9/22/2011

Victims voices sometimes lost in death row cases

Death row and the death penalty are making headlines The execution of Troy Davis in Georgia is bringing the matter in front of Americans once again. Among the many people who are debating right from wrong there is one group of voices that are being drowned out. The voices of the victims are being drowned out.

I'm not going to debate if rapists should receive a death row sentence. My feelings on that have been made perfectly clear in other blog posts. Instead, this article is about the victims of crime and what they go through.

Crime victims are allowed to deliver a victim impact statement to the court. These can help the court understand the impact of what was done to them. Death row is a hard place for anyone to put another person. Those who understand this reality best are the victims of crime.

Other than in court (and sometimes not even then) we hear the loudest is the view point of the perpetrator's family. Whether they realize it or not they too are victims of crime. I can understand why they protest the death penalty. It has to be hard to have a family member who is on death row. However, it can be just as hard to be a victim of crime.

To me, it's a shame that media doesn't report more on this. The voices of the victims should be louder. But unfortunately, the media doesn't pick up on that sometimes. All too often their thoughts on death row only get a mention and often not even that.

Crime victims live in a death row all their own. They become afraid to leave home, go outside or live. The smallest tasks become overwhelming. It can take lots of support and years for a victim to feel fully recovered. For some rape victims it will take a lifetime to overcome what happened to them.

So should rapists who perpetrate especially aggravated rape be on death row? If the defendant is found guilty and that's what the victim wants, why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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