By Esha Kher
SACRAMENTO, CA – A few months short of turning 18, the victim of years of sexual assault signaled she approved of the 18-year sentence meted out to her sexual assaulter, Jermaine Harshaw, noting it will allow her “another lifetime to grow and catch up to where she needs to be.”
Harshaw was sentenced by Judge Patrick Marlette last week in Sacramento County Superior Court after a guilty plea to sexual assault against the victim, for 10 years, and another victim, for another eight years.
During this sentencing, the court heard three grievous impact statements made by the first victim, her mother and her grandmother.
The victim relayed to the court that what happened changed the way she trusts and reacts to people. She shared how just before making the statement her mom wanted to hug her since they were both crying, but she instantly moved away because she doesn’t like physical touch any longer.
She relayed how it’s extremely difficult for her to get close to people and she doesn’t know whom to trust. But she emphasized this has helped her grow up faster, helping her see people for who they truly can be.
Next, the victim’s mother delivered her statement, expressing how hard it is for her to trust people, and that she’s always looking at people wondering who they are and what they are here for.
It was very hurtful for her to find out later in life that the person she trusted and left her child with had violated her in such a horrific way. Reflecting on the past she remembered an instance where Harshaw and she were sitting at a park and Harshaw told her that he never wanted to have a kid in poverty.
Finally, the victim’s grandmother shared that she herself is a victim of sexual assault, five separate instances of it, and having experienced much of what the victim has been going through, she can help her navigate the journey.
Esha Kher is an undergraduate student at UC Davis studying Political Science and Computer Science, hoping to pursue a career in corporate law. She is passionate about legal journalism and political advocacy that provokes new perspectives and sparks conversation among the public.
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