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Stacey Lannert: “No Matter Where You Are, You Can Be at Peace”

Ana Abraham

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If you were in Dodd’s Theater on the night of October 20, you never would have guessed that the woman who was up on stage cracking jokes was the victim of some of the worst

Stacey’s talk, titled “Speaking Out,” was emotional and very real, and at times hard to listen to. She has dedicated her talk and her life to helping victims find their voices,

circumstances imaginable. As Stacey Ann Lannert told her story, the small audience of UNH students listened with rapt attention. Stacey’s talk, titled “Speaking Out,” was emotional and very real, and at times hard to listen to. She has dedicated her talk and her life to helping victims find their voices, based on the events of her past.

Stacey had a childhood that looked like the American middle class average, but was really the farthest thing from it. She was sexually molested and abused by her father from the time she was eight years old up until shortly after her eighteenth birthday. Stacey spoke of not realizing that what was happening to her was wrong until she was nearly a teenager, and at that point, no one she spoke out to would help her. She practically raised her younger sister after her mother left the family while she was a teenager. Stacey lived in fear until one day when her father went too far.

Stacey spoke of protecting her younger sister, who had been untouched by their father’s abuse until early July 1990. When Stacey got into a major argument with her father, he lashed out and abused her younger sister for the first time. Stacey immediately took her sister away from the house, but went back later for clothes and her dog. Her father was passed out drunk, and she knew that if he woke up and caught them leaving, there was a very real possibility he would kill both of his daughters. She armed herself and shot him once in the shoulder to make sure he didn’t move to come after them. He woke up and drunkenly began to threaten them, and Stacey shot and killed him.

Stacey was immediately arrested and was convicted two years later. During the two years in between arrest and conviction, she was incarcerated. She was not able to use self-defense as her legal defense, because the court decided she was not in an immediate danger at the time she killed her father. She also couldn’t use the Battered Woman’s Syndrome defense, because she was not married to her abuser (the standards for this defense have since changed.) The only defense available to her was insanity, and no one believed Stacey was actually insane. She was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to life without parole. Eighteen years after her arrest and after countless appeals, Governor Matt Blunt of Missouri granted Stacey clemency.

In telling of her re-integration to life on the outside, Stacey told us that her biggest challenge was making sense of eighteen years of new technology. She joked about getting used to her new iPhone, as well as Facebook and Twitter. Stacey is also in college in Southern Missouri, studying Pre-Law. While incarcerated, she worked with dogs, and she also is a champion for the healing power of animals. She found peace working with animals, in one of the most traditionally non-peaceful institutions in the world. She has also written a book, which she titled Redemption, telling her story and detailing her struggles. She also founded a website, healingsisters.org, which is an anonymous support forum for abused men and women who simply need a friend.

Anyone who saw Stacey speak would be amazed by how she manages to speak from a factual perspective, telling her audience about the awful things that happened to her in a way that is not meant to bring her sympathy, but to bring awareness to what she calls an “epidemic” of domestic violence. She told the audience about several programs that work for victim’s rights as well as for the prevention of all forms of domestic violence. She encouraged everyone to go online and check out RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), Darkness 2 Light, and Take Back The Night.

Stacey Lannert’s story is a remarkable one. She regrets what she did, but she didn’t let it destroy her. She used a quote that a friend wrote for her to get her through her time in prison, and it applies to all aspects of life as well. “Never hurt your whole self when parts of you are hurting.” Stacey insisted that when a person is struggling with something, they don’t have to bear the burden alone. She told the audience that she never wanted to see anyone else take another person’s life out of fear. She closed by saying that there is help out there, and rescue is possible.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with victimization of any kind, whether it’s due to domestic violence, sexual abuse, or anything at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−SAFE(7233)

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE(4673)

Childhelp Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD

Also, if you or a friend are a victim of bullying or discrimination, please visit:

Twloha.com (To Write Love On Her Arms)

Itgetsbetter.org

• 39 million Americans are victims of Domestic Violence and/or Sexual Abuse.

• Every 15 seconds, a woman is beaten in the U.S.

• Every day, three women and one man are killed by their abuser.

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Stacey Lannert: “No Matter Where You Are, You Can Be at Peace”