Many of us rejoiced after Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced yesterday evening. When rape and sexual crimes go underreported particularly when it comes to disenfranchised women of color, this was a victory and hopefully a shift in the right direction.
For some, this case is about a police officer receiving justice for his abuse of power. And that’s part of it. But it’s also about women being taken seriously when they come forward with stories of sexual assault.
Janie Liggins, the 57-year-old grandmother, who launched the investigation into Holtzclaw’s behavior, spoke today during a press conference.
“I was out there alone and helpless, didn’t know what to do. And in my mind I could think was that he was going to shoot me, he was going to kill me. He did things to me that I didn’t think a police officer would do…I was a victim. I was traumatized, I went to therapy…I still live with this day after day.”
She also said that she suffered from a stroke behind all of this.
As you know, Liggins wasn’t the only one. Another woman who attended the conference was Shaudae Harris. Harris was sexually assaulted as she was handcuffed to a hospital bed.
“I just couldn’t even believe it, I was speechless, I was scared, when everything was going down…I felt like I was in survival mode and I had to do what he was making me do.”
Benjamin Crump, who represented five of the women who brought claims against Holtzclaw, said, “This isn’t just a celebration of victory, it’s a celebration of courage.”
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Holtzclaw was on suicide watch at the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.