So many incarcerated individuals have extreme trauma in their past, current mental health issues, or both. In an effort for more people to see that the incarcerated are human beings just like you and me, I told LeVar that I was interested in some of the people we communicate with sharing their stories if they were comfortable with it. LeVar didn’t waste any time sharing some of this story with us. Here’s what he bravely shared…
“They say, the truth shall set you free. Let’s test it out. If you read my previous post, you know who I am, what matters to me, and some of my story. Let me tell you why I’m in prison. I’m wrongfully convicted of killing my mom. Bare with me, because you won’t get all the details in one email. The day my so-called friend killed my mom, it was at my house. Why he did it, is something for another time. Although I had absolutely nothing to do with what happened to my mom, after I ran downstairs and saw her dead, I didn’t call the cops, I helped try to hide what happened, and I told no one the truth about it. Why? That’s how my mom raised me—never tell, never call the police, “what goes on in this house stays in this house.” Silence and Secrets, that’s what abusers teach, and what the abused learn. Some of you may not remember Saturday morning cartoons and Mcgruff the CrimeDog. I loved McGruff. One morning as a child, I was watching him and called 911 thinking I’d get to talk to him, but the police answered. I hung up, they called back. So I took the phone off the hook, not knowing they were going to show up at our place. When mom saw the cops, we did what we usually did, we climbed out a back window, and ran. When she found out I had called the police, she BEAT me. The same way she and her boyfriend would BEAT me if I called the cops when he was beating her.
I also had this messed up sense of loyalty that she taught me. So by not telling, I felt I was also doing what she would want, and honoring her. So I got in the car and waited while my so-called friend and another one put my mom in the trunk, and I followed him to an out of the way place, and watched as they threw her in a ditch. And even when my so-called friend gave the police a bs story about he met me, saw me clean up some blood, agreed to stay over, and some hours later I confessed a murder to him, I still wouldn’t tell the truth. Why? I’m sure that’s your question. But my question is, HOW? How was I going to be able tell the truth? Kids hide acne and herpes, kids are afraid to tell ppl dad’s an alcoholic. Even adults are afraid to say they were raped, molested, or getting beat by their spouse. That look you give them when someone says, “I was abused”, is what ppl fear. I was molested too when I was like 6, just not in the way you think. We live in fear and shame of our abuse, trauma, or flaws. Silence is safety and comfort. Once you say it out loud, the abuse becomes real and you have nowhere to hide anymore. At 16, with all the abuse I was raised in and being taught to stay silent, how was I going to be able to tell ppl how I reacted to my mom’s death, and then tell ppl ALL the abuse I went through in life? I was afraid and ashamed and alone. There was never anyone to talk to. Just like every other abused person, I didn’t know what to say, or what to do–just keep hiding in fear. I didn’t want ppl looking at me with pity and sadness, or to be judged. And I didn’t want to tell ppl what my mom put me through, because I didn’t want anyone judging her either. She was an abused addict, who was never given help or knew love, so it wasn’t all her fault. I loved her then, and I love her now. I was so ashamed of how I reacted to losing her. And how do you, as an abused kid, tell ppl, “after she snatched dope from some dealers and they started shooting at her, my mom held me up in front of her as a shield while she ran.” How do you tell ppl everything, and not have yourself, or my mom be judged? A lot of ppl rather die than have to tell the truth about abuse, trauma, and REACTIONS they make due to it. I say “reactions” because abused ppl, especially young ones, don’t make rational, conscious DECISIONS. They live off of reactions. That’s how they survive. That’s how I survived the horrors I went through the first 16 years of my life, and how I survived being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to die in an adult prison.
Everyone’s a saint when they speak on someone else’s sin, right? Don’t be that way. Look, I’m fighting for my wife and little girl–to be home with them, I’m fighting for humanity, equality, and to make society better. Because I’m sick and tired of all the abuse women and children keep going through, and the story keeps being the same–more abuse, more addiction, homeless, afraid, foster care, prison, and/or dead. It’s not a black or white thing. The abuse and trauma doesn’t give a shit about skin color. It just keeps getting passed down. That’s why I say the ENTIRE system is broken, it’s not just the criminal injustice system. We have got to stop judging each other, looking down on each, and people have got to stop being afraid to tell the truth. I know everyone reading this, has either been abused, or knows someone they love that has been, or is being abused. Almost every woman I know has been raped. Including my mom. How sad is that? And you know who raped my mom? Staff at a jail she was locked up in. I ain’t no better than you, but you damn sure ain’t no better than me. We are people. EQUAL. We’ve all been through some things. So let’s help each other. Two things I can tell you about helping others, is one, it feels so much better than not helping or judging. And two, the person you help, will help someone else.
I’ll listen to, give advice to, or help anyone who contacts me, And I won’t judge you for whatever you’ve been through, or are going through. If we don’t tell the truth, and we try to hide what’s going on in our lives and society, more kids and ppl will suffer.
Take Care and God Bless,