We stand in support of a brave young survivor of sexual assault
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This petition was inspired by the compassionate students at Bedford, New Hampshire High School. Their efforts to support a young survivor of sexual abuse are both powerful and heartwarming. We’re grateful for their advocacy and we’re now calling on others to join us in standing with a courageous survivor who was failed by numerous professionals across the states of New Hampshire and Vermont.
In recent weeks, a former New Hampshire guidance counselor pleaded guilty to numerous felonious sexual assaults against their 14 year old student. During this guidance counselor’s sentencing hearing, 23 of the her friends and colleagues attended court on her behalf and submitted public letters of support asking the court for leniency. The professionals who supported the convicted predator included camp counselors, therapists, professors, pediatricians, and other guidance counselors. Many of their letters defended her crimes or blamed the victim.
For instance, a sex offender treatment provider wrote to the court:
“Kristie takes full responsibility for her actions with her ‘victim.’ I put this in parentheses because I am aware that her ‘victim’ was truly the pursuer in this case.”
A pediatrician in Concord who worked with Kristie at a children’s camp, but was not involved in this case and therefore did not ever evaluate or interview the child, wrote:
“She is not a threat to others or to society.”
And a friend of Kristie’s who is an attorney who worked with her at the same children’s camp writes:
“Although I know it is now impossible, I would not hesitate for a moment to welcome her back to camp in her capacity as a cabin counselor; she was a treasure.”
The response by these professionals was to jump to the defense of an admitted offender rather than support the child victim. Their actions were met with public outrage from parents, advocates, students, and members of the greater community:
- “Every professional that came forward and defended the actions of Torbick should be held to the same standard and it is critical that each of them receive evidenced-based training and education to ensure they are not creating an environment where children are less likely to report sexual abuse.” (Read full article here)
- "We will continue to stand with this brave victim that came forward and work to make sure that the professionals that defended this offender in this case have access to the training and education that's clearly needed.” (Read full article here)
- “The pain and suffering (the victim) had to go through really strikes a chord with all of us and we don’t want to see any of our peers going through that.” - Bedford High School student. (Read full article here)
We encourage you to sign the petition and include only positive messages of thanks, hope and healing. The petition will be sent to the victim/witness advocate in this case and the survivor will be given the option to read it, when and if the survivor determines that it is helpful to their own individual healing process.
Important note: All survivors heal differently and have unique needs. The petition will only be shared with the survivor if this is something they choose.
The Coalition will also be collecting letters of support that will be sent to the victim/witness advocate in this case and shared with the survivor at their discretion. If you would like to send a letter of support to the victim in this case, please send an electronic copy of the letter to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your letter to the address below:
Survivor Support Letter
PO Box 353
Together we can work to send a strong message to all victims of crime that they are believed and supported.
Today: New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence is counting on you
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