Hero of Her Own Story with Jasmine Freeman | Episode 12

Hero of Her Own Story with Jasmine Freeman | Episode 12

This episode is about being brave enough to speak your truth and finding the strength to step up and fight for your own inner child when no one else will.

Join us as Bad-Ass Jasmine Freeman tells a powerful story of stepping up to the plate for herself after finding out that she had been sexually abused as a child by her favorite Uncle.  

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or abused and are looking for help, please visit Rainn.org or call the national sexual abuse hotline 800-656-HOPE (4673)

For a written transcript or additional resources please visit www.justbeyourbadself.com

Follow Kimber on instagram @justbeyourbadself

Transcript

Hero of Her own Story

 

[00:00:00] Intro

Kimber: Welcome back to the Just Be Your Bad Self podcast, where we're learning to let go of perfection, step into authenticity and show up for the world by showing up for ourselves. I'm your host, Kimber Dutton. And today I'll be talking with hero of her own story, Jasmine Freeman.

Jasmine is a Utah native with a heart of gold. She's a caffeine addict, amateur reader and photographer, and a kick ass wife, mother and friend.

Today, jasmine is going to share her story publicly for the first time. A story about speaking your truth, setting boundaries with people you love, and finding the strength to step up and fight for your own inner child when no one else will.

 

Kimber: This interview centers around a very sensitive topic. One that I think would be hard for anyone to talk about in such a public broadcasted setting. And because of that, there are some details in the interview that get glossed over, or maybe even skipped.

And there are parts of the interview that are a little tricky to follow because of that. More details come in as the interview goes on, and then there's a court case recording at the end that I've added to this episode, that will make everything really come together. But before I go in to the interview with Jasmine, I just want to give my listeners a brief overview of her story so that it makes sense as you're listening, what's going on.

Jasmine

A little over two years ago, got a phone call from her uncle. And her uncle over the phone told her that he had sexually abused her as a child. And this interview on this podcast is about the way that Jasmine has processed that and stepped up to the plate for herself, through dealing with all of the emotions and just things that she has had to deal with after finding this out from her uncle. So I just wanted to let my listeners know this is the broad picture of what's going on. It'll help you going into this to know that. And with that. I'm going to go ahead and go into the interview with Jasmine.

Jasmine, thank you. So, so, so much for being willing to be vulnerable and be on this podcast. Let's jump right in. Tell us about yourself.

Jasmine: So I am a Utah native and I have lived in salt lake city, my whole life. I grew up LDS and have not been active in the church since I was around the age of 14 or 15. I met my husband at musician's friend in 2009 and we fell in love super quickly and got married in 2010 and had a kid in 2011.

So that's kind of who I am and where I come from.

Kimber: So I already know your story, but our listeners don't so tell us about Where were you in your life and what was going on just give us like an overview of what happened in was it 2019 that this happened?

Jasmine: Sure. So at that time period, I was working part-time at a dental office and I was babysitting my aunt's kids. Me and my husband were in a show together around that time.

And so that's kind of where I was at at that point was just engrossed in work and being a mom, doing the show with my husband and all of those types of things.

So as a Friday, I was at my aunt's house babysitting and

I got a text message from my uncle asking if he could call me. And I said, well, I'm in the middle of lunch right now. And I'm going to put the kids down for a nap and just a second, and then you can call me.

And So he said, okay. But then I got like really anxious, like, what does he need to talk to me about? Is it about like, did something awful happened to his wife or something like that? And so I got a little bit anxious with that, but Yeah. So put the kids down for a nap. And then I texted him and said, okay, you can call.

And then that's when he told me his side of the story.

 

Kimber: So did your brain suppress all of it until he called you.

Jasmine: . So it's kind of interesting because I have these vague memories that happened in my teenage years and even time period where I was like meeting Zach, Zach's my husband, by the way. I had these memories of like, I don't know , if it was abuse in my mind that was happening, but just scared feelings when it came to being alone with boys and , because I didn't really know what was going on. I was like, oh, I'm just making that up in my mind. it didn't really happen.

And then when he called me, I was like, you know what, this makes sense. And I asked him flat out the day he called me, did you tell me not to tell my mom? And he said, yeah.

And I said, but I did. Right. And he said, yeah. And she didn't believe you. And I'm like, yeah, that's like the most prominent memory I have of like, all of this is coming to my mom and saying, Hey, Darren is having me do these things. And he's doing these things to me and her saying, you know what, Jasmine, that's a lie.

We don't tell lies to get people in trouble. As an adult now with a child, when all of this came out, my youngest was around a five. And if he ever came to me and said, Hey, you know, so-and-so is doing this and that. And they're having me do this and that to them, I wouldn't say, Hey, you're lying.

I would be like, w K who's dying today. Kids that age don't even know how to process those types of things and I can't imagine that they would make it up.

Kimber: How would they even know to make that up?

Jasmine: right. That's what I'm trying to say. And in the court hearing you'll hear me say he was one of my favorite uncles. And he remained to my favorite uncle, even after all of this stuff happened because , I was afraid that if I did tell anyone again, I was going to be in trouble when I didn't do anything wrong, but I also didn't know the gravity of what was happening to me and that what he did was actually wrong and inappropriate.

Right. So when he called me. after he told me all of this, he said, do you forgive me? And I was like, yes, I felt like I was in shock, and I wasn't at home. I was babysitting his sister's child and so I didn't really feel like I could absorb what he said to me. And so I was just like, okay. Yeah, I forgive you. And , I kind of felt pressured to say that because of everything else that happened to me as a kid, , like if I didn't do what he said or give him the answer that he wanted, it made me feel pressured as a child.

So it was like kind of manipulating in that way. Like you're giving me like this huge life altering information and then ask me if you forgive me, what. , so, and then he said, Hey, don't tell any of my siblings, which includes my dad.

Kimber: Again, as an adult, he said this to you. So he's really just continuing the abuse, but wanting to get off for it.

Jasmine: Yeah. So he, that includes my dad. That includes his sister, whose house I was at babysitting.

And I was just like, Okay, well, are you going to tell them because somebody is going to tell them if it's not me and he was like, yeah, I'm just not ready yet. And I'm like, okay, whatever.

So my aunt came home from work and I was getting ready to leave and she could tell I'd been crying.

I hung up the phone and I just started sobbing. Like, what do I do with this information? How am I supposed to go home? I felt like I couldn't tell Zach I didn't know how to tell Zach. And like, I was just more afraid, like how he was going to react about this thing that happened. Like not necessarily that he was going to be mad at me or anything, but just like, how do you react?

How do I approach him about this conversation? I've never had to do this before. And so my aunt came home and she says, are you okay? And I was like, yeah. And she's like, I can tell you've been crying. And I'm like, well, so your brother's an asshole. Then she said, wait, what? And I kind of told her what happened.

Even though he told me not to, I was like, you know what? He doesn't get to tell me what to do anymore. That is not fair. And so I just told her like, Hey, Darren called me. And he told me he has been removed from his home. And she said, why? And I said, because he has been sexually abusing multiple girls, including myself.

And she said, wait, what are you sure we're talking about the same dude. And I'm like, Yes. Y okay. Yes. It's your brother. He's my uncle. Yes. I'm talking about Darren and she's like, I'm so sorry that that happened to you, but she kind of just stood there, like what the heck just happened. And I was like, I have to go, like, I can't hang out anymore.

Like I need to go. So I grabbed my things, grabbed Lennox and we left. And when we got home, I didn't say anything to Zach for like, It was like, after dinner time, I said, Hey, I really need to talk to you about something. And I'm sure in his mind was like, like, what do we need to talk about? What are we talking about?

So I was like, Hey, so Darren called me and told me that when I was a little girl, he used to sexually abuse me and He confessed to his Bishop and there's going to be an investigation. And then I started to cry and he was like, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. And then he just let me sit there in his arms and cry for who knows how long, a long time.

And he said, well, what do you want to do? And I said, well, I think that the police department is going to call me and have me come in for an interview. And cause that's what he had told me on the phone. Like somebody going to call you, you're going to have to go in for an interview. And so a couple, maybe like a week and a half later, the Sandy police department called me and said, Hey we have this case here.

We need to have you come in for an interview. So we go to this interview and they'd already interviewed my grandma, which is his mom. Because she owned and operated a daycare out of her house.

And he would like lure girls in from the daycare into his bedroom and do things with them too. So they had to open, they had to go through like all of this investigation through her daycare and all of these things. And so they had already interviewed her And then I was the next one.

And they asked me a whole bunch of questions. Like, what do you remember? Do, do you recall any of this happening? And then they asked what do you want to do with this?

Do you want to press charges? And I was like, well, I don't want him to just get a slap on the wrist and just act like none of this even happened because like it did happen and it has caused like so many weird things going on in my life that I didn't really know what was happening until he came out and said all of these things and Anyway.

So they asked if I wanted to press charges. I said, yes, I do. And then I asked if the other victim was going to press charges to the one that I knew of. And they said, well, no, she does not want to press charges.

Kimber: So I have a question about this. If no one would have pressed charges against him, would nothing have happened to him? Does someone have to press charges? Even though he admitted guilt.

Jasmine: So because she was a minor. During all of this happening, the state actually can press charges without her consent. So if, even if I chose not to press charges, they still would have gone forward with the case. And he still would have been sentenced to whatever.

Kimber: But for your own transformation, this is an important step, right.

Jasmine: right. Because , if I would have said, no, I don't want to press charges. , I probably would have been updated with all of the court things going on, but I probably would have removed myself from it rather than being so involved and going to every court hearing and all of these scenes, , like it would've been more like, Hey, just so you know, there's this hearing going on?

You're welcome to attend or not. But I think if I would have chosen not to press charges, I would have removed myself from that. Just said, you guys deal with it. I'm going to do my own thing, which is essentially what all of the other people did. So

Kimber: Which is also a valid choice. right.

So why did you choose it? Because that had to have been a hard decision, right? In so many ways you had to dive head first into all of your trauma with the person that you're related to. You probably have experienced a lot of resentment from your own family members, as well as his family members.

So why? I think it is awesome that you did this, but how did you find that strength and why, why did you go forward with it? Knowing that they would have gone forward and press charges anyway. '

Jasmine: cause for me. I know so many people who have gone through something similar or not similar, just abuse in general, and they don't say anything about it. And my thought process was if I can break the cycle in any way and use my voice to speak up that this isn't okay. What, what happened to me and anybody else? It's not okay. And it needs to stop happening. And so my thought was, even though I know his family was going to be upset and be mad at me for something I didn't really even do, except for just say what was right.

And even though like my mom, me and my mom still don't see eye to eye on it. Like, it was important for me because. If I could be the change, I want to be part of the change, ? So that's why I was like I have to be present in this thing, even though it's going to suck.

Like I need to do it. , and honestly, after the second hearing, I was like, I don't want to do this anymore. I don't it's too hard. It's too draining. And the only person who was there to support me was Zach , and not that he wasn't in support, it was just more like, man, I didn't do anything wrong and I have all of these people mad at me for pressing charges for something I didn't do.

Kimber: Yeah, that is insane. Was anybody in your family, like, did you feel like anybody was on your side

or were they either Kind of neutral or angry at.

Jasmine: Well, so my aunt who I was tending for at the time, she was kind of neutral at first, she was like, , I really love you. You're my niece. And like, we have a good relationship, but he's also my brother and I love him. And I, and I don't want him to be in trouble for something he did so long ago.

And I'm like, Hey, even though he did it so long ago, It was still not a good thing to do. Like you don't get to make that excuse for him. And and then it just gone to this weird thing between my aunt and me, and then she, like, she would call me and give me updates on his side and then ask me questions and then go tell him what I said.

And so finally I was just like, Hey, no, that's a conflict of interest. I'm not going to be a part of it. If that's all you're calling me for. No, like, I'm sorry. I love you. I want to have a relationship with you, but I don't want it based around this. Like, just don't.

Kimber: I was just going to ask if, because every interaction I've had with you're not really a confrontational person

Jasmine: No.

Kimber: all. You can see other people's sides of things and you are just sweet and open.

Do you feel like you had to really tap into some inner I'm? Sure you did, but did you, do you feel like you really found a lot of inner strength and have come out of this a stronger person?

Jasmine: Oh, for sure. One of our family members who also is in the justice system, she helped me a lot. And she told me like, This is going to be hard before it gets better. And all you have to do, if you want to continue on with it is just like, Pretend like your, your own mom and bring out the mama Bear.

And so I was like, okay, that made sense to me because if anything happened to my kids, I would go full mama bear. And your mom also told me, like, you need to be there for little Jasmine, you need to tell her everything's going to be okay. I've got this handled.

And so just having that mindset of being mama bear was like, I got this. Like no one messes with my kids. No, one's going to mess with me. So.

Kimber: That's So.

that's so powerful to remember to Yeah,

Defend that inner child right.

In

the episode that I tagged you in with Anna, that's what that whole thing was about. And that's how she works with these kids that have come out of very traumatic backgrounds is this whole idea of you've got a parent, your inner child.

And I don't think most of us think to do that. We kind of have this attitude that, okay, we're grownups now. Like we've just got to figure it out and move forward. And we don't even think about, oh, there's still this part of us that needs us to have their back. Like we need to have our own backs. And I think I think you did such a, I think that is what is so powerful about listening to that court case is you show so much love. I feel like to your abuser, but. It's not like, oh, I love you. So it doesn't matter that you hurt me. It doesn't matter that you did these things because you had that inner child, you had little Jasmine's back and it's so powerful to watch someone step up to the plate like that for themselves.

And I think you just did such a beautiful job of representing so many women who have gone through this, but who internally think, well if I do this, they can think through all the consequences and they decide I'll suffer. I will be the one to suffer because I'm a, I'm a good person or whatever, ?

And for you to be able to recognize I am a good person and I do have love for this family and this person, but also I have my own back and, and this is how it needs to happen. I think is such a powerful thing to witness.

Jasmine: Yeah. So kind of some, something on it, similar lines. I was telling my therapist last week that I feel so much guilt doing this because I love his family so much. I love his wife and I love his children and I just feel awful for what they're going through. And I almost feel like all of this has been put on me.

Like, it's my fault he went to prison because I was the one who said I'm going to press charges. And I said that I felt really guilty and, and mad almost that the other victim didn't say anything because then she's allowing this to still happen potentially.

And my therapist said, no, no, no, no, like stop for just a second. The only thing you're guilty of is showing this other victim that she could have her voice and stop the cycle. That's the only thing you're guilty of. And she's like, you didn't do anything wrong. He did this, he made these choices and these are his consequences, but you didn't do anything to warrant that guilt.

And so rather than saying, oh, I felt guilty for all of these things and I feel mad. You can say. Hey guess what? I'm the hero in this story? Because I removed that toxic situation from their household for them to heal. And I was like, you know what? I am a freaking super hero.

Kimber: You are.

Jasmine: So that was super awesome for her to say that.

And just help me twist the perspective. Like I'm not guilty of anything, except for showing them that the cycle can stop.

Kimber: This podcast is called just be your bad self, which, which means like show up authentically.

It means exactly what you just did, right? Show up and speak your truth. And the reason that. It's called be your bad self is because sometimes showing up and speaking your truth most of the time, it doesn't please everybody. Right. And, and it takes So much courage to be able to, to show up and do that, knowing that.

People aren't going to like it, that you might lose relationships over it, that people might, especially in your case, like you've had a lot of resentment come your way

and to recognize that it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter because if you don't show up and speak your truth, then who they're loving, isn't the real you anyways. Right, It's the Jasmine who just sits and takes it. And what kind of love is.

Jasmine: exactly.

Kimber: have you seen the musical wicked?

Jasmine: I have not seen the musical

Kimber: have you listened to the music.

at all?

Jasmine: I've listened to music.

Kimber: since starting this podcast, I've like, I've always loved the music from that musical, but it's given me a different spin because that's, to me, that's what this whole musical wicked is about.

And ironically, it's called wicked. My podcast is just be your bad self because. Sometimes people view wickedness or bad as not living up to everybody else's expectations of you. And that's what this whole musical is about, is like she's actually doing, she's actually the best person in this musical. Right.

She's living her own truth. She's helping other people , and the song defying gravity, there's this line in there that says. Too long. I've been afraid of losing love I guess I've lost. Well, if that's love, it comes at much too high a cost. And I think that sometimes we all need to come to that point of like, we're so afraid of losing the love of other people. And I love when she says, well, if that's.

That's a really sucky kind of love. If people are only going to love you for doing what they want you to do. And there has to come to a point and you did this. And when you say , I'm a superhero, you did this, you defied gravity, you went against all these expectations and ideas of, of who you should be and just stepped into.

But this is my truth and this is what I need to say. And it's just beautiful.

Jasmine: Thank you.

Kimber: It's just so powerful. What message do you want to share with people, whether it's other victims of abuse or just anyone in general, from, what you've learned from this experience, is there something that you feel like is really important that you want to leave as a takeaway for our listeners?

Jasmine: We as parents in this day and age have the choice to have open and healthy conversations around sex with our children so that they know better and do better and hopefully break the cycle of this sexual abuse.

I think that something super important that we can try to focus on as parents and know it's scary. And I know that's kind of tricky to talk to, especially young children about that type of stuff, but it's so important because if they know that you're on board, Then if something were to happen, they feel they have a safe place to talk to.

The other thing is that

it's okay if other people don't like you for what you do or say in certain situations like this it's okay to take a step back and say, that's not supportive for me. That's not helping me in any way. And even if they're your family and you've loved them, it's okay to say, I can't have this relationship with you because it's too toxic for me.

Kimber: That's a super important takeaway. I want to end this podcast episode with the recording of your sentencing hearing or rather of your abuser sentencing hearing. I think listening to the beautiful letter that you wrote and listening to you stand up for yourself in this setting where you are speaking your truth in front of your abuser as well as in front of the court is so powerful. And then also I love that it just comes full circle when the judge shares what he shares about You being a hero and. About how important it is that abusers suffer the consequences that they suffer. It's almost like a graduation ceremony for little Jasmine who was able to stand up for herself and have her own back. And so we're going to go ahead and listen to that now.

Please be aware that there is some mature content in this hearing that I'm about to play that may not be appropriate for little ears.

[00:25:52] Jasmine's Letter at the Hearing

Jasmine:

My name is Jasmine Freeman, and I just would like to read my letter. Thank you for allowing me to use my voice today. I've gone back and forth on whether or not I wanted to share my story

and I decided if I didn't speak up, I would regret it. Darren is my Uncle. In fact, I would have considered him to be my favorite uncle. When I was around the age of five, Darren sexually abused me. From his account it was only one time, but as I have sat and listened to my intuition, I believe that it was on more than one occasion and more than one type of sexual abuse.

The more time that passes, the more therapy that I received. And the longer the court hearings drag out more memories have been sprinkled in. I remember one of the times more clearly than the others. I was sitting in the living room downstairs at Darren's house, watching a movie, and we had a pink crocheted blanket on the couch.

Darren covered up his lap and asked me to touch his exposed penis under the blanket. I remember feeling a pit in the bottom of my stomach that made me question what was happening, but he was older and assured me that this was going to be okay. I remember feeling scared that if I didn't do what he asked, I would be in trouble or he would be mad at me.

I recall a few more instances and my feelings following those encounters are the same scared, uncomfortable. But again, Darren reassured me that what was happening was okay. I remember Darren telling me not to tell anyone and that it would be a secret. I remember actually telling my mom that this was happening and her telling me she didn't believe me and that I shouldn't tell lies.

So I kept it bottled inside. And I told myself to forget about it. If my mom wouldn't believe me, who would? Who would be my safe place while I felt scared and uncomfortable. I didn't have anyone I could trust. And I felt deflated and alone with the secret that a child should never have to keep. After that I stopped confiding in my mom when big things would happen because she wasn't there for me then.

So why would she be there for me now? Even now my relationship with my mom is pretty rough. I don't trust her to believe me or protect me or offer advice because she didn't help me when I really needed her. After the abuse stopped happening. I remember feeling very weird at my grandmother's house. Not always, but for the first couple of times after it stopped, I felt like I was just supposed to pretend nothing ever happened and keep the secret.

So I kept pushing it down further and further into this teeny tiny bottle. What he did to me remained confusing, and I still didn't have anyone to talk to about it. My relationship with Darren was built on a strange and confusing foundation. It's hard for me to talk about a private thing in a setting like this, but I do however need to mention that Darren, this teenage boy stripped to me of a healthy introduction healthy intimate relationships.

I do struggle in this area and it isn't really anyone's business or responsibility, but my own to deal with this struggle now. But the fact that this happened to me as a child, continues to affect me as a woman, leaving me with questions of what if, what if this didn't happen to me? Would I still have walls up?

Would I feel comfortable with sex if I wasn't sexually victimized as a child. If he had never done this to me. For years, I kept this to myself and pushed it deep down to the point where I hardly even remembered that it happened. I would have vague memories here and there, but then I would shake it off and dismiss it as something I made up in my mind. We would still do a family get togethers.

He would still try to make those get together as fun for me and my siblings. And he still remained my favorite uncle. In February of 2019, Darren sent me a text asking if we could talk, of course, my first thought wasn't that he wanted to discuss this as I had all, but forgotten that this happened to me, trauma is kind of weird in that way.

When we talked, he explained everything that when he was going to Bishop interviews, he was lying when they would ask if he had been chaste. He lied when he went through the temple on an LDS mission. And again, when he got married to his wife, he kept the secret to himself for upwards of 25 years after he told me his first question was, do you forgive me?

I was in shock and I felt under pressure. And I said, yes, but the more I sat on it, the angrier I became. . I questioned his character. How could somebody who I loved and admire so much stripped me of my innocence. I questioned other events in my life. And I wondered if my Rocky relationship with my mother intimacy and even my grandmother stemmed from what he had done to me.

And the summer of 2019 after Darren had come clean to me, he and his family were going to be in town. . Usually the whole family tries to get together to do something fun. And as that day was approaching his mother, who was, my grandmother kept calling and asking if we were going to come. When I told her, no, I didn't feel comfortable doing that.

She said, well, why not? And I said, grandma, why do you think? And she said, Jasmine, You need to forgive him and let it go. Like I had to, when things like this happened to me, that's just something silly teenage boys do, let me repeat that last sentence. That's just something silly teenage boys do. I responded that I would still not be coming to the family, get together. And then she tried to make me. Feel guilty for not allowing my children to come play and do something fun with the family. I was told that I was breaking their family apart and that I needed to forgive and let go. I haven't talked to my grandmother since August of 2019. Your honor, I have three children, all boys.

And two of which are entering into pre-teen and teenage years. And let me tell you, I think I know a little something about silly teenage boy things, and this is not something that should just be dismissed as a silly teenage boy thing. This is something that teenage boys do when their parents do not teach them any better and do not have open and healthy conversations with their children about changing bodies and sex.

I'm not here to tell you what Darren's family situation was, because honestly, I don't know. And I'm also not here to make excuses for his behavior and his awful choices. I just know that this should not be dismissed as a silly teenage boy thing. Darren is responsible for what he did and the lifelong effects it has had on his victims.

I have endured little comments along this journey that have made me feel guilty, guilty that Darren lost his job over this, guilty that he had to spend money on a warrant, guilty for what his wife and his children are going through because I decided that it was important to me to step forward, believe in myself and be brave enough to use my voice. Why should I have to feel guilty for something that wasn't even my fault? After Darren came clean to me, I told him I didn't hate him. And it's true. I don't hate him, but I hate what he did to me. I hate that I have to go through this and I hate that I had to do it as a child and as an adult. These hearings have taken a big emotional and financial toll on me.

Financially in the way of taking unpaid time off for court hearings, knowing that I would not be able to emotionally or mentally invest in my job after each court hearing, even if all that happened was yet another continuance. Accounting for today, I have taken 10 mental health days off of work. I have felt very frustrated with this lingering on because Darren wasn't ready.

It has felt unfair that he has been permitted to call the shots on everything, your honor, I did not. And nor did any of the other beautiful survivors get the luxury of if we were ready or not for this abuse to happen to us. So why does he get the option to decide when he was ready to plead guilty? After I hung up the phone on that day of February in 2019, I remember feeling worried about how to tell my husband. Worried about how he was going to react or what he would say, but he held me and he let me cry.

He told me he was sorry that this happened and that we would figure it out together and that everything would be ok. If it weren't for my husband being the total rock that he is, I would have felt totally alone and isolated from my family. My husband has been one of the best supports in my life, especially in trying to help me navigate my feelings with all of this.

And I will be forever grateful for him understanding the importance of my decision to move forward with this case and speak up for myself. I'm also grateful that he understands the importance of making sure our boys know better. Aside from my husband. I really have only a few close friends that I have confided in and they have been great friends to let me cry.

Tell me that I'm not crazy and that they believe me. I have really struggled with what I want to see happen here today. I don't want Darren to just get a slap on the wrist. I want him to be held accountable for his actions and understand really how much a decision like this affected me, affected all of us, his wife, his children, his mother, his sister, his brothers, and all of these other brave survivors who have come forward in seeking justice and validation.

It was a stupid decision that he made in each moment with each of these little girls that impacted all of us.

I want to know when Darren stopped sexualizing girls, has he stopped? If so, I would like to know what made him stop and how do we know he won't do it again. Has Darren received counseling? Has he been evaluated to confirm if he's a sexual predator? Are his daughters susceptible to his abuse or are they safe?

I may never know the answers to some of these questions, but regardless, what I do know is that he deserves to be held fully accountable and punished to the full extent of the law. And I hope that is what you will do here today. If I may, your honor address Darren directly. Thank you, Darren. I forgive you because you see forgiveness.

Isn't about you. It's for me, that's the gift. I'm allowing myself in order to move on from all of the pain and anger and isolation you have caused. I hope you have learned here today. How much those choices you made affected us. Today I am reclaiming my voice. I am no longer going to keep your secrets and let this be a tether on my life.

You don't have control over me anymore. I choose to be a survivor and no longer your victim. Thank you again, your honor, for allowing me to use my voice today.

[00:38:04] Sentencing

Judge: Well Let me make a couple observations here before I even begin. And I'm going to start with Ms. Freeman Ms. Freeman in this crazy society we live in right now, we don't have a lot of heroes, but I have to tell you that in that you, are one that falls in that category, you had to disclose a number of things that were not comfortable. That no one should have to talk about out loud or to people they don't want to, but you decided to do that. You decided to come forward and tell us these terrible things that happened to you and to expose as well, the failures of your mother and grandmother, which were nothing the less than failures. And the good as much as I hate to say, there's any good news that comes from this.

I'm sure that you are a phenomenal mother and I'm sure you have those sort of things in the back of your mind because of that. But that's a terrible way to have to learn it. I have to tell you. Because for them to not get behind you on this is something I don't understand. The silly teenage boys thing is if there is a top 10 of stupid thing said that definitely falls somewhere.

I hope as well, you understand that there is absolutely nothing that is going to become of this case, or was this case because of your fault. . If in fact he goes to prison. If in fact his family suffers because he's in prison. If in fact his children have to raise themselves because their dad chose to do something and they're in prison, that's not your fault.

That's something he chose to do. And today he's going to pay for that. So that's what that comes down to. I'm very, very, very happy that you found the husband, you found. ' cause it sounds to me like he's worthy and, and, and that's, that's very good. It also

amazes me that you'd be willing to come forward and step four for all these children that we don't have any idea of what effect this is having on that all these children that were affected by, by Mr. Pons. We know how it's affected you. You're obviously doing, I have to tell you. You're doing extremely well and you're able to handle it's not easy and I'm not pretending that it's easy, but you're able to handle this and you're doing extremely well.

And you're obviously a very successful mother, a very successful wife. The idea that you actually came forward today and forgave him speaks volumes about you because it tells me what's inside of your heart. And that's, I think nothing less than pure. I have to thank you for coming forward. I have to thank you for, for holding this man accountable for what he did to you. I feel horrible for the many, many years that you went through the, you couldn't tell anybody that you kept it inside of you, that you maybe, maybe faulted yourself, but that's the problem, right?

That's why we're so tough on these laws when it deals with children. Because children have no where to turn, especially when they ended up with your mother or grandmother in the line up. . But I just want you to know that first of all, I wish you luck in the rest of your life. I know that you will be successful.

I know you are successful. And I wish you to be healed as well. I'm going to, I'm going to put a part of the sentence is gonna include some restitution, which will allow you to go get any sort of counseling. I'm sure you've talked to Mr. Rodrigo already about that, but the state's in a position that they can help you with that.

And I do hope you'll take advantage of that, but I also want you to understand too, that walking away from here, you are definitely one of my heroes. I don't have many by the way. Mr. Pawns. On one hand, I have to tell you that, that the fact that you had to clear your conscious tells me that there's something inside of that body going on, that, that I very much appreciate the fact that you actually have guilt.

The fact that you have all of those things working in you, you attempted to make that right. I certainly, I very much appreciate. I think, would this have come out later? Maybe? I think there's a good chance of that, but nonetheless, we don't know if that's the case or not, but you came out the problem is that what you did is unforgivable and it's nothing less than unforgivable.

You preyed on the most vulnerable people we have in our society. And that's our children. . And you prayed on them on something that you don't even understand. At least if you would've hit Ms. Freeman, she would have understood what that meant. But instead the sexual business, there's nothing about any part of it that children understand and that's the reason you were able to get away with it for so many years.

I don't, I don't know what inspires a person to do what you did. I don't know if it's something you could blame your parents for, if it was something you were born with, or just a horrible choice that you made, knowing that you had all these vulnerable kids around you, and you're deciding to go after them the way you did, but nonetheless there are a number of different issues that have to be taken place during sentencing that I've got to look into.

One of them is, is restitution. Now. that means make this person whole. , the reality is that you've, you've heard Ms. Freeman. She is a superstar though, and she will work through it. I have no doubt about that, but that said, that's not to say she hasn't had to wrestle with someone, so there's nothing I can do to make her make her whole again, other than maybe pay for some of her counseling.

The second thing I have to look at is making you. Me understand that you are safe in this community and that the community, the wherever community, Texas, or here that you live in, that you want that you won't offend again. And I'm not really sure. I, I know that I can do that. Lastly , one of the reasons for sentencing is, is, is punishment.

And the reason I say punishment, when people are predatory to our children, they will be punished. They should know that and everybody around them should know that. And that's, what's going to happen today. What I'm going to do is this on your account of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first degree felony, I'm going to sentence you three years to life in the Utah state penitentiary.

I hope you do well out there, sir. It seems to me like you're amenable to the, to the treatment and so forth that you're going to be faced with. But most importantly, Ms. Freeman tonight, when she lays her head down on a pillow, realizes that you're not even be a player in here anymore.

And she doesn't have to think about you again.

Kimber: Every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted and every nine minutes that victim is a child. If you or someone, you know, has been a victim of sexual assault or abuse, and you are looking for support information or a referral, you can call the national sexual assault hotline at 8 0 0 6 5 6- HOPE or visit rainn.org.

That's R a I N n.org.

After we recorded this podcast interview. Jasmine sent me a letter via email for the listeners. And originally I tried reading it to you all from her, but it just didn't work well in my voice. So I had her go ahead and record these last thoughts to share with you here they are:

Jasmine: my hope in sharing my story is to help educate others. That sexual abuse is without question never. Okay. My intention in sharing, what happened to me is to help other survivors know that they deserve to feel whole again, there are resources. It is scary. It will be hard, but there will be a light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

I feel extremely grateful and lucky that I was given the opportunity to use my voice and make a difference in my life and in the lives of the other girls involved in my story. I hope I can make a difference in your life too. I love you. I believe you. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are Brave. You are Worthy of unconditional love

Kimber:

Thanks for joining me today to get more nurturing around living an authentic life, you can follow me on Instagram at @justbeyourbadself , go to my website justbeyourbadself.com or join me for the, just for your bad self retreat in January, 2022. Your invitation this week? Find a way to step up for your own inner child.

I have no idea what that might look like for you. Only, you can know what little you needs in order to get in touch with that part of you. Try finding a quiet, relaxed space where you can write a letter to your now self from your four or seven or 10 year old self. And just see what comes up. If you enjoyed this podcast and want to leave a review, subscribe to the podcast or share it as always, you have my heart. That's it from me. Now just be your bad self.

Jasmine Freeman Profile Photo

Jasmine Freeman

Bad Ass Woman

Jasmine Freeman is a Utah native with a heart of gold. She is a caffeine addict, amature reader and photographer, and a kick ass wife, mother and friend. 

My hope in sharing my story is to help educate others that sexual abuse is, without question, never okay. My intention in sharing what happened to me is to help other survivors know that they deserve to feel whole again. There are resources to help. It is scary. It will be hard. But there will be a light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

I feel extremely grateful and lucky that I was given the opportunity to use my voice and make a difference in my life and in the lives of the other girls involved in my story. I hope I can make a difference in your life too.

I love you. I believe you. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are brave. You are worthy of unconditional love.