Marsy's Law Would Have Made A Difference In My Case - Tiffany's Story
My name is Tiffany and I’m a sexual assault survivor. After struggling in silence, I finally found the strength to come forward and hold my offender accountable. Unfortunately, my participation in the criminal justice system was to become my re-victimization. Even though I was the one that been violated, I was the one that was still dealing with the aftermath of the violence and the assault; I had no voice in the process.
Recently, I testified in support of CACR 22 - Marsy's Law for NH - in front of a joint House committee that later vote to kill this important amendment without even considering fixes that addressed their concerns. I wish the committee was more careful to listen and weigh everyones testimony and if the was more careful to listen and weigh everyones testimony and if the consensus is they did not hear from victims how Marsy's Law would change anything for them they really did not listen.
My experience, perspective, or safety was not taken into account when the prosecutor offered my offender a plea deal – a plea deal which erased his violent acts as if they never happened. A plea deal that removed nearly all accountability for what was done to me.
When my rights were violated or not taken into account, the best I could get was an “I’m sorry.” I understand that this was the case because I only had statutory rights, without any enforcement mechanism or teeth behind them. Due to the fact that my rights were not guaranteed and were not enshrined in the Constitution, I wasn’t able to receive the necessary recourse.
Ultimately, the Attorney General’s Office stepped in and worked tirelessly on my case. I finally felt like someone saw me, listened to me, and was willing to fight for me.
I’m grateful for the hardworking attorneys and advocates operating within our state’s Department of Justice. I have seen firsthand how much they do to keep the most vulnerable Granite Staters safe and to ensure victims are not on the outside of the system looking in. I didn’t have a negative experience because of the committed people working within our criminal justice system; I felt re-victimized because the system was set up that way.
CACR 22 would have made a tremendous difference in my case. Even though it’s too late to change what happened to me, I’m here today to make sure we learn from our mistakes and recognize the imbalance that currently exists within our system. I want my story to make a difference. I want every victim and survivor in New Hampshire to know that when they come forward they will be heard, they will be part of the process, and they will be safe. I deserved equal rights to the man who raped me – no more and no less.
We have incredible county attorneys, prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and advocates working across the state who want to keep victims safe and want to restore balance to our criminal justice process. But, right now, we don’t have a system that allows them to do that job. It’s time for that to change.