March 19, 2020 — WCASA is in solidarity with local organizers in the Milwaukee community in advocating for the release of Chrystul Kizer. Chrystul is a sex trafficking victim who has experienced and is living with the impacts of trauma. Now, she is facing a potential life sentence as punishment for surviving sexual violence.
Far too often, survivors of violence—especially girls and women of color—are criminalized for defending themselves. Survived & Punished reports that 60% of people incarcerated in women’s prisons nationwide have experienced sexual or physical violence prior to being incarcerated. Committed to centering women of color in our work, WCASA also acknowledges the racism involved in Chrystul’s story. Girls of color experience a higher burden of sexual violence, are more likely to be incarcerated for their response to trauma, and are less likely to have access to justice and healing services. This issue extends far beyond Milwaukee; it impacts women and girls throughout Wisconsin and the U.S.
Chrystul’s case should be of the utmost importance to those of us working to end sexual violence. It is our role to challenge systems, call attention to responses that harm victims, and defend the best interests of survivors.
WCASA is grateful to follow the leadership of community organizers of the #FreeChrystul Defense Committee. We ask you to join WCASA in the following actions, provided to us by the Defense Committee:
- Endorse the Letter to Kenosha County District Attorney (DA) Michael Graveley. Individuals can sign on here. Organizations should email firstname.lastname@example.org to have your organization added to the letter.
- Call or Email DA Graveley in Support of Chrystul. Let DA Graveley know directly that Chrystul should not be punished for surviving violence; she should be supported and have opportunities to begin a healing journey in her community. Phone: (262)-653-2400. Email: Michael.Graveley@da.wi.gov
- Pack the Court for Chrystul on April 5, 2019 at 9:30 am. Show Chrystul and the decision makers in her case that Chrystul has broad community support by attending her next preliminary hearing at the Kenosha County Court. The Defense Committee encourages supporters to wear an article of red clothing to signal your support for Chrystul. Please follow the Facebook page (below) as this date approaches for more details. (Also note that the start times of preliminary hearings can sometimes be delayed without notice by the court.)
- Reach Across Walls: Send Letters of Support to Chrystul. Let Chrystul know that she is not forgotten, and she is not alone. Chrystul can receive mail at this address: Chrystul Kizer #675639, Taycheedah CI, P.O. Box 1947, Fond Du Lac, WI 54935
- Educate Yourself (and Others) About Chrystul’s Case and the Criminalization of Survivors.
If You Care About Cyntoia Brown, You Should Know Chrystul Kizer’s Name
We Won Clemency for Cyntoia Brown—Now Let’s Free all Survivors
Prison Abolitionist Mariame Kaba on Cyntoia Brown, the First Step Act and NYC Building 4 New Jails (segment 4:35-12:40; Chrystul’s case discussed at 8:20)
Survived & Punished
- Donate to Support Chrystul and Her Family. The Kenosha County DA is choosing to put Chrystul and her family in a situation that burdens them with significant costs beyond the trauma she has already experienced – many of these costs are not measurable, however, some of them are monetary. Please donate to make sure Chrystul has access to commissary items, and Chrystul’s family can visit her and meet other needs while they endure this injustice. See the GoFundMe page.
- Share the #FreeChrystul Campaign Page. Share and follow this page for more updates on Chrystul’s case and the campaign for Chrystul’s freedom. See Facebook and Twitter.
If we—individuals and organizations—consider ourselves advocates for survivors, it is our responsibility to speak up. We ask you to do that today for Chrystul, and for all survivors who are criminalized.
Alma Mann; Ian Henderson; Jessi Corcoran; Kelly Moe Litke; Megan Murray; Nestic Morris; Pennie Meyers; Peter Fiala (WCASA Staff)