30 Years Behind Bars: Trials of a Prison Doctor is Karen Gedney’s story, from her first day at the prison to her last. This next chapter for Karen is advocating for prison reform and mentoring children at risk. Now out of the system, Karen is able to make herself heard about the criminal justice system.
It wasn’t until 1976 that prisons had to offer medical care if there was a serious medical need. Not only was Karen one of the first doctors in a prison, but she was also one of the first female doctors. A male prison with male inmates and male guards. Two years into her start, Karen was taken hostage and raped by one of the inmates. And yet she stayed. She stayed through the Aids epidemic, through changing of guards, through years of years of change in the system. Karen stayed because she felt she was making a difference. And she did make a difference for so many of the inmates and their families.
A riveting conversation with Karen:
A kidnapping and rape and the decision to stay
Rules, no rules and systems
Being a female in an all-male environment
She’s white, her husband is Black – they thought she gave preferential treatment to Black inmates
Evening programs and mentoring
The power of redemption
Seeing the results
Advocating for criminal justice & prison reform
Life with My Idiot Family: A True Story of Survival, Courage & Justice over Childhood Sexual Abuse, Kathy Picard’s story. 10 years of abuse by her stepfather.
The Abuse and Staying Silent
The abuse started when Kathy was 7 and lasted for 10 years. The grooming for the abuse took place at around the age of 5. Her abuser and rapist was her step-father, a person who she had been raised to believe was her father. He told her real bad things would happen if she told. At the age of 9 she told her grandmother who said’ we don’t talk about those things.’ And at the age of 28 she told her Aunt Judy who believed her but didn’t want to talk about it. Kathy promised her she wouldn’t until her Aunt died. Upon her Aunt Judy’s death, Kathy told everyone. Kathy wanted to make sure that if anything happened to her, he would be the first one they would look to.
The stats are staggering:
1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are sexually abused
The average age of abuse is 12
Average disclosure age is 44
And the average years before disclosure is 32
The statute of limitations for criminal proceedings is 43
The statute of limitations for civil proceedings is 53 thank to Kathy. It had been 21 up until her fight to get it changed.
The day after the civil statute of limitations changed from 21 to 53, by a unanimous vote, Kathy, who was 53, filed charges against her stepfather. In 2015 Kathy won her civil suit. She had the courage to call him a rapist to his face in the courtroom. Kathy is now on a mission to educate children that it’s okay to tell someone and keep telling until someone listens. And to educate police departments on talking to children who have been abused. Teachers and parents, friends and family all need to listen.
Kathy Picard is an inspiring award-winning advocate. Advocating for the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. Her work centers on increasing awareness of the harsh realities of sexual child abuse. She is a survivor, public speaker and public safety trainer. Kathy won an Unsung Heroin Award, the William Pynchon Award and the Zonta International’s Founder Day Award. All for her work and advocacy in the successful reform of the Massachusetts Statute of Limitations laws regarding sex crimes against children.
A very candid conversation with Kathy:
The start of the abuse
Telling her grandmother
Not speaking out
Finally breaking the silence
Answering those who said ‘Why now? It was such a long time ago. Can’t you just let it go?’
2002 the event that encouraged her
The fight for justice and the change in the statute of limitations
Her day in court and finally saying the words to her abuser’s face ‘rapist’
Justice for that little girl
Her advocacy work