My Appeal Hearing with the NYS Crime Victims Board
Posted Jan 12 2010 12:00am
Today I traveled into Brooklyn to attend my appeal hearing with the NYS CVB. I presented my case to the panel once again, no new evidence, just the same facts I have been stating to this state agency for a year now. I was sworn in under oath, and I proceeded to explain my injuries and secondary injuries from domestic abuse. I presented the same data, gave the same speech, and within 15 minutes the hearing was over. They informed me that they considered my claim to be "priority" and would have a final answer very soon. Commissioner, Joan Cusack, appeared to understand my case and struggles and seemed very genuine. I can't help but wonder how their decision will be any different from the original decision, a denial. I didn't present anything new, I just showed up and stated the same things I've been singing for the last year: DV cases are different from other cases and victims don't have extensive medical records and police reports to provide the state with as proof.
Whatever the decision will be, it is always difficult for me to relive and verbalize my trauma to people, and this will be the last time I do it. It was difficult today, although I always sound like a robot as I describe this horrific assault. This will be it,though. I'm not fighting for this anymore. I proved my point. I showed up, and said what I needed to. And if it doesn't directly benefit me, then it will benefit the next woman struggling through domestic violence and this agency.
Before I close, I want to say that this state program misunderstands domestic violence, and from what I can see, stalking too. Too many women need help, real assistance, and they are living in a state of crisis, crisis many of us cannot fathom, with laws in place that hold them back. If a woman like this attempts to find assistance through this program, they will be met with great opposition, frustration, and humiliation--many will give up and not seek justice due to the current Crime Victims Compensation claim process. This is reality, and I'm lucky to be more robotic, less weak, more angry, and hungry for justice. Many are broken, tired, and don't have the stamina to go through this claim process, and I hope this changes in the future.
At the end of the hearing, Joan Cusack asked me if my former husband was well-off. The answer, of course, was yes. My husband never lost his health, never lost his home, his job, his dignity...so yes, well-off describes it well. I truly hope NYS Crime Victims Board reevaluates their procedures, finds new ways to process claims from domestic violence victims, and understands the struggle one woman must go through in a violent relationship.