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Letter-writing effort to support local incarcerated woman, educate community

Support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault by attending "Letters for Desirae" on November 5-6, 2017 from 4 p.m. -10 p.m. at Lantern Coffee Shop and Bar.
A picture of Desirae Glatfelter with her children

A picture of Desirae Glatfelter with her children /Courtesy of Desirae Glatfelter

On Sunday, November 5, 2017 and Monday, November 6, 2017 from 4 p.m.- 10 p.m., people will gather at Lantern Coffee Shop and Bar to write letters for Desirae Glatfelter.

Glatfelter is a 29-year-old Black woman survivor of domestic violence. She is currently incarcerated at Kent County Jail. She was convicted of aggravated domestic assault of her former partner who had previously abused and assaulted her.

Local organizer Siang'ani Odera heard about her case through the news and reached out to learn more about her situation. Because of my previous work in the community, he invited me to help support Glatfelter. We have met with Glatfelter’s family and Glatfelter herself, and read the documentation of her court hearing. Last month we hosted an informational teach-in at HQ to bring awareness of her story and raise money to support her.

As we covered in the teach-in:

  • The punishment and incarceration of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault is a documented trend.

  • Even mainstream feminist entities established with the goal to serve and protect domestic violence and rape victims have pushed laws that often end up revictimizing those same victims.

  • Even before they are at risk of incarceration, women in domestic violence situations often have few options. 50-75 percent of women who die from domestic violence are murdered after they have left.

  • Poverty and race play a huge factor financially, culturally, and institutionally for survivors of domestic violence as well, with Black women experiencing a higher rate of domestic violence than their white counterparts.

  • In a domestic violence situation, if the victim uses too much force to defend herself, like Glatfelter did, she runs the risk of being seen as the aggressor and charged as such.

  • If the victim doesn’t use enough force in her own defense, the court can use that fact to acquit the accused under the pretext that since the victim did not resist, there was no crime.  The logic is that the abuse or assault did not occur, because someone being abused or assaulted would, naturally, fight back.

  • Joining this are the many issues with police brutality, including rape and assault of women at the hands of police.

Glatfelter is more than just a survivor. She is a mother to three children, a home health aide, and has interest in going to school for cosmetology. She could use all the love and support she can get from the community.

Our goal in organizing these events is to help challenge and change the narrative around domestic violence. The media, community, law enforcement and judicial system too often misunderstand and mishandle these issues. They end up re-victimizing, blaming and punishing victims, especially at these intersection of identities.

At the letter writing, we will provide:

  • Materials (stationery, envelopes, stamps, pens, pencils, etc)

  • More information on her case

  • How-tos on writing to and supporting incarcerated people

Come out to learn more about Glatfelter's story. She needs our love and support, and we all need to get educated on mass incarceration and prison abolition work. Meet other supportive members of the community and learn what can be done!


For event updates, more information and to ask questions, check out the Facebook event here.


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