Dr. Norma Patricia Esparza, a psychologist who has worked as a consultant for the World Health Organisation and is a Professor at Webster University in Geneva, faces murder charges in the US and the possibility of the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole for a crime she maintains she did not commit.
Patricia rose from very humble beginnings to become a productive member of society. All along, she has been a fighter for social justice and for five years worked fulltime as a union organiser.
We ask you to sign the petition in support of Norma Patricia Esparza .
Here is Norma Patricia’s story in her own words.
At the age of 20, I was raped in my college dorm. Now, 18 years later, I am being charged with the murder of the man who raped me and face the possibility of the death penalty for a crime I did not commit.
Having been sexually abused by my father from the age of five until I was 12, I was traumatised and further humiliated by the rape. In that state of mind, I did not turn to the police after the attack. I turned to the college nurse but got no help. With no one to turn to, I confided in a man I had dated. He seemed sympathetic but he then became enraged. He wanted me back in his life and in his eyes, I had been damaged, dishonoured.
He and four of his friends took matters into their own hands. One of them took me away, kidnapping me, while my assailant was physically assaulted. The events of that night have tormented me all my life. They were violent and I was terrified for my life. I felt trapped. I could not run or escape. I was outnumbered by three men, one of whom was armed, and two women. I was miles away from my home, without access to a phone or a car and I did not know how to drive.
Months later, I found out my assailant had been killed. I was threatened to remain quiet and pressured by the leader of that group to marry the man I had dated in order to stop me from testifying against him. These people were intimidating. I did not want their fury turned against me.
The events of that frightful night escalated in a way that I could not have possibly imagined and to which I did not contribute. I believed then and I believe now that under no circumstances should a person’s life be taken away by another human being.
I worked hard to rebuild my life after that nightmare, forming a family, becoming a mother, earning a PhD as a psychologist and working as a university professor in Europe.
Last year, I was unexpectedly arrested during one of my professional travels to the USA and imprisoned for two months. I have cooperated fully with the authorities and helped them solve this case. When they arrested these people, I finally felt safe from them and hoped that justice would be done.
But the nightmare has not ended. In order to encourage my cooperation, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office claimed they “were not interested in me” and that “I was not a target”. Yet they continue to charge me with murder despite having evidence that in no way was I involved.
I am fighting to end this continuous victimisation in my life. My trust was violated by my father, by the man who raped me and by a man I dated. Now, my trust is being violated by the authorities who we expect to deliver justice.
I was born in 1974 in a small town in rural Southern Mexico. The town was unpaved, with no sewerage or running water. Its population has remained unchanged at 1000. At the age of five, my mother reunited her three children with her husband, who was living and working in Southern California. There, I attended elementary and junior high schools, where I excelled in academics and athletics and was eventually granted a merit-based scholarship to a top boarding school in New Hampshire. I then returned to California to attend college.
After working at the University of Southern California as a counsellor, I pursued a PhD in psychology. During these studies, I was offered an internship in mental health policy at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland. As a result of this opportunity, I moved to the Geneva area to work on global health policy and teach as a university professor.
I have worked hard to make something of myself, contribute to society, and most of all, to give my four-year-old daughter a better life than mine. I want the cycle of victimisation to end in my generation.