Stalking survivor studying law after finding loopholes in justice system

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Utah woman who survived a violent stalker is now studying law in an effort to help other victims.

“I was really numb for most of it. It was like I was living in a dream,” said Jaime Wiley.

Wiley shared her story with ABC4’s Brittany Johnson.

“I was just afraid of him. I didn’t know what he would do to me. There were a lot of death threats and physical attempts to attack me,” Wiley said.

“Due to his choices, I had to quit my job, move in with my parents and I couldn’t leave my parents basement for close to a year. It was just too dangerous at that point,” Wiley explained.

“I’d say the worst part of it was at night. Anytime I would hear something I would wake up screaming. I would run upstairs to get my parent’s gun.”

Wiley says she was her stalker’s third victim.

“Unfortunately, due to an oversight with the court, he ended up spending less than a year in prison on his first two victims and no time in my case,” Wiley told Johnson. “He essentially spent the same amount of time in prison that I did hiding from him and not a day more.”

Wiley says she realized that there are still “holes” in the justice system when it comes to helping and protecting victims. She’s now an advocate and law student at the University of Utah.

Wiley says she knows first-hand what the victims in her cases are going through.

“The very first trial I walked into with my boss Heidi, was actually the same courtroom that he {Wiley’s stalker} was sentenced in. It felt good for me to walk in as a legal intern and not a victim. I was able to hold the victim’s hand and I knew what she was going through in that exact room.”

When Wiley first reached out for help in her own stalking case, she received full support.

“I had a great police officer who was very understanding and wanted to help me out,” she said.

But Paul Cassell, Professor of Law at the University of Utah, says that’s not always the case, especially when it comes to victims of sexual assault.

Cassell says many sexual assault victims don’t speak out because we live in a “blaming culture.”

“For too long victims have been disbelieved. Victims have had to sort of prove that, why were you out late at night and why were you wearing provocative clothing? We need to change the focus away from what the victim was doing to looking at what happened to the victim and looking at what the defendant was doing or the suspect was doing.”

If you or someone you know is a victim of stalking contact the Victim Connect Helpline at 855-4-VICTIM (855-484-2846). 

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault call the Rape & Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1-888-421-1100.

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