2023 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Theme Video: Elevate Survivor Voices
This 2023 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week theme video underscores the importance of lifting the voices of survivors to ensure they are heard and seen.
ROBERTA ROPER: Never a day goes by that I don't remember that Stephanie is no longer physically with us or that we live with a giant hole in our hearts and lives.
In 1982, the Maryland General Assembly had passed the right to present a victim impact statement at sentencing. I took the stand, and that's when the defense objected, saying that anything I had to say, it was emotional, irrelevant, and probable cause for reversal on appeal. That was a very devastating experience.
ANNA NASSET: The crime of stalking is isolating. And as the years drew on and his stalking continued, those fears became larger and more paralyzing.
Every time I started to speak, the stalker began to object and started to yell over me. And finally, the judge was like, "Okay. I've had enough of this. This is her time to speak." The emotional effects of this have turned into physical effects and plagued my life for 8 years now.
SHARON D'EUSANIO: When you have a disability caused by an act of violence, the impact is lifelong. One of the bullets passed through both of my eyes, taking my eyesight permanently. I wanted to remind the parole commission, I'm still out there and I am still suffering the consequences as a result of what one person did.
OBBIE WEST: The pain connected to witnessing abuse made it important enough for me to want to address it out loud. It's important we hear victim voices outside of the courtroom because most of society isn't in the courtroom.
I found my voice when I was exposed to poetry. My voice has helped others find their voice in a way of permission, especially when we talk about other males. A man's tongue becomes easily tied when it has to unpack pain.
SHARON D'EUSANIO: By going public and by talking about it and by elevating victims' voices, you hope they fall on the ears of an individual who will be responsive.
ANNA NASSET: Those places where I felt heard, it felt like I had a voice, and I had a little bit of choice when I had no power before, and it kept me going.
OBBIE WEST: To witness one loved one be abused by another loved one is a stripping of power at a young age.
SHARON D'EUSANIO: I just didn't know how I was going to raise three children without being able to see them.
DAWN COLLINS: The sound of an ambulance takes me to a place that I don't want to go.
RICARDO WIGGS: I had to then, had to, you know, explain to my oldest 4-year-old, who knew her mother, um, that Mommy's not coming back.
ROBERTA ROPER: The criminal justice system belongs to all of us. We must ensure that it serves all of us.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.