And Help End the Criminalization of Survivors
Shantonio Hunter is a black mother and survivor of domestic violence from Nashville who is being unjustly prosecuted for the death of her three-year-old son Elijah because she was unable to control her abuser. She has been incarcerated for the past four years while awaiting trial for charges of felony murder, aggravated child abuse and child neglect. She has been incarcerated for the past four years while awaiting trial for charges of felony murder, aggravated child abuse and child neglect.
Community advocates are organizing and urging Nashville DA Glenn Funk to dismiss all charges against Shantonio so that she can begin to grieve, heal and rebuild her life. They welcome organizations to endorse the letter by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more background on the criminalization of survivors through “failure to protect” laws and charges, see: “Child Abuse by Omission: How American Law Holds Mothers Responsible for Their Partners’ Crimes,” “Battered, Bereaved, and Behind Bars,”and “Why is California Keeping Kelly Savage in Prison for a Crime She Didn’t Commit?”
How You Can Support the Effort to #FreeShantonio Now:
1. Love Letters to Shantonio: Send her a note of support and encouragement as she heads to trial next week.
5115 Harding Pl.
Nashville, TN 37211
2. Write the DA’s Office: Send an e-mail to Davidson County District Attorney General Glenn R. Funk (email@example.com) urging him to dismiss all charges against Shantonio because:
- Prosecuting Shantonio goes against the city and DA’s Office’s professed commitment to better serve victims of domestic violence in Nashville.
- It is victim blaming to punish victims of domestic violence for the actions of their abusers.
- The most dangerous time for victims of domestic violence is when they try to leave.
- Shantonio did not “fail to protect” her child, she was unable to control a person who used abusive power against her and her child.
- Domestic violence is isolating and it is common for victims of domestic violence to hide the abuse from others. Prosecuting survivors only further isolates them from the resources that they need.
- Prosecuting and incarcerating domestic violence victims puts courts and prisons in the same punitive role as their batterers.
3. Court Support: Come to court and show community support for Shantonio. We would especially like to have people there in support for her on Monday, July 3rd, at 9 AM. Her trial will likely begin the second week of July.
Justice A.A. Birch Building
408 2nd Ave. N.
Nashville, TN 37201
Court and parking directions, here.