Monday, April 6, 2015

Domestic Violence- Marissa Alexander

By: Christina Araviakis

When many people think of domestic violence, they think of physical abuse, but domestic violence is much more than that. Domestic violence can also be sexual, psychological and emotional abuse. This is abuse is usually done for power or control purposes by one partner to another. However, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes. Around 70% of domestic violence cases go unreported, with only 20% of rape cases being reported, and only 25% of physical assault cases being reported. Another major issue is that even for the cases that are reported, the abuser ends up spending very few days in jail, if any.
            The case that I focused on was on Marissa Alexander, a 31 year old from Florida and a mother of two children. In 2010, Marissa’s husband, Rico Gray, attacked her, beat her, and threatened her life multiple times, telling her that he was going to kill her. Scared for her life, Marissa tried to run out of the house, but the garage door wasn’t opening. She then ran to get a gun, to which she had a concealed weapons permit for, to fire a warning shot. The shot hit the ceiling and no one was hurt or killed from it. Gray then called 911, and Marissa was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault.
            Marissa faced 20 years in prison due to Florida’s 10-20-Life Law, which requires that anyone convicted of a crime where he or she fires a gun get at least 20 years in prison. Marissa rejected a plea deal that would only give her three years in jail, instead of the possible 20. She went to trial and her “Stand Your Ground” claim was denied. The Stand Your Ground law says people can use deadly force and do not have to retreat if they think it is necessary to prevent great bodily harm. The jury met for 12 minutes and sentenced her to 20 years in prison for 3 counts of aggravated assault. Marissa spent over 1,000 days in jail and was then released on bail after appealing her case and facing even more jail time. She is now serving two years of house arrest and pays $105 every week for the ankle monitor, and $500 every other week for the bond cost, and Rico Gray got away.
            There are many injustices in this case. The main one being that Marissa Alexander had to spend over 1,000 days in jail for protecting her life when she had a conceal weapons permit, caused no injuries and has no previous criminal record. Also, Florida’s self-defense law includes the right to “Stand Your Ground”, which is exactly what Marissa did. On the other hand, Rico Gray has been charged two other times for domestic battery, and has abused Marissa and his other partners before, all of which wrote letters to the court explaining what Gray had done to them. In the end, Marissa had to serve over 1,000 days in jail, two years house arrest, pay legal fees, pay the house arrest fees, and Rico Gray didn’t get anything.
           I believe there needs to be either harsher punishments or rehabilitation centers or therapy for abusers because there has to be a psychological reason as to why they are so violent, and if they did it once, it is likely that they’ll do it again. I also thin that there needs to be rehab or therapy for the survivors of the abuse because of all the emotional and psychological damage that could have been done. Lastly, I think we need to make it easier for women and men to come forward and report these abuses.
           As for what you can do, you can sign a petition to free Marissa on . You can also Donate to help Marissa pay her legal fees and house arrest fees on: You can also start an anti-violence group or organization and change the way we think and/or talk about violence. We all just need to take action towards theses injustices for domestic violence.  

No comments: