Chrystul Kizer is a Black 19-year-old survivor of sexual violence currently facing criminal prosecution for actions taken in self-defense. For almost two years, Chrystul has been incarcerated in the Kenosha County Jail while awaiting trial and presumed innocent. In February 2020, Chrystul’s $1 million dollar bond was reduced to $400,000—still an unimaginable sum. Today, the Free Chrystul Kizer Defense Committee, Chicago Community Bond Fund, Milwaukee Freedom Fund, and Survived and Punished paid Chrystul’s $400,000 bond so that she can continue fighting her case from outside of a cage and with the support of her community. When Chrystul’s case ends, the bond money will be used to establish a national bail fund for criminalized survivors of domestic and sexual violence under the direction of Survived & Punished and housed at the National Bail Fund Network.
In June 2018, Chrystul was charged in the death of Randall P. Volar, III, a white man from Kenosha, WI. Prior to his death, Volar was known to authorities in Kenosha. In February 2018, he was arrested on charges including child sexual assault. Police discovered evidence that he was abusing multiple Black girls, including Chrystul, then age 17. While Chrystul has maintained that her actions that led to Volar’s death were in self-defense and evidence demonstrates that Volar had trafficked her since she was 16-years-old, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley is pursuing charges that would incarcerate Chrystul for the rest of her life.
Far too often, survivors of violence—especially Black women and girls—are punished for defending themselves. Chrystul’s case highlights the urgent need for the criminal legal system to stop prosecuting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The police and government systems set up to protect Chrystul failed her. Instead of being given care and support from the beginning, she has been wrongfully incarcerated for nearly two years now for choosing to survive.
Since our founding, supporting criminalized survivors has been a priority for Chicago Community Bond. Since 2015, CCBF has paid $346,500 in bond to free eight criminalized survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Chicago. Like many community bail funds around the country, CCBF has received an unprecedented outpouring of support following Black Lives Matter protests in response to the police murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade. Using those donations, CCBF has paid bond in six Illinois counties for everyone arrested on charges related to the uprisings (that we are aware of), and we will continue to do so as needed. For more information on the bonds already paid, see our updates from June 4th and June 16th. This support for Black people’s liberation struggle has now also enabled CCBF to pay Chrystul’s bond with plenty of money leftover for ongoing use in Cook County and Illinois.
We are elated to know Chrystul will no longer be locked in a cage simply for wanting to live. We are proud to stand with Chrystul and will continue fighting by her side to ensure she can put this tragic incident behind her and begin to heal from trauma she has suffered at the hands of her abuser and the state that failed her. Chrystul should have been given support from the beginning instead of being caged and held for ransom by Kenosha County. No one should be incarcerated for surviving violence against them.
Please take the following actions to support Chrystul:
To support the costs of Chrystul’s legal defense, living expenses, and costs of her ongoing treatment and care, please donate here: https://fundrazr.com/81gAq7?ref=ab_f9Jdo7
Please sign and share this petition to drop the charges against Chrystul: https://www.change.org/p/drop-all-charges-against-incarcera… Let’s get this to over 1 million signatures today!
Read this post on our blog: https://chicagobond.org/…/community-groups-pay-400000-bond…/
This graphic was designed by LaNia Sproles. You can visit their website at: www.laniasproles.com and find them on instagram at: @laniasprolesartist
Image Description: Drawing of Chrystul Kizer with teal hearts and leaves around her, with the text “Chrystul Kizer is free!” End image ID.
Rev. Luis Barrios of Pastors For Peace demands justice for Chrystul Kizer
Photo: In Racine, WI by WI BOPM