Cali's Story: Amending the Sexual Assault Protection Order Act to Better Protect Victims

Cali Knox shared her experience acquiring a Sexual Assault Protection Order (SAPO) with the House Judiciary Committee in support of HB 1384, a proposed bill that would amend the process of acquiring a SAPO. Included below is a transcript of her speech.

Watch Cali deliver her testimony alongside Representative Roger Goodman (D 45th), Mary Ellen Stone, KCSARC Executive Director, and Andrea Piper-Wentland, WCSAP Executive Director.

Read more about SAPOs and the 2017 Legislative session.

My name is Cali and I'm a sexual abuse survivor. I live in Des Moines. When I was 4 years old, a family member began to sexually abuse me. The abuse took place in Pierce County.  He emotionally terrorized me, as well as physically and sexually abusing me. He would abuse another family member in front of me. He convinced me that he was always watching me to make sure I never told, and he threatened to kill my family if I were to tell. The abuse went on for over a year before I finally got the courage to tell my parents.

After I told, I lived in fear for years. I became violent toward my family. My parents got me counseling and gave up their jobs to stay at home and help me recover. They made a police report, but the file got lost. Working through this has been a lifelong journey, and I still struggle with anxiety from the abuse.

In 2015, my parents told me that my abuser had moved only a few blocks from my house. I was 17 years old, and was just gaining a sense of independence, but knowing that my abuser lived so close to me made me feel scared. When I heard about the option for a protection order, it gave me hope.

I was anxious about facing my abuser in court, and having all the memories flood back. I was especially afraid because I didn't want him to see me weak. The first time I went to court, the judge denied my order. He said too much time had gone by, and that it wasn't necessary for me to get the order. I felt crushed.

Two weeks later, KCSARC got us in touch with a lawyer who wrote a letter to the judge, asking him to change his mind. I went back to court, and my order was granted that time. I was relieved to have something that might prevent my abuser from harming me.

Cali Knox testifying at the House Judiciary Committee.

A few weeks ago, I went to court again to get the order renewed. I was afraid of seeing my abuser again, and my family was stressed leading up to the court date. I was glad when he didn't show up, but it was still a very tough experience. It's hard to think about having to go back every 2 years.

Thank you for listening to my story. I hope you'll pass this law. It would mean so much to me, and many other survivors. Thank you.


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