Fighting Back: One Survivor’s Triumph over Victim Blaming
I am and have been involved in a number of cases where law enforcement and criminal defendants attempt to punish victims of violent crime for reporting the crime and seeking justice. Sara Reedy’s case, discussed here is an excellent example of precisely how survivors, victim advocates and their lawyers should respond—by going on the offensive.
Sara Reedy was assaulted at gunpoint at the gas station where she was working as a cashier. The perpetrator pulled a gun on her, emptied the till and forced her to perform a sex act on him. The detective who interviewed Sara and thought she invented the story to steal money from her employer. While pregnant, she was arrested on theft and false reporting charges. Her perpetrator later admitted to committing a similar sexual assault not long before Sara’s assault and the charges against Sara did not stick.
Sara sued the detective and, after a protracted legal battle, won a $1.5 million settlement. I commend Sara and her legal team for having the courage and fortitude to fight this clear injustice and I believe all of us who advocate for victims of crime should heed the lesson that the only way to really change victim-blaming behavior is to fight back and wins.