Candid conversation takes place during SHARP training
By Pfc. Lee, Kyoung-yoon
USAG Yongsan Public Affairs
USAG YONGSAN, Seoul - As a former prosecuting attorney, Veraunda I. Jackson invited subject matter experts, professionals and the entire community to join her in a candid conversation about the impact of communication with victims of child abuse, domestic violence and sex crimes, May 10, at the Yongsan Multi-purpose Training Facility (MPTF).
As a graduate of Florida State University College of Law, Veraunda spent five years as a prosecuting attorney in Orlando, Florida. She spent 10 years as a Senior Attorney for the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently serves as the Criminal Justice Coordinator for the Central Region of Florida specializing in missing children and human trafficking. She continues to share her love of the law as an Instructor of law at Valencia College.
Veraunda's speech was titled, "Nobody will believe me." As a victim of rape at the age of 16, Veraunda spoke on the range of emotions that a victim experiences when they feel no one would believe their testimony. People should be able to identify the signs of individuals who are trying to determine whether or not it is safe to tell. Moreover, they should be informed of the repercussions when a victim has tried to tell and has been met with what they perceive as doubt or rejection.
Veraunda also asked the audience to ask one another, "What about me?" This was the premise to her message that the way to stop violent crime is to become involved in one another's lives. First and foremost, the buddy system should be in place to protect one another. Individuals should also be aware of how their decisions will affect their future, either positively or negatively. Finally, people should always be open to being a part of the healing process if a victim approaches them.
To those who have been victims, Veraunda insists, "It's not your shame!" Many victims of sex crimes carry a heavy burden of shame for many years. However, just like Veraunda, this experience can inspire positive action as it did for her in motivating her to become pursue a career like a prosecutor and advocate for both juvenile and adult victims of sex crimes. Veruanda emphasized that victims have to take back the power and realize it is not their shame.