:
To My Loved Ones and Community,
Last Thursday, I walked out of the Yuba County Jail as a free person for the first time in sixteen years. At twenty, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole - a death in prison sentence. With a deportation hold on top of that, hope that I'd ever rejoin my community in California was slim. Prison walls make it even harder to protect what little hope we have by isolating us from our community outside.
I kept hope alive because of all of you. My heroes at Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus fought alongside me in court, in prison, and in the streets. My (formerly) incarcerated family at the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, and Survived and Punished reminded me that I'm not alone. All of you who took time to write me, attend a court hearing, or make a call to ICE gave me courage and hope that prison walls couldn't extinguish.
I'm free but ICE continues to appeal to send me back to immigration detention and deport me. I am joining all of you outside in fighting for not just my freedom, but for the freedom of all of my sisters and brothers that I left behind inside. Together, we can replace a system built to punish with humanity and compassion for all of us.
Here's how you can take action today:
1. In the past month, ICE has arrested hundreds of my Cambodian and Vietnamese refugee family. Sign the petition calling on ICE to stop the raids - https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-the-deportation-of-cambodian-refugees
2. Kelly Savage was a mentor to me and so many others in prison. Like me and countless other incarcerated survivors, Kelly was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for a murder committed by her abusive partner. Sign a petition for Governor Jerry Brown to commute Kelly's sentence: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/give-domestic-violence-survivor-kelly-ann-savage-a-chance-at-parole
THESE SURVIVORS URGENTLY NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and we remain committed to ending domestic violence, dismantling the prison industry, and supporting the freedom of survivors who have been criminalized. This DVAM we are connecting you to three crucial freedom campaigns for survivors of domestic and sexual violence that urgently need your support secure their freedom:
Thank you very much for your solidarity with these survivors and your support of their freedom!
Oct 18, San Francisco: Free Ny Rally to Support Survivors and Protest ICE
Oct 21, New York City: Defending the Lives of Criminalized Survivors: A NYCTeach-In
And on Oct 27, the Free Tondalao Hall campaign is hosting a webinar: #ProjectBlackbird Presents---For Tondalao: Domestic Violence, Motherhood, & Mass Incarceration in Oklahoma
Kelly Ann Savage is an incarcerated survivor of severe domestic and sexual violence by her former husband. In 1995, Kelly tried to escape with her children after receiving safety plan directives from a domestic violence crisis line. When Kelly's abusive husband, Mark, learned that she was trying to escape, he tragically killed her 3-year old son Justin. Despite all her efforts to survive and escape with her children, the prosecution blamed Kelly for not escaping sooner. The prosecution completely ignored the documented dangers associated with attempting to leave an abusive partner. Research shows that women who attempt to leave their abusive husbands are at a 70-75% higher risk of being killed by their batterers than those who stay. The jury in Kelly’s trial was prevented from hearing testimony from an expert in domestic violence who could explain that batterers escalate their violence when victims attempt to escape. Blocking crucial expert testimony prevented Kelly’s right to a fair trial. Her conviction rested on the prosecution exploiting myths and misconceptions of survivors of abuse. Kelly was convicted of first-degree murder for “aiding and abetting” her abusive husband, and sentenced to Life Without Possibility of Parole. Since her conviction, Kelly has received support from domestic violence victim advocates across California who strongly support her release.
JOIN US in asking Governor Jerry Brown to commute Kelly’s sentence from Life Without Parole to a parole-eligible sentence!
Ny Nourn was born in a refugee camp after her mother fled the violence of genocide and US bombs in Cambodia. Ny was only five years old when she came as a refugee. When she was a high school junior, Ny entered into an abusive relationship with a man she met on the Internet. He was nearly twice her age. Just weeks after Ny turned 18, her abuser murdered the boss at her after school job in fit of jealousy. Over the next years, Ny’s life was filled with more beatings, rapes, and attempts to kill her than she can remember.
When Ny finally escaped and went to police to report the abuse and murder, police arrested her and charged her with aiding and abetting murder for having failed to intervene. A judge sentenced Ny to life in prison. After spending 16 years in prison, Ny was finally granted parole earlier this year.
Before she could take a breath of freedom, ICE agents handcuffed her outside the prison and took her to a county jail pending deportation to Cambodia. Ny’s community rallied behind her sending her hundreds of letters and packing the courtroom at her deportation hearing. In September, a judge granted Ny protection from deportation and ruled that she could not be deported to Cambodia. Still, ICE has refused to release her and plans to appeal the decision.
This system has inflicted enough punishment on Ny. TELL ICE TO FREE NY NOW!
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