Updated: Feb 16, 2021
The hearing for Zane Pederson being sentenced to 250 months in prison was last Wednesday, 2/10/21. I got to read my victim impact statement in person rather than via Zoom. I’ve had insomnia for the last two weeks, so I’ve had a lot of time to think and write things down. I want to share what happened that day, as well as some of the thoughts I’ve had over the last few weeks…
In November of 2020 Zane Pederson pled guilty to 1st degree burglary from November 16th, 2018 when he broke into my home to steal electronics and photos. He was also indicted by a grand jury with 18 felonies from the early morning hours of November 18th, 2018 and the plea deal brought that down to one felony – 1st degree criminal sexual conduct and he admitted to the aggravating factors – I was vulnerable, multiple acts of penetration, and my son was present nearby. These factors increased his sentence and prison time.
Around 1:30 in the morning on November 18th, 2018, I was held hostage in my home at gunpoint. I was zip tied for a portion of this and raped while he continually threatened to kill my son who was sleeping in his room if I told anyone. More details are in my journal that I started only a few days after this happened… it has somehow turned into a memoir I look to publish. I didn’t even know he was in my home on November 16th when he broke in. He was an unknown masked man for nearly four months until DNA matched him to my rape kit.
While I think his sentence should have been longer and I have absolutely no sympathy for where he’s put himself, I want to express my thoughts for Zane’s family. I’m aware that they are grieving too.
It’s been a long two years, and I’m thankful the court process is finally done. I have been silent during this time, and I’m thankful to finally be able to use my voice. While I preferred the thought of going to trial and him ending up serving life in prison without or even with the possibility of parole, I know the prosecutors have done what they thought was best. But still, nothing will ever be good enough to bring back what I’ve lost.
The hearing last week only started a new countdown for my son and I: the countdown until he gets out of prison. Until then, I’ll be living fuller days, striving for goals and dreams I never would have before.
Some people talk about their cancer, some people don’t. Some people talk about their divorce, some people don’t. Few people talk about rape, most people don’t. Thus, survival stories, healing journeys, outcomes, and perpetrators are not talked about. I’m here to break that trend and to bring awareness. Rape culture needs to change. We, as parents, should teach our children about consent and respecting women and all humans (she/he/they) and to not objectify people.
One person’s story may be someone else’s survival guide. If my story would encourage healing for even one person, or encourage one person to get a security system, then sharing my story with the world was worth it.
I don’t want sympathy; I want allies. I don’t want to be noticed for what happened to me; I want to be noticed for what I’m going to do about it. I couldn’t put up a fight that morning, as I was held hostage with my son being used as a pawn for my cooperation, but I sure as hell can fight now.
I am already working on a second book and plan to continue to blog. My goal is to raise awareness, share knowledge, network, facilitate healing, and be an activist and advocate. I am a member of the Survivor Advisory Group to the Governor of Minnesota and I’m going to continue my passion – writing. I’m going to keep on keepin’ on, just as a warrior, lioness, and Wonder Woman would do. But I wouldn’t be as “okay” as I am without my support system – my friends, coworkers, family, and the investigators for this case.
As Shonda Rhimes says in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “There’s something about experiencing the worst day of your life that is oddly freeing.” So here we are. I’m finally doing what I’ve always loved doing: writing and sticking up for people – my fellow survivors. I just hope for you it doesn’t take what it took for me to pursue your passion.
So this is for you, my fellow warriors. You got this. We got this. We can do hard things. I’m here for you, and I believe you.