They Criminalized Her For Defending Herself From Domestic Violence

Tomiekia Johnson with daughter
Via Survived and Punished
Zain Murdock
September 20, 2021

In 2012, Tomiekia Johnson was convicted of murdering her husband. But the one huge detail her trial was missing? The fact that, in the years before the day they struggled with that gun, he had been physically and psychologically abusing her.

So where is she now?

Black people more than anyone else know the meaning of finding liberation "by any means necessary." And Black women specifically are more likely to be killed by domestic violence. 

However, when Johnson did what she needed to do to save herself and her 13-year-old daughter Navaeh, she was criminalized instead. And she’s been in prison ever since.

“Survivors of domestic violence need healing,” Johnson says, approaching 10 years of incarceration. “Not to be punished for actions you may have taken to save your own life.” 

While Johnson’s fighting to get out, she’s also been helping others from behind bars.

From practicing her Christian faith through charity programs, to facilitating a program to help other survivors of trauma, even her daughter is proud of all she’s done in the time they’ve been ripped apart. 

Still, she wants her mom to come home.

Because the criminal legal system so often refuses to protect us, we need to support survivors of domestic violence in our own communities before it’s too late. You can help Johnson seek commutation by submitting a public comment at

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