Survivors In Action applauds Jennifer Schuett: surviving rape and assault
Posted Oct 15 2009 10:04pm
By Toni Collinson
Survivors In Action, New Zealand Volunteer
On August 10, 1990, in the town of Dickinson, Galveston County, Texas, a little girl went missing. The last time her mother had seen her was 2.30am, when Jennifer had shifted from her mother’s bedroom, and gone back to her own. Jennifer Schuett, an 8 year old, had been abducted from her bedroom by a man who said his name was ‘Dennis’. She was wearing pink shorts and a t-shirt, and was told that Dennis was an undercover police officer. Her abductor made her sit on his lap while he drove her to a location that was unknown to her. The next time Jennifer was seen was at 6.30pm, the same day of her disappearance. She was found in an empty field, naked, with her throat cut from ear to ear. She had been raped, and her voice box had been severed. Jennifer was rushed to University of Texas Medical Branch Hospital in Galveston, Texas, where she stayed for 14 days. Jennifer Schuett has shown that she is a true fighter. Lying in an empty field, alone, she fought for her life. After being in hospital for only 2 days, she started writing notes to her mother, explaining that the man who abducted her called himself ‘Dennis’, already wanting to find her attacker. And up until her attacker was found, she fought to identify and expose the man who had caused her such horrific injuries, both physical and emotional. Even though Jennifer had been a victim of such a violent and intimate crime, she still chose to make her name known to the public, in the hope of finding the man who had done this to her. It is extremely difficult for victims of crimes such as rape and sexual assault to speak out, but Jennifer Schuett has done this, and has shown enormous bravery in doing so. She has grown from a little girl into a beautiful woman, and all the fighting she has done over the last 19 years has finally paid off. In January 2008, Detective Tim Cromie of the Dickinson Police Department, was assigned Jennifer Schuett’s case. DNA evidence was sent to a lab in Quanitco, where tests showed a positive match to a 40 year old man by the name of Dennis Earl Bradford. Finally, on October 13, 2009, an arrest was made. After a long 19 year wait, justice had finally prevailed. Jennifer’s story shows that hope exists for everyone. That you shouldn’t give up, no matter how hard it gets. We need to remember that those who work in the public service; from the beat cop, to the investigator, to the victim witness advocate; will continue to leave no stone unturned in order to give victims some sense of relief, and ensure that attackers are brought to justice. These jobs are invaluable, and are extremely important in order to ensure that ‘No Victim is Left Behind’. Jennifer stated to CNN, “I am not a victim, but instead, victorious”, and she has truly shown evidence of this to the world. The fact that this little girl, who has now grown into a beautiful woman, has been able to assist authorities and continue to be brave for 19 long years, is what makes Jennifer Schuett such a ‘Survivor In Action’. How brave Jennifer has been after all these years, even at the tender age of 8, and the way she has been able to continue to thrive, is simply amazing. Thank you Jennifer, for showing what a true ‘Survivor In Action’ you are, and for making your story known to the world. You story will help to aid millions of victims of rape and sexual assault each year, and will also be a continued reminder that ‘No Victim is Left Behind’. You are truly heroic, and have shown that it is never too late for justice to be served.