Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Marissa Alexander: Misreporting & Victim Blaming in Domestic Violence

Marissa Alexander has accepted a plea deal. This is the official statement from the Free Marissa website:

Today, Marissa Alexander has chosen to accept a plea deal with the State of Florida.  The plea deal includes time served (1,030 days), an additional 65 days in Duval County Jail which will begin today, and two years of probation while wearing a surveillance monitor. Marissa Alexander is a black mother of three from Jacksonville, Florida who, nine days after prematurely giving birth, was forced to defend her life from a brutal life-threatening attack by her estranged husband, and subsequently prosecuted by State Prosecutor Angela Corey.  Alexander, her legal team, and thousands of supporters were preparing for a likely difficult trial to begin this December.  If found guilty, she would have faced a mandatory 60 year sentence.

The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign supports Marissa Alexander’s self-determination to make the best choices she can while navigating the violent and impossible circumstances created by her abusive husband, Angela Corey, and Florida’s judicial system.  “The plea deal is a relief in some ways, but this is far from a victory,” said Alisa Bierria, from the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign.  “The deal will help Marissa and her family avoid yet another very expensive and emotionally exhausting trial that could have led to the devastating ruling of spending the rest of her life in prison.  Marissa’s children, family, and community need her to be free as soon as possible.  However, the absurdity in Marissa’s case was always the fact that the courts punished and criminalized her for surviving domestic violence, for saving her own life.  The mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years, and then 60 years, just made the state’s prosecution increasingly shocking.  But we have always believed that forcing Marissa to serve even one day in prison represents a profound and systemic attack on black women’s right to exist and all women’s right to self-defense.”

Marissa Alexander's arrest is a travesty and represents all that is wrong with a racist and misogynist criminal justice system which criminalises women for surviving domestic violence. A truly just system would not have seen a woman who had just given birth to a premature infant arrested, never mind convicted for protecting herself from an abusive partner.

We are utterly disgusted by coverage of her plea deal which appears in the First Coast News:

 Facing a possible 60 years in prison for firing a gun at her estranged husband and his two sons, Marissa Alexander agreed Monday to a plea deal that effectively ends the four-year old criminal case against her.

She was not arrested for firing a gun at her abusive husband who had strangled her and threatened to kill her. Nor was she arrested for firing a weapon at her children. Marissa Alexander fired a warning shot into the ceiling to stop a brutal attack. Media coverage which fails to accurately report Alexander's criminal case is victim blaming. It erases the true perpetrator and, instead, blames a new mother with three children for being a survivor of domestic violence.

 

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One thought on “Marissa Alexander: Misreporting & Victim Blaming in Domestic Violence

  • Suzi says:

    Every time I think I’ve seen, heard and read it all and can no longer be shocked, something else comes along to shock me. This is absolutely unbelieveable. What did they expect her to do, just submit and die? Something is seriously wrong here and they need to review and change their laws.