A 12-year-old Oklahoma boy just wanted to escape from the repeated rapes he suffered at the hands of his stepfather, so 10 years ago he turned the man in. But Collin Grant now says he wishes he had never told anyone about Jimmy Don Mackey's reign of terror—which included punching Grant in the back and covering his mouth with duct tape while abusing him—because Grant's mom ended up going to prison for even longer than Mackey, BuzzFeed reports. Even though she was allegedly abused herself by her husband, Alishia Mackey was thrown in jail for 20 years for not protecting Grant, while Jimmy Don got just 15 years after pleading guilty to rape and other sex crimes. Grant, 22, tells BuzzFeed Alishia shouldn't be in jail and that he misses her, adding, "Honestly, I would rather have gone through the abuse for the rest of my life."
Prosecutors say the law that put Alishia Mackey away, in which parents are penalized if they don't keep their kids safe from abuse, is a good one because it "[sends] the message that mothers must defend their children, even if their own safety is at risk." BuzzFeed cites its own investigative article that talks about other battered mothers who've been criminalized and notes that while most states have some kind of law (either general or explicit) in place to prosecute parents who didn't stop a child's abuse, only a few have laws that address parents who thought they'd be abused themselves if they intervened. "What are we really doing on behalf of that child who is the victim of the crime?" the executive director of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence tells BuzzFeed. "How is that [imprisoning the mother] helpful to them?" Read BuzzFeed's full report for more.