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A Survivor Story: Marianne Harris’ Victim Impact Statement

After writing and rewriting my impact statement for sentencing, this is my finished product. I felt it needed to be more personal and what he did to me needs to be known.

“Your Honor,

My name is Marianne Harris. I am 40 years old. I met Dennis in early September of 2006. I was 28 years old. My ex-husband was arrested just a year before. I was a single mom with 3 kids. We were getting by just fine. Looking back and knowing what I know now, I believe that my children and I were easy prey for Dennis. Dennis believed he was our rescuer. Little did I know that it was us that was going to need to be rescued from him. I have not been able to pinpoint when things started getting bad. I see now that there were a lot of red flags at the beginning that I ignored.

Before I knew it, he was becoming physically abusive. He threw me into a chair while I was pregnant with our first child all because I got the apartment too humid from taking a shower. He threw me into a hutch that was in our living room one Mother’s Day for reprimanding my daughter. When I was pregnant with our second child, he hit me in the side with a baseball bat. I think his favorite thing to do was punch me in the head so hard I would black it. It got to the point I would fall to the floor if I even thought he was going to hit me.

Dennis also liked to smash my phones and the laptop. He knew that they were my only way of staying in contact with people. He would take the car keys and make it so the children and I couldn’t leave. He would be gone for at least a week.

There was also a lot of mental and emotional abuse. Dennis hardly ever apologized for anything he did. I was always left feeling like everything was my fault. I constantly tried to change and improve myself. I believed that if I got better so would he. He only got worse!

Everything I endured during those 11 years with Dennis has scarred me for life. In December 2018, my boys were going away for a weekend. My first time completely alone in many years. I had planned to kill myself after they left. I was going to take all of my mental health drugs with a bottle of alcohol. I put the pills and alcohol in my room. I couldn’t take the constant mental, physical and emotional pain I was in every single day. I was desperate to make it stop. After the boys left, I went into my room. I got the pills and bottle of alcohol from my dresser drawer where I hid them. I sat on the bed. All I could do was look at them. I began to cry. I could not follow through with my plan. The thought of my son Josh coming home and finding my dead body stopped me. I knew it would be him that would find me. Nobody ever came to our house. I suffer from depression, PTSD, and extreme anxiety. I have no self-esteem. I am very insecure. Even though Dennis has been in jail for over a year and a half, he is still very much with me on a daily basis in my head.

In closing, My children and I will suffer for the rest of our lives because of what Dennis did to us. I am pleading with the court to sentence him so the punishment fits the crime. I do not feel that the 10 years recommended by the PSI is fair. My children and I suffered longer than that with him.”

Photo: Flickr – neelaka

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