Dear Editor,

Wisconsin crime victims recently got a huge victory thanks to Senator Scott Fitzgerald, Reps. John Jagler and Barbara Dittrich, and other legislators. In May, the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly voted overwhelmingly in support of a bipartisan victims’ rights Constitutional Amendment known as Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin, sending it before Wisconsin voters in a statewide ballot in April of next year.

As a sexual assault survivor, I know how hard it is to be thrown into an intimidating legal process and to not feel like your voice is heard. Throughout this difficult process, I often had little to no notice of hearings or what the status of my case was. I was not notified until days after my attacker was released on bail. My offender was originally facing a 40-year sentence, and it was plead down to 6 months, with all to be stayed except for the first 90 days. I was not even allowed to attend his final assessment for release hearing, and I left the court system feeling as if it was not worth the time and pain I spent and that I was immediately forgotten about. Through this process, I saw firsthand how limited victims’ rights are in our current legal system, and the need to strengthen those rights.

That’s why I’m proud to be one of the many survivors who have joined in support of Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin. I believe Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin will help crime victims the most by just giving them back a little bit of the power and voice that was taken away from them. We didn’t ask to be victims or to go through the court system, it was thrust on us when the crime was committed. Marsy’s Law gives victims knowledge, notice, and a voice in a system where it is often difficult to get.

I’d like to express my sincere thanks to area legislators Fitzgerald, Jagler and Dittrich for supporting Marsy’s Law. I’m grateful to them and all of our lawmakers for coming together to clear this final legislative hurdle and move Wisconsin closer to making equal rights for crime victims a reality.

Now it is time for Wisconsin’s voters to have the final say on Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin. I look forward to voting to support equal rights for crime victims, and I urge my fellow community members to do the same.

Gabrielle Stathus

Oconomowoc

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