Yesterday on my radio show, "Time's Up!," I talked to Dawn Schiller about how her life circumstances led her to a relationship with porn star, John Holmes. It was frank, and it was important for listeners to know the truth about how this grooming process and control happens to teens. Dawn and I discussed the case of Sara Kruzan, and concluded that it could very well be Dawn, or any number of throwaway teens in this same position. Sara Kruzan may be guilty of killing another human being, but this human being (and I use that term lightly) took away much more of Sara's life. What's fair and just?
Sixteen-year-old human trafficking victim Sara Kruzan was sentenced to life in prison without parole when, in a desperate act to escape captivity, she shot her pimp. When Sara met G.G., the 31-year-old man who would become her pimp, she was only 11. G.G. groomed Sara two years before he raped her. By then, his control was complete and he forced her into prostitution. Sara and the other girls who G.G. exploited were out on the streets from 6pm to 6am, every night. Twelve hours a night, seven days a week, for three years, Sara was raped by strangers so G.G. could profit. After three years, she snapped, and she killed him.
Now 32, Sara has spent half her life in prison as a model prisoner, and has asked Gov. Schwarzenegger for clemency. Sara was arrested and tried in 1994, before anyone was using the term "human trafficking" and when the country was still struggling to understand issues like domestic violence and pimp control that give one person coercive control over another. So there was no expert witness at Sara's trial to explain how her years of repeated rape, trauma, and abuse had affected her actions. There was no expert to tell the jury that with counseling, support, and care, Sara could heal from her traumatic past and grow to be a strong and moral woman.
Sara's clemency plea has been submitted to Gov. Schwarzenegger, and the decision of whether or not to release her with time served rests solely with him. Sara Kruzan deserves hope. She deserves hope that she didn't survive being raped and sold for three years for nothing. She deserves hope that the darkest chapter of her life has passed, and a horizon lies ahead. She deserves hope that she can change, grow, and flourish as a woman. But in life without parole, there is no hope.
If you live and are a resident in the United States please click below and sign the petition for Sara:
Tell Gov. Schwarzenegger that human trafficking victims deserve support and care, not prison. Ask him to release Sara with time served.
(Susan Murphy Milano, is with the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Psychopathy Education for more information visit http://www.saferelationships.com/ and is the author of the new book "Time's Up A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships available for purchase at the Institute, Amazon.com and where ever books are sold. And she is the host of Time's Up on http://www.herewomentalk.com/ and she is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated show with Dr. Laurie Roth on http://www.therothshow.com/)
Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit by Susan Murphy Milano from the Book "Time's Up" from Courage Network on Vimeo.