Victim in Crater High School sex abuse case speaks out

Medford. Ore. —  The victim in the Jeffrey Zundel sex abuse case wants to raise awareness about sexual assault. She’s releasing the words she spoke to her former teacher in court, in hopes of encouraging other victims of sexual assault to come forward and speak out about their abuse. In an email to NBC5 News she says she realizes releasing her statement she could impact the community in a positive way by bringing awareness to sexual assault, specifically from the victim’s perspective.

Since the Spring of 2015 I have mourned the loss of a part of myself that I can never get back, a part that Jeff Zundel has stolen from me. Jeff has robbed me of my privacy, time, energy, sense of security, self-confidence, intimacy, and my worth.

My senior year of high school, a year perfumed with the pungent gossip of my own sexual assault, was suppose to be the best year of my high school career. It was suppose to prepare me in being the best college student I could be. Instead, I spent my time isolated, mentally and emotionally unavailable. There was no way for me to put a hold on time in order for me to piece my life back together, I had no choice but to continue my life as it fell apart behind the scenes. I watched as my closest friends pulled away from me because my life had become too much for them. I should have been enjoying my last year in high school, but instead I lived in fear of my peers discovering I was the victim. Fear and shame began to consume me. I constantly felt the fear of not knowing if the legal system would right the wrongs committed against me.

Continuously this trial has been rescheduled, and each time I had to relearn my own worth. The continued postponements demonstrated that my life, the victim’s life, was forced to conform to the life of the man that raped me. Rather than accepting responsibility for his actions, Jeff Zundel dragged my family and I through two years of unnecessary anguish. I have waited too long for a jury to render a judgment thereby validating the crimes Jeff Zundel committed against me. Today I find some relief in knowing that after painfully waiting for my abuse to be acknowledged, Jeff Zundel will be admitting his guilt.

Jeff has taken advantage of the likelihood that I would shrink myself smaller to accommodate the livelihood of his future, when he has never considered accommodating mine. Jeff has prolonged the judicial process in hopes that I would surrender to the abuse and manipulation he has put me through. For two years Jeff has insisted that he did not groom, manipulate, exploit, or sexually assault me. For two years he has failed to take accountability and fully acknowledge his actions.

There was a time I admired Jeff. I looked up to him because of his life experiences and perceived intelligence. Jeff made me believe I could trust him. He convinced me that he was a safe person I could confide in. Jeff exploited my trust and used it to fulfill a sick fantasy. Jeff wanted me to fix him, to heal his deep emotional wounds. He told me I was destined to fill the void in his heart. Jeff disregarded my humanity and placed his selfish desires above my well being and for that I have lost all respect for him. I realize he is a small, weak, coward, who preys on young women to provide him with the love he felt he did not receive as a child.

Now, I would like to address every stranger who ever questioned the validity of my allegations and all of the students at my high school who chose to sit around and gossip about which girl they thought might of been sexually assaulted. I know it must be very difficult to conceptualize that men in positions of power, men we look up to and idolize are not without flaw. When we discover that these men are flawed we must hold them accountable no matter how much good they have done. To everyone who insisted Jeff Zundel was innocent without any factual or meaningful evidence, you are a part of the problem. You are just one of the many reasons why women do not come forward when they experience sexual assault.

Looking back, I placed a lot of shame around being a victim. After two years I have come to understand that there is nothing shameful about being a victim of sexual assault. If I could say anything to survivors of sexual assault, I would say, there is nothing shameful about what you’ve endured, the only thing shameful are the wrongs the abuser committed against you. Do not let them silence you, as you are far more powerful than the abuse you have experienced. You are resilient.

With time I began to recognize the resilience within myself. I have become someone who is purposeful in my intentions to heal, recover, learn, and grow. My advice to Jeff Zundel, is to discover a form of healing that is not to the detriment of young women.”

Zundel, a former Crater High School teacher, pleaded guilty August, 25th, 2017 to two counts of sex abuse and 1 count of official misconduct. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 3 years supervised probation on the official misconduct charge, and 5 years supervised probation on the sex abuse charges.

 

 

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