Crystal Matheson

Crystal Matheson, once a victim of domestic violence and now a dedicated victims' advocate, has transformed her harrowing experiences into a force for positive change. Having navigated the justice system as a victim of crime, she is a strong supporter of Marsy's Law in Georgia and understands the positive difference it is making for other victims in her state.

Q: C
an you describe what it was like for you as a crime victim in the Georgia court system? 

A: Being a victim in the Georgia system, at least for me, was of course somewhere I never wanted to be. But I have encountered wonderful and caring people all along the way who know their job and do it well. I felt like I was a human being and not just a case. Everyone tried their best to keep me informed and explain things so I could try to understand them (although I don't know if that's even possible for a regular person). But the point is they tried. One thing that stood out to me was the encouragement. They listened to how I felt.

Q: What did you find to be the most frustrating aspect? 

A: I think the unknown. Not knowing what might happen. Nothing is ever certain, coupled with the fear and anxiety that is already there from the trauma is extremely hard mentally. Sometimes it feels like a victim has fewer rights [in a court of law as opposed to the accused who is assigned an attorney].

Q: How do you believe Marsy’s Law for Georgia is helping crime victims in the state? 

A: I believe that victims should be informed when there is a movement within the correctional system whether it be from facility to facility or release. No one should ever have the possibility of coming face-to-face with their assailant out of the blue. They should always be kept informed.

Q: Do you have any words of encouragement for other crime victims? Crystal Matheson

A: I think of all the words of encouragement I have received. But if I use my own it would be to never let "give up" be an option. People may tell you you’re strong (and you are...more than you know) but you don't feel like it. Don't give up because you don't feel like it. Take the time to not feel like it ... cry, scream, pray. Whatever you need to do but don't stay there. Give it a moment but don't stay there. It doesn't mean that is the only moment you can have. Just have it and then get up! And I know it feels like you are alone at times you aren't. Try to find some way to occupy yourself and put your focus on the good things. I believe there is more good than bad. Sometimes you have to purposefully work to find it. I also believe what you feed grows. I fight every day to feed the good. Sometimes I win and sometimes I don't. The point is to keep fighting.​