We Stand With Nikki
$119,199 raised
95% of $125k goal
1548 contributors
61 Weeks running

Nicole Addimando was trying to survive

In September 2017, after surviving years of severe and sadistic intimate partner violence, our dear sister and friend Nikki Addimando shot her partner and father of her young children in order to save her life.

More than 18 months later, in April 2019, we were devastated when Nikki was convicted of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon (which was legally registered to her partner). She now faces 25 years to life in prison — ripped from her 4- and 6-year-old children who desperately need her — and subjected to the abuse and dehumanization of our prison system for potentially the rest of her life.

We are continuing to fight for her justice and freedom, and urgently need to raise money for her ongoing legal defense — which now includes a pre-sentencing DVSJA hearing (see below) and appeal.

While Nikki remains in prison, it is not just she who suffers. Her children, her entire family, and her community is experiencing profound and long-lasting emotional, physical, and economic trauma.

How you can help

  1. Make a financial donation for Nikki’s legal defense fund, as generously as possible. Any amount will make a difference in our commitment to bring justice to Nikki and her children.
  2. Please spread the word, and share this campaign widely with friends and family

Domestic Violence Survivors' Justice Act

At the time of Nikki’s conviction, the judge’s sentencing structure was limited to 15-to-life (minimum) to 25-to-life (maximum). However, weeks before her scheduled sentencing, the Domestic Violence Survivors’ Justice Act (DVSJA) was finally signed into New York State law as part of Governor Cuomo’s 2019 Women’s Justice Agenda.

This landmark legislation gives judges the flexibility to sentence domestic violence survivors convicted of offenses related to their abuse to shorter sentences or alternative-to-incarceration programs. The DVSJA is intended to help restore humanity and justice to the way we treat survivors of severe abuse who act to protect themselves — survivors exactly like Nikki. Prison is no place for a survivor to heal; and Nikki needs healing, not more inhumane punishment.

If Nikki is sentenced under this new law, the judge can use his honorable discretion to legally impose a shorter sentence — potentially as low as 5 years.

The prosecution is opposing Nikki’s eligibility to be considered under this new law. Yet Nikki has more documented evidence of abuse than most victims, which begs the question: If the DVSJA doesn’t apply to Nikki, will it work for anyone?

A hearing is scheduled for September 9, 10, and 11 in Poughkeepsie, NY to determine her DVSJA eligibility. Nikki will potentially be the first in the state to be evaluated under this new law, and this hearing will set a precedent for subsequent criminalized survivors in New York.

 

Why she needs our help

The truth is our criminal justice system is stacked against women who suffer from domestic violence, and it's shockingly common for domestic abuse survivors to be incarcerated after defending their lives. 

67% of women sent to prison in 2005 for killing someone close to them were abused by the victim of their crime (according to the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision). And according to Sanctuary for Families — an organization that was instrumental in advocating for the DVSJA legislation — 90% of incarcerated women are survivors of gender violence.

We hoped that in this new era of #BelieveSurvivors, Nikki would be an exception to this standard and find justice. However — as her month-long trial demonstrated — misogyny, victim blaming, and well-worn domestic violence myths are baked into the core of our society.

Intimate partner violence often occurs in private with few witnesses and little external corroboration, however Nikki’s case was an anomaly: Her partner posted videos of the abuse and torture online, which were witnessed by law enforcement and mental health counselors. She had medical documentation of injuries that are impossible to self-inflict, and dozens of individuals to corroborate seeing bruises, burns, and her arm in a sling. 

Other victims in the community — following the case and struggling behind closed doors — received a clear message with Nikki’s guilty verdict: The system will not believe you, even with evidence. (Local mental health providers reported clients riddled with despair and hopelessness after her conviction.) Just like Nikki’s verdict sent a message to scores of women in similar situations, our collective work toward her DVSJA eligibility and future appeal can send a new message of hope and reform. 

This extends far beyond Nikki. There are women all over the country, disappeared into the system, serving long prison sentences because they dared to protect their own lives. Instead of offering protection, compassion, and healing, our criminal justice system becomes a continuation of abuse they have already suffered.

The book All Our Trials by Emily L. Thuma clearly demonstrates the importance of grassroots activism in bringing justice to incarcerated survivors like Nikki. The Nicole Addimando Community Defense Committee joins the efforts of larger grassroots organizations like Survived & Punished and Women & Justice Project, as we build upon the legacy of activists who’ve paved the way.

We need the support of a nation-wide community that BELIEVES WOMEN and wants to be a part of our movement. Your gift will help Nikki and her children AND allow us to make a statement that survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence will not be silenced.

You can help:

  1. Make a financial donation for Nikki's legal defense fund, as generously as possible.
  2. Spread the word about Nikki and the injustice she's facing. Please share this campaign widely with friends and family

Learn more about Nikki, our defense committee, and criminalized survival at WeStandWithNikki.com.

 

Self portraits by Nikki, August 2018

*Artwork created by Nikki in jail, using the only materials available to her: a ballpoint pen and deodorant rubbed on magazine pages to extract color. See more of Nikki's art.

 

Go to WeStandWithNikki.com for more information

On behalf of the Nicole Addimando Community Defense Committee

#WeStandWithNikki

 

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