Armed Advocacy - It’s Not Just Support, It’s Protection
She’s not just an advocate, she’s armed with a gun. Her role? To offer a sense of safety and security to people facing perpetrators in court. She’s also a survivor herself and the Founder of Right to Protect. She founded the organization in 2019 after noticing survivors painfully lacking support. She saw a unique opportunity to fill a gap that wasn’t being met.
We found Nadeya in August while advocating for a survivor sister to be placed into the Safe At Home program in California because the man who almost killed her was being released and not only did he have her address but he was sending her mail. She was the only person and organization we contacted that would actually help despite many organizations being listed as enrollment centers. She also truly understood the program, having gone through it herself. Not only is her address confidential but she changed her name and her social security number. Talk about a warrior woman, right!?!? We can’t thank her enough for springing into action to help our survivor sister take that next step of safety.
Back to the weapons…
She takes being armed with a gun very seriously. She believes we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that includes her protecting that right with a weapon, if it’s absolutely necessary. She’s never had to draw her weapon yet and she prays she never has to but she knows the danger survivors face when coming into contact with the person who violently harmed them. She also says she doesn't carry it hoping she’ll have the opportunity to use it. “I carry it knowing and understanding that if the time comes for me to use it I will.” She’s a licensed CCW carrier and a certified basic pistol instructor with a marksmen level four. She’s basically a certified bada**!
When we asked her how survivors feel about her being armed she said, “they appreciate that I am and feel safer, protected, more comfortable, and more confident.”
This reminded me of a time I traveled to Tennessee to support a survivor sister as she testified at the trial of her ex-boyfriend after he almost murdered her by pouring boiling oil all over her as she slept in bed. Nadeya has to check in her gun before she goes into the court house. But in that city in Tennessee, anybody and everybody can just walk in without even so much as walking through a metal detector. Can you say cray cray! I mean his family could have walked in there with a weapon and shot the survivor while she was testifying on the stand.
Survivors need added safety and security when they appear in court. One time in a beautiful mountain filled state I accompanied a woman to the trial of her ex-husband. He was on trial for attempting to murder her by strangling her with a telephone cord. UGH! This one is still a little fresh for me. We met in the parking lot and rode the elevator up to the floor where we waited outside of the courtroom until they were ready to get started. We were sitting there chatting until her face turned white as a ghost because her ex-husband walked into the same hallway and stood there only a few feet from us. I stood in front of her so he couldn’t intimidate her with looks. All I kept thinking is where’s her court advocate or a bailiff. Her assigned court advocate never showed up for the whole trial by the way. I also couldn’t stop thinking about the courage required of her at that moment.
As I interviewed Nadeya, we both felt the same. Survivors need independent advocates and lead coordinating advocates. We also agreed that advocates need to be armed or have some form of an armed escort. She also shared that she feels many survivor service organizations or offices are so concerned with keeping an amicable working relationship with the legal system that they don’t want to make waves. The question is… at the expense of who? And she doesn’t mean the financial expense. She means the expense of a human life.
Nadeya is passionate about the work she does because it comes from the place of experiencing the horrors of domestic violence personally. While none of us ever want to face what so many of us have, the beauty is standing tall and mighty for ourselves and others after feeling defeated at one point in our lives. Women like Nadeya are truly an inspiration and a representation of those of us that refuse to accept abuse or the status quo of advocacy.
She says she didn’t have the support she now knows she deserved from an advocate but she believes that God is faithful and His promises will give us beauty for ashes. All we have to do is give him the broken pieces first.
You can learn more about the Address Confidentiality Program here. To learn more about Right to Protect and their mission here. Reach out to her and find ways to support what she does because we want to support those who are actively doing the work.
Love and Light,
Audrey May Prosper