Chrystul Kizer, a 19-year-old survivor of sexual violence who's been incarcerated for nearly two years in connection with a killing widely believed to have been done in self-defense, has been released from jail.
The Chicago Community Bond Fund announced the release in an extended public statement this week, confirming that the $400,000 bond (reduced from its original amount of $1 million) had been paid. Once the case is finished, per a rep, remaining bond money will be put toward the establishment of a national bail fund supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence who have been criminalized. That fund will exist under the audience of the Survived & Punished volunteer organization.
"Far too often, survivors of violence—especially Black women and girls—are punished for defending themselves," a Chicago Community Bond Fund rep said on Monday. "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."
The Wisconsin teenager had been in jail after being charged in connection with the June 2018 death of Randall P. Volar III, per CNN. Starting when she was 16 years old, she had been trafficked by Volar, a white man. Chrystul faces first-degree intentional homicide and four other felony charges. In February, the original $1 million bond was dropped to (the still ridiculously high) $400,000.
Chrystul's case is the latest of its kind to receive national coverage, and calls attention to the unfortunate prevalence of not only sexual violence, but an inherently flawed justice system that repeatedly fails survivors.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, please reach out to the RAINN network online and/or call their confidential help hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.