Amplified Stories: Victim Impact Statement

AMPLIFIED STORIES is a platform created by KCSARC in order to amplify the voices of survivors of sexual violence. Shared experiences hold the power to validate, heal, and change. The post below was submitted by a survivor who gave KCSARC permission to share their story.

This post contains a story of sexual violence. If at any time, you feel unsafe, need support, or need to talk, please call our 24-Hour Resource Line: 1.888.99.VOICE (1.888.998.6423).

I was gang raped in December 2012. One of my rapists was convicted based on DNA evidence taken from a rape kit. The following is my victim impact statement* (written in 2014):

"It is difficult to describe exactly how this crime has affected my life, because really, there are very few ways that it has not affected my life. Two years ago, I experienced every woman's nightmare. In the middle of the night, I was raped and beaten by the side of the road. For nearly an hour, I screamed and cried, begging for it to stop. I thought I might die that night, and almost wished for it.

In the matter of a few hours I went from being an independent and trusting person, to someone who was too scared to be alone outside. I went from being someone who would smile at strangers on the street, to someone who clutched pepper spray any time a stranger approached. When I saw my story on the news or read about it on the internet, it was as if it had happened to someone else. No one should ever have to beg for their safety the way I did or be made to do the horrible things that I was forced to do.

In the hospital I was warned against even looking in a mirror, because I might be too upset by what I saw. My entire face was swollen and bloody; I had a black eye, a broken cheek bone, and multiple scrapes all over my body. The whites of my eyes were completely red because all the blood vessels were broken. Going home for Christmas one week later and seeing the pain in my family's eyes was the hardest part. I’ve never seen my mom and grandma so devastated, or the men in my life so angry.

For a long time after the attack, I didn’t even feel like a person. I had nightmares and flashbacks on a nightly basis. I felt unsafe in my own home and feared going outside after dark. I eventually had to move out of state because I was too scared to live there. The memory of my rape felt stuck in my body and some days it seemed like the only way I could get rid of it would be to kill myself. I started to believe that if I were dead, I wouldn’t have to remember what happened to me.

I used to hate it when people would tell me how strong I was. I didn't feel strong; I felt like a victim who could barely make it through the day.

I was depressed and afraid, yet people called me brave simply because I lived through the awful things someone else did to me. Two years ago I was raped, and for two years I've been fighting to get that independent and trusting person back. And yet, even with therapy and distance, this crime will affect me for the rest of my life.

I no longer feel anger toward the man who raped me, but I believe he needs to be punished for the role he played in this attack; at least from jail, he won't be able to do this to anyone else."

*Victim impact statements are written or oral statement from victims of a crime, in their own words, about the impact of the crime. KCSARC legal advocates can help survivors prepare their victim impact statements during the sentencing process. Learn more about victim impact statements from the National Center for Victims of Crime.

If at any time, you feel unsafe, need support, or need to talk, please call our 24-Hour Resource Line: 1.888.99.VOICE (1.888.998.6423).


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