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Gehanna
07-11-2008, 06:15 PM
I am about to begin writing a speech that I hope none of you will ever have to write. This speech is what is known as a Victim Impact Statement. The purpose of this statement is to express the impact a crime has had on you and those close to you.

My daughter and I will both be writing one. The situation involves a Predator (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=85747). The link will take you to a thread where I sought support for the ordeal.

I want to point out that my request for the Public Speaking & Education Forum was not motivated by this circumstance. I did not know that my daughter and I would be allowed to write an impact statement until yesterday. To some degree, the coincidence seems to have been predetermined. If so, I am grateful to God for it.

As with any crime, the impact is of such a magnitude that I do not know where to begin. Neither do I know how to help my daughter begin. It is with certainty that I hope none of you will ever have to write this kind of speech.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

katiemac
07-11-2008, 11:14 PM
Gehanna, I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. This is not going to be an easy speech to write. However, I'll try to help if possible.

Were you given any guidelines?

It might sound very silly, but my best advice is to begin with a thesis statement about how you feel overall. (My family and I are victims of ___, ____ and ____.) Think about this as a three-paragraph essay (or more). Break down how you felt (chronologically, perhaps?) using strong, expressive topic sentences and filling out the rest of the paragraph with support analysis. Alternate, maybe, a paragraph where you describe in detail what happened pont-by-point, with another follow up paragraph to discuss how those points made you and your daughter feel like victims.

I'm not sure if you're allowed anecdotes if this is used for evidence, but keep in mind those may be useful in conveying your emotions.

Again, I'm very sorry you're having to deal with this. But let me know if you need any more help.

KCH
07-12-2008, 01:35 AM
I'm so very sorry, Gehanna.

As with any speech, keep the eye on the prize: focus on the precise things you want to accomplish--which is to impact the sentencing and parole terms, and receive adequate, fair financial restitution, if available. Resist emotional catharsis and hyperbole. Evil is best seen for what it is when it is naked.

Picked this up from a Google search:

WHAT A VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT SHOULD INCLUDE


-A *brief* summary of the harm or trauma suffered by the victim as a result of the crime. An effective statement is approximately 3-5 minutes in length.
-A summary of the economic loss or damage suffered by the victim as a result of the crime. Include requests for restitution for out-of-pocket expenses.
-The victim's reactions or objections to the proposed sentence. Jail, prison, work release, and community service can be addressed.
-A concise statement of what outcome the victim would like and the reasons to support this opinion, including support for or opposition to treatment or community service programs.
-Highlights about the victim. Their past accomplishments, hopes for the future, and what the crime has done to curtail these activities.
-The overall effect the critical incident has had on the victim and family.

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:MJW2RVQ_A7kJ:www.letswrap.com/legal/impact.htm+%22victim+impact+statement%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

My sincerest sympathies and very best wishes to you.

Gehanna
07-13-2008, 12:25 AM
My thanks to katiemac and KCH.

I've begun by developing an organized time line of events to reflect on. While time consuming, it has not been difficult to do. This is because I've been keeping a record of everything related to our case.

My main concern now is how to keep this Impact Statement from turning into a dissertation for which I will not receive a doctoral degree.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

Gehanna
07-13-2008, 02:15 AM
Here is another thought on the matter of writing an impact statement.

Victims know well enough the devastation crime has had on them and on society. What appears to be lacking is due diligence from those who perpetrate.

Have those who perpetrate expend their own mental energies pondering, researching, and writing about the hideous impact of their crimes. Cause them to produce written documentation as evidence of effort made to address the harm they caused.

The results of crime do not matter to perpetrators who lack a conscience. What then would an impact statement written by their victims matter to them?

I suggest that the statement be made an issue of significance for the perpetrators. Have them write impact statements to the satisfaction, within reason, of the victims.

If the perpetrators are illiterate, do they not have time for learning in prison? Would it not be time spent wisely?

Sincerely,
Gehanna

Appalachian Writer
07-13-2008, 05:27 AM
Gehanna,
I came late to this thread. I've read it all, and weep for your and your daughter. I understand your situation. I will pray for your considerable talent as a writer to allow you to truly express the impact of these past events. I shall also pray for God's holy covering, that He sends the warmth of His love to blanket you against your enemies. All we can do is fight the good fight and wait for the Master to say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Pup
07-13-2008, 07:17 AM
The results of crime do not matter to perpetrators who lack a conscience. What then would an impact statement written by their victims matter to them?

I thought an impact statement wasn't meant to affect the perpetrator directly, but instead was for the court, which would then take it into consideration during sentencing? So the best use of the statement would be to convince the court to apply the appropriate punishment (however you define that), which would then affect the perpetrator. I'm not a lawyer, so someone please set me straight if I'm wrong on that!


I suggest that the statement be made an issue of significance for the perpetrators. Have them write impact statements to the satisfaction, within reason, of the victims.

You could request that that be part of the sentence, but I have no idea if there's any chance of that being ordered by a judge.

I wonder if folks with experience could suggest what might be the best way to convince the court to have the perpetrator suffer the maximum punishment and/or get you the maximum restitution, as KCH has done? I really like KCH's advice, by the way.

It's like any kind of negotating. It's good to ask specifically for the most that you hope to get, like having the victim be forced to write an impact statement to your satisfaction, but if there's not much chance of a judge ordering that, it might also help to ask specifically, in addition, for what you might realistically expect to settle for, like having the judge order the maximum allowable fine or jail term. I'm not sure how much leeway judges have.

Don Allen
07-13-2008, 08:21 AM
If I may offer something.... Don't sit down to write a piece as you would for the profession, just talk it out the way it feels and let the emotions write the words.
I understand how difficult something like this must be for you, I wish you the best.....don.

Gehanna
07-13-2008, 06:27 PM
The prosecuting attorney said to me, "I assumed you would walk in here and say, 'Let him burn!'"

My daughter and I are not seeking revenge nor do we hate this man. The problem is that what she and I want, we can not have. What we want is a guarantee that we will be safe from him for the rest of our lives.

Once all is said and done, will there be any guarantee that he will not do this again to another? No, there is no guarantee for anyone.

I do appreciate all the replies.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

Yeshanu
08-03-2008, 07:31 PM
Gehenna, it's going to take me some time to formulate my complete response to your predicament, but know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. What you have to do is indeed one of the most difficult tasks one can do, because you have to re-live the terror. Take your time. Seek out emotional, physical, and mental support from others as you work for this.

I'm a member of the United Church of Canada, and our creed says, in part:

We are not alone
We live in God's world

...

In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.

We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.

Remember that as you go about your daily life. You are not alone. God is with you. We are with you. :Hug2:

soleary
08-03-2008, 07:41 PM
As a child victim, I applaud you for writing what I didn't have the opportunity to. You are a writer. Let the words paint the picture of the pain you and your daughter suffered.

God bless.

Gehanna
08-04-2008, 06:29 AM
My daughter and I no longer have this opportunity. There was no trial because a plea agreement was reached. Due to political influence, an impact statement will have no bearing on the established consequences.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

Teena
09-14-2008, 08:13 AM
My daughter and I no longer have this opportunity. There was no trial because a plea agreement was reached. Due to political influence, an impact statement will have no bearing on the established consequences.

Sincerely,
Gehanna


Gehanna,
I just wandered onto your posts and hope that whatever the outcome, it was sufficient. I know there is nothing that will ever truly make it "right."
In a way you have been cheated because you didn't get to express the damage done in the present and how it will impact your future. Could I suggest that you write a letter to the judge (similar to a victim statement) and perhaps s/he will take your thoughts to heart when sentencing the next predator. It may be healing for you and your daughter to get the emotions out. Were I a judge, this would be something I would keep and refer to in the future.

All the best to you and your daughter -- thoughts and prayers for peace of mind.

How2writer
11-23-2008, 03:52 AM
My daughter and I no longer have this opportunity. There was no trial because a plea agreement was reached. Due to political influence, an impact statement will have no bearing on the established consequences.

Gehanna,

You may not see this but I write Victim Impact Statements for clients (and edit their first drafts) and I have delivered them orally in court. As a result I now post them on my web site (CrisisBrainstorm.com) for all the world to see. You may want to do this too, as you were robbed of the opportunity to voice your pain.

Andrea

Gehanna
11-23-2008, 08:32 AM
Hello How2writer,

Thank you for your reply. While I appreciate your suggestion, I do not feel I was robbed of opportunity. I expressed my pain all over these forums.

My family and I have moved well beyond the pain. Retrospection is not difficult for us. Our memories are of Victory!

It is said that misery loves company but, with the right kind of company, misery can be defeated. God given Victory is what I want people to see.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

How2writer
11-23-2008, 11:45 PM
I'm glad everything turned out the way you wanted. I guess I didn't read the whole story.

Andrea

Gehanna
11-24-2008, 07:42 PM
Thank you How2writer. :)

I would have been out of line to assume that you had read each of the posts I made.

For the most part, I am one of those kamikaze type of AW members. You know, the kind who come out of nowhere and crash their posts into the forums. I don't think there is anyone who regularly reads the posts I make. If that ever happened, I would have to start considering my audience. :e2writer:

Sincerely,
Gehanna

roncouch
11-24-2008, 07:58 PM
Just now reading this thread. Despite all that's happened, it proves God will never give us more than we can handle.

Ron

MarkHill
01-03-2009, 03:49 PM
I never had this opportunity before. But i think its really good to prepare your speech.

Architectlink
09-23-2009, 08:17 AM
My daughter and I are not seeking revenge nor do we hate this man. The problem is that what she and I want, we can not have. What we want is a guarantee that we will be safe from him for the rest of our lives.

Once all is said and done, will there be any guarantee that he will not do this again to another? No, there is no guarantee for anyone.


Gehanna
1. I pray for your peace and comfort and I offer a few thoughts for those who do have to prepare a speech link this. I now realize this post is a year old, but we all may be faced with this sort of conflict someday. I have been on a jury where we almost didn't find the fellow guilty of drunk driving, but once we voted on the evidence, THEN we found out he had already been arrested over 25 times for drunk driving, and they didn't tell us if he had killed anyone in any of his episodes. What you say has an impact on the jury and all involved.

2. With that thought, If you google James Dobson (I can't find it right now) but I recall a show where facts were given that by the time someone is caught doing something, they usually practiced it and committed that crime dozens and even hundreds of times...therefore, whatever has happened to your family may already have happened to many previously....this person may have committed this crime so often that they are actually thankful to be caught...and your steadfastness is doing them a favor, as well as other families from future heartache. Leopards don't change their spots and it is up to you to remind the jury of this.

3. I also believe that criminal activity is on an increasing continum, therefore you have the ability to stop this person before they get worse.

May the Lord protect and guide you and give you great wisdom to protect your family and society in this endeavor.