NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – This week kicks off National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. On Sunday, victims and officials came together to work towards a better future.
“If you’re here today and you’re a survivor of violent crime, we stand with you,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said. “The pandemic made it difficult to identify some crimes, including domestic violence.
Nashville’s Crime Victims’ Rights Week ceremony worked to unite these victims and have their voices heard.
“There’s levels to this, there’s trauma to this, there’s PTSD after this, there’s life after survival that people don’t talk about,” violence victim Sparkle Johnson said.
Johnson bravely shared her story of nearly dying at the hands of her children’s father on Christmas of 2015.
“As he was stomping my head with his size 12s and it wasn’t hurting anymore. I knew it should have, I felt the cushion of the floor,” Johnson said. “I thought this should still be hurting, but it didn’t. I was like, ‘Yep, I’m about to die.’”
After a three-day attack, one of her children was able to sneak away to a neighbor’s house to get help. It’s help Johnson wants others to know about.
“Through the DA’s office and the police staff, they were hands on from the jump and still here today,” Johnson said.
Victims of other crimes also came together in their stories, including those affected by homicide and the Nashville bombing. Officials highlighted their efforts to fight these crimes.
“It is my hope that one year soon we can come here and talk about reflection of victims and not talk about any more victims that have been added to the list,” MNPD Police Chief John Drake said.
Chief Drake has implemented units dedicated to stopping gun violence, homicides, and solve tough crime. In addition, District Attorney Glenn Funk said he was dedicated to preventing victims’ offenders from hurting anyone else.
“We pledge anew to work tirelessly to secure justice on behalf of your families and at the same time work to reduce that recidivism so that no other families have to endure your pain,” Funk said.
According to Mayor Cooper, homicides dropped by eight percent last year in Nashville. Chief Drake said so far this year, 19 homicide suspects have been arrested.
At the end of the ceremony, victims tied together pieces of cloth to represent being stronger together.