Survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence are taking their stories to the steps of an Oklahoma prison this Monday to demonstrate how our criminal justice system not only fails, but actually imprisons survivors.
Tondalo Hall is a survivor of domestic violence currently serving a 30-year prison sentence for “failing to protect” her child from her abusive partner. Her 30-year sentence is 15 times longer than the two years her abuser served. In response to her unfair and cruel punishment, Tondalo has applied for clemency and, depending on the outcome, could be released. On Monday, the Oklahoma Parole and Probation Board will review her case.
While the Board is reviewing Hall’s appeal, The Monument Quilt will be on display outside the Kate Bernard Correctional Facility on Monday June 22nd from 5 to 7pm at 3300 N Martin Luther King Ave in partnership with Ultra Violet.
The Monument Quilt is an on-going collection of stories from survivors of rape and abuse. Written, stitched, and painted onto red fabric, survivors’ stories are displayed in city and town centers to create and demand public space to heal.
In a phone conversation with advocates this week, Tondalo Hall stated that she hopes her story gaining attention helps other women and survivors of domestic violence.
Survivors of domestic violence and Women of Color are routinely punished by the criminal justice system rather than supported. This past February, The Monument Quilt was displayed at Marissa Alexander’s hearing, a Florida woman who served 3 years in prison for firing a warning shot that harmed no one while undergoing a life-threatening attack from her abusive husband. While Alexander should have never spent a day in prison, a national campaign successfully reduced her sentence to 3 years from the 60 years the prosecutor was seeking.
“While Marissa and Tondalo’s stories are shocking and alarming, they are also tragically common. Many survivors of domestic violence, especially women of color, are incarcerated for merely trying to survive. These harsh sentences show that our country still wrongly places survivors at fault for abuse and that Black women have little to no space to be innocent or a ‘perfect victim’,” says Rebecca Nagle, Co-Director of The Monument Quilt.
Survivors, loved ones and supporters are encouraged to add their voice to the Monument Quilt by making a square. To date, over 500 collected quilt squares have been displayed in 17 different cities across the US (read more on CNN and MSNBC). In a culminating display in Washington DC, 6,000 fabric squares will blanket over one mile of the national mall to spell “Not Alone.”