Drop All Charges Against Incarcerated Trafficking Survivor Chrystul Kizer!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!


SUMMARY

Chrystul Kizer is an incarcerated trafficking survivor who is being charged with life in prison for acting in self-defense against her trafficker. The punishment that Chrystul is facing for defending her own life signals that black women and girls have no selves to defend. Right now Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley has the power to drop all charges against Chrystul immediately. We are urging Graveley to do the right thing and drop all charges now so that instead of enduring more violence, Chrystul's healing can being with her family and community. Please show your support for Chrystul by signing this petition! Her next hearing is scheduled for February 21, 2019.

BACKGROUND

At 17-years old, Chrystul was trafficked by Randall P. Volar III from Milwaukee to Kenosha, Wisconsin where she experienced ongoing physical and sexual abuse. Volar was under active investigation by the Kenosha Police Department for sexual conduct with additional underage girls prior to his death. In the state of Wisconsin, people under the age of 18 years old are not able to consent to engage in sexual activity therefore, any “sexual conduct” Volar had with these girls, including Chrystul, was sexual violence.

According to Chrystul and her legal counsel, on June 5, 2018 Chrystul resisted Volar’s attempts to forcibly engage in sexual activity. During this struggle, Chrystul shot Volar in an act of self-defense. Chrystul has been charged, wrongfully, for surviving violence. She is being criminalized for staying alive.

Chrystul’s criminalization fits the pattern of Black people in general and Black women and girls specifically being denied the right to self-defense in US legal systems. Black girls and women are not seen by courts or society more broadly as being vulnerable to violence, even though they experience disproportionate levels of violence compared to white women and girls. Overall, Black/African American girls are 3.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than white girls. Studies by the ACLU show that the majority of girls in juvenile detention have experienced both physical and sexual assault prior to their incarceration. In a study by the Medical College of Wisconsin on sex trafficking in the city of Milwaukee (2013-16), 65% of victims under age 25 were Black/African American and 24% were white. Further, studies on women in prison demonstrate that women who are victims of abuse are more likely to be in prison for a violent offense than incarcerated women who had not been victims of abuse.

DA Graveley has stated to members of the public and media outlets that Chrystul was merely “hired as a prostitute,” “involved in a business transaction,” and that she had “come to this community from another [to kill her trafficker].” These statements and the charges against Chrystul signal to her family and the larger community that Black women and girls do not live lives worth saving. Chrystul was a child and was being victimized and sexually exploited by an adult. Black girls have the right to resist sexual violence and the right to survive.

Child sex trafficking survivors, including Chrystul, need community and comprehensive support to heal from the trauma and violence they have endured. Incarceration at this young, formative age does not provide needed healing, it compounds trauma. In no report on child sex trafficking that we are aware of is incarceration a recommended approach to healing survivors - rather, experts on child sex trafficking have highlighted incarceration as a problem survivors face. Chrystul should not spend the rest of her life in prison.  In Chrystul Kizer’s case, justice means dropping all charges so she can be released immediately. 

Letter to District Attorney Michael D. Graveley

Michael D. Graveley

Kenosha County District Attorney

Molinaro Building

912 56th Street

Kenosha, WI 53140

Dear District Attorney Michael D. Graveley,

We are writing to you regarding an urgent matter of justice: dropping charges against child sex trafficking survivor, Chrystul Kizer.

At 17 years old, Chrystul was trafficked by Randall P. Volar III from Milwaukee to Kenosha, Wisconsin where she experienced ongoing physical and sexual abuse. As you know, other girls were also victimized by Volar, as he was under active investigation by the Kenosha Police Department for sexual conduct with underage girls prior to his death. In the state of Wisconsin, people under the age of 18 years old are not able to consent to engage in sexual activity. Therefore, any “sexual conduct” Volar had with these girls, including Chrystul, was sexual violence.

According to Chrystul and her legal counsel, on June 5 2018 Chrystul resisted Volar’s attempts to forcibly engage in sexual activity. During this struggle, Chrystul shot Volar in an act of self-defense. Chrystul has been charged, wrongfully, for surviving violence. She is being criminalized for staying alive.

Chrystul’s criminalization fits the pattern of Black people in general, and Black women and girls specifically, being denied the right to self-defense in US legal systems. Black girls and women are not seen by courts or society more broadly as being vulnerable to violence, even though they experience disproportionate levels of violence compared to white women and girls. Consider that overall, Black/African American girls are 3.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than white girls. Studies by the ACLU show that the majority of girls in juvenile detention have experienced both physical and sexual assault prior to their incarceration. In a study by the Medical College of Wisconsin on sex trafficking in the city of Milwaukee (2013-16), 65% of victims under age 25 were Black/African American and 24% were white. Further, studies on women in prison demonstrate that women who are victims of abuse are more likely to be in prison for a violent offense than incarcerated women who had not been victims of abuse.

In your statements to members of the public and to the media about Chrystul’s case, you have indicated that Chrystul was merely “hired as a prostitute,” “involved in a business transaction,” and that she had “come to this community from another [to kill her trafficker].” These statements and the charges against Chrystul signal to her family and the larger community that Black women and girls do not live lives worth saving. Chrystul was a child and was being victimized and sexually exploited by an adult. Black girls have the right to resist sexual violence and the right to survive.

In Chrystul Kizer’s case, justice means dropping all charges so she can be released immediately. Child sex trafficking survivors, including Chrystul, need community and comprehensive support to heal from the trauma and violence they have endured. Incarceration at this young, formative age does not provide needed healing; it only compounds trauma. In no report on child sex trafficking that we are aware of is incarceration a recommended approach to healing survivors - rather, experts on child sex trafficking have highlighted incarceration as a problem survivors face. Chrystul should not spend the rest of her life in prison. You have the power to undo the further injustice Chrystul is being subjected to for staying alive. We urge you to make the right choice.

Sincerely,

#FreeChrystul Defense Committee

African American Roundtable (Milwaukee)

Black Youth Project 100: Milwaukee Chapter

Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation

Chicago Community Bond Fund

Freedom, Inc.

Hmong American Women's Association

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin

[More organizations to be added.]



Today: #FreeChrystul Defense Committee is counting on you

#FreeChrystul Defense Committee needs your help with “Kenosha County DA Michael Graveley: Drop All Charges Against Incarcerated Trafficking Survivor Chrystul Kizer!”. Join #FreeChrystul Defense Committee and 2,116 supporters today.