Category: domestic violence

Sexual Abuse Awareness Month Horowitz Law

What Does Sexual Abuse Awareness Month Really Mean To You?

Nowadays, every day and month has been declared something. National Dog Day, National Teachers Day, Black History Month, the list goes on. April has been declared Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But what does that mean exactly? And what does that mean to you? Maybe you know someone that was abused. Maybe you were abused? Maybe you just think it means nothing. We are here to tell you that it means everything.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) was created to bring awareness about what is really going on in our world, communities, neighborhoods, and on our streets, so we can do our best to end sexual violence. However, it is impossible to prevent an issue that nobody knows about. It is also difficult to make people aware of a problem without providing a solution. That is why SAAM was formed. 

This April, the SAAM 2022 campaign continues to build on this vision with a call to action: “Building Safe Online Spaces Together.” This initiative was set in hopes that we can make a difference to build inclusive, safe, and respectful online spaces. Free from bullying, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, assault, and sexual abuse.

The more people know about sexual abuse happening around them, the more we can do collectively. This type of movement actually stemmed from the 1940s and 50s with the civil rights era. Activists began to challenge the status quo in demand of equal rights. The movements have merged over the years, and more and more social activism has come to light. The first rape crisis center was founded in San Francisco in 1971. In the decades following, rallied survivors and advocates called upon legislation for funding to support survivors, such as the Violence Against Women Act of 1993 (VAWA). These monumental changes demonstrated that national efforts promoting sexual violence prevention were needed. 

In the early 2000s, the primary goal of SAAM was awareness — both raising visibility of the teal ribbon and the meaning behind it. By the mid-2000s, SAAM incorporated prevention more heavily, focusing on areas such as communities, workplaces, and college campuses. These campaigns discussed ways that individuals and communities can stop sexual assault before it happens by changing behaviors and promoting respect.

Though each year may have a different theme, they all share the same goals: to raise awareness about sexual assault and share how it can be prevented. Today, we also want to bring emphasis on the survivors and encourage them to tell their stories. The hope is that by hearing them, it will call attention to who the abusers, as well as let others know it’s ok and not to be embarrassed to speak up. In fact, it is one of the bravest acts, and survivors should be applauded. Because of them, we know more and more where the problems lay and work hard to prevent them. Our most powerful tool is the light of truth.

SNAP is an independent, peer network of survivors of sexual abuse that was also created for survivors. A place where victims can share experiences, get help, resources, and promote advocacy. Their main focus is on:

      • Support Survivors
      • Protect Children
      • Protect the vulnerable
      • Heal the wounded
      • Expose the truth

Together we are a unified voice to bring about change by exposing the malignant actions of abusive people and anyone that harms another sexually in any way without consent. This includes people of power, teachers, doctors, nannies, boy scout leaders, religious ministers, and church officials who shield them or are tangentially related to them in any way. Horowitz Law encourages individuals and communities to show their support for survivors of sexual harassment and abuse by wearing teal — the color of sexual violence prevention this month. We want you to tell your story and speak up because we are listening. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing survivors of sexual abuse. We have handled multiple cases of sexual abuse. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, assaulted, raped, or molested, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Greyson's Law

South Florida Mother Fights For Greyson’s Law After the Tragic and Preventable Murder of Her 4-Year-Old Son

After living a parent’s worst nightmare for six months, Ali Kessler, along with an army of Family Court advocates and local politicians, finally received news that Greyson’s Law was filed in the state of Florida. Kessler has been fighting for legislation that would allow judges to remove a child from a home over concerns that one parent is threatening or abusing the other. Kessler said to MSNBC, “I have to fight for my son who can’t fight for himself.”

According to news reports, on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, state Senator Lori Berman of Palm Beach and state Representative Michael Grieco of Miami filed a bill, “Greyson’s Law,” which is the unfortunate product of the tragic death of 4-year-old Greyson Kessler. Greyson was the victim of a murder-suicide involving his father just a couple of months prior, which was 100% preventable.

Days before the murder, Greyson’s mother, Ali Kessler, filed an injunction for a domestic violence petition and an emergency pick-up order with Broward Family Court outlining her imminent fears for her child’s safety. She also included 250 pages of documentation stating she received a text from Mr. Stacey saying he would like to see her head separated from her body, but that he isn’t the violent type. She stated in her evidence, “I fear for my life, my boyfriend’s life, but most importantly, my child’s life.”

In the days leading up to the shooting, Ms. Kessler brought her car into a body shop in which they found a tracker placed on the car by Mr. Stacey. Greyson’s father sent multiple disturbing and threatening text messages to Ms. Kessler, but the injunction was denied stating there wasn’t enough evidence that the child was in danger. The emergency pick-up order that was asked for because Greyson was missing from school was also denied stating “the child is just with his father.”  

Days after Greyson’s murder, Ali Kessler got a stalking injunction approved. This proves that a judge believed Ms. Kessler was in fact in danger, but her child was fine. Kessler had been trying to get a restraining order for domestic violence against Stacey, who had been sending her abusive and threatening text messages for years. Florida law has no formal mechanism that allows for threats directed at a parent to create a nexus with a child. Moreover, “coercive control” is currently not contemplated in Florida domestic violence law, this new bill of legislation would remedy its absence. 

Greyson’s law aims to expand the definition of domestic violence to include Coercive Control, always putting the child first. Proper training for all law officials, judges, lawyers, and custody evaluators needs to be in place in order to decipher the “red flags” shown to keep children safe. 

Grieco and Berman are hoping for bipartisan support in passing the bill into law hopefully by the spring of 2022. 

“Protecting our children must always be at the top of our priority list as legislators. Creating a coercive control definition will help establish the long-known psychological pattern of using mental, emotional, financial and/or other abuses in domestic situations to become quantified in punishable steps by the court, especially as it relates to child custody. Greyson’s life was cut way too short for reasons that were preventable and it is imperative we protect all the other Greyson’s in our state,” Berman said.

State Representative Michael Grieco stated, “Anyone who places a tracker on a co-parent’s vehicle or tells them that their head should be separated from their body’ or that they ‘deserve to die’ should not only be enjoined from contact with the recipient of the stalking or threats but their custodial rights should be immediately evaluated. There have unfortunately been hundreds of preventive cases in the United States in which a disturbed parent murdered their child in a twisted effort to punish the other parent or themselves, but Senator Berman and I have now chosen to prioritize this issue here in our state. Florida law failed Greyson and Ali, and the passage of HB 781 will hopefully prevent another tragedy.”

Kessler, a digital marketing consultant, has been feverishly dedicating much of her time to the forming of Greyson’s Law, Greysonschoice.org, and other advocacy efforts so that this travesty doesn’t happen to other children and families. You can show support to honor Greyson by purchasing a Mom + Gigs shirt, and loved ones created a GoFundMe page to assist Kessler with her living expenses during her time of need.