Marissa Alexander is a survivor of domestic violence who was sentenced to a 20 year mandatory minimum sentence for firing a single warning shot into the ceiling when her abusive estranged husband attacked her. More people around the country began to organize around Marissa’s case and demand her freedom when her story became known after George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin & wanted to invoke a stand your ground defense that was denied to Marissa. Her supporters helped publicize her case, held protests and events, raised funds for her legal defense, and supported her through her probation. Grassroots organizing and good legal defense led to Marissa’s case being overturned.
State’s Attorney Angela Corey decided to retry her case and threatened Marissa with 60 years in prison for defending her life. In November 2014, Marissa accepted a plea deal for time served plus 65 more days in jail and 2 years of probation under house arrest. After serving a sentence of 3 years behind bars and 2 years in house detention, Marissa Alexander was finally released on January 27, 2017. She has founded the Marissa Alexander Project to advocate for other survivors of violence who are criminalized for survival.
Many people like Marissa Alexander are in prison all over the United States, doing time for defending themselves and for surviving. Learn more about how you can support other campaigns for freedom and justice at the Survived and Punished website.
This video was conceived by Mariame Kaba and narrated by CeCe McDonald. Directed and produced by Dean Spade and Hope Dector. Audio editing by Lewis Wallace. Artwork and photographs by Sarah-Jane Rhee, Nicole Harrison, Molly Crabapple, Dignidad Rebelde, and Erin K. Wilson. Created by the Barnard Center for Research on Women and Survived and Punished.
Download the Survived and Punished toolkit for resources on starting a defense campaign:
Visit the Survived and Punished website to learn about ongoing campaigns for freedom: