When He Gets Out - Countdown Day 59 there was some success

Finally - some success.
After what feels like a never ending nightmare, I finally got word that my abuser
will not be released on extended supervision to live 6 blocks from where I live.

Receiving that information was like having a dark cloud lifted .

I knew I had been stressed out, but to what degree, that realization didn't happen until the news came. My shoulders finally relaxed. The fiery pain in my joints slowly ceased to be, the inflammation went down and I felt like I could sleep solid for a month.

The worry I had been carrying in me for over a year, disappeared.

Last night was the first time in a very long time that I didn't have a nightmare.

It is hard to convey just exactly how I feel because even though for my personal situation I now get to experience the triumph of success, there is still a part of me that is irritated that because of lack of laws giving victims a voice during offender re-entry, I had to experience the mental torment of fear, triggering PTSD.

You see, in a way I feel privileged with the success I have experienced. A privilege many...most..do not have. And this is because of my position within my community.  I may not have a lot of money but I am well connected and know how to use the power of the pen to send a message. I am an experienced/trained grassroots organizer turned small town reporter with a background in leadership, politics, activism, and advocacy. Rocking boats, making squeaky wheels scream and being a pain in the ass is my forte. Would someone else, another victim, would they have had the same outcome?

And that unanswered question is why I will continue on with seeking changes, and legislation to ensure no one will ever have to live the nightmare I did, ever again.

As I have stated before - the possibility of my abuser being released on extended supervision living on tax payers' dime within walking distance of my home or my employment should have never been an option on the table...let alone, one of the main "go to" placements.

When I first brought attention to this situation long ago the response from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections should have been - "Don't worry, we would NEVER put a victim in that position/situation."  But, that wasn't the case because the law and policies on the books work against logic.

The focus is making life a bit easier to maneuver for the offender when they are released and I understand why, but what I cannot wrap my head around is how the victim is forgotten in that last step and does not legally have a voice in the process.

I get that we want offenders to have success in reintegration back into society. I've volunteered to work with offenders in providing a roof for them when they've been released, making sure they understand and use resources within the community. I've done this since starting Lend a Hand - Circle of Hope back in 2009.  I understand the frustrations as resources are lacking.

However, as a victim of violent crime, we also experience a lack of resources, and understanding; and while the system supports the offender throughout their incarceration and probation, we are often left out in the cold after that gavel hits at the sentencing hearing.

My work is not done, and will not be done until changes are made. But, at least I will be getting sleep and not dealing with those nightmares - tragically, until those changes are made- other victim/survivors will go sleepless, filled with anxiety and fighting nightmares.

We can and should do better, Wisconsin!



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