Danyelle Dyer was only 7 years old when her father’s stepbrother, Harold Dwayne English, visited her childhood home in Bristow, Oklahoma for the summer. Throughout his visit, English continually molested Dyer until she told her parents what was happening one day.
“I would rather look down the barrel of a gun than relive the time I had to look into my 7-year-old daughter’s eyes as she struggled to tell me what had happened to her,” Dyer’s father told CNN.
English was tried and convicted of lewd molestation of a child and was sent to prison. Now, 14 years later, he’s out of prison and living next door to the same young girl he molested.
English moved in with his mother, Dyer’s grandmother, CNN reports. Both of Dyer’s parents reassured her that it was illegal for English to live next to them. Unfortunately, after multiple calls to local police and lawmakers, Dyer’s family realized there’s no law barring an abuser from living so close to his victim.
According to Broadly, Oklahoma law states that child abusers cannot live near schools and other child-specific areas. The law does not include restrictions in residential areas that could protect victims from their abusers in situations like Dyer’s.
“If I look outside, I can see my grandmother’s entire house. We are maybe 100 yards from her house,” 21-year-old Dyer told CNN.
Dyer’s father told local news channel KFOR that his daughter has been forced to relive her trauma since English moved in next door. “She’s had to bring her deepest darkest secrets out for the public to view just to try to rid this person of her life,” he said.
The 21-year-old told Broadly that living so close to English puts her on edge. “It’s a little nerve-wracking knowing that he’s so close,” Dyer said. “It brings back memories and emotions that I have hidden and put away and I don’t want to think about... Him moving in is the first time I’ve ever felt like a true victim.”
So, Dyer and her family took matters into their own hands.
On June 17, Dyer posted a photo of English on her Facebook page explaining her horrible situation. “Meet my abuser and my new neighbor. He has been asked to leave but in Oklahoma he can legally reside there,” her post reads. “My hope is to bring awareness that this information is public record and you should use it for your safety. And also make it aware that there is obvious flaws in Oklahoma Law regarding victim safety and well being.”
Read Dyer’s full Facebook post below.
Dyer’s family has put up signs around their neighborhood to warn other families that a sex offender lives in their community.
“CHILD SEX OFFENDER Harold Dwayne English. Living with Betty Dyer,” the sign reads with large arrows pointing towards the house English lives in.
The Dyers are working with Oklahoma lawmakers to make a change. She told Broadly that her family has organized a rally in Bristow to protest the current law and hopefully raise awareness around child sexual abuse.
Dyer told KFOR that she thought long and hard about coming out publicly as a survivor of child sexual abuse, and hopes that she can help other survivors from facing the same issue.
“It’s very empowering for me because it makes me feel like I’m making a difference and I didn’t share my story for nothing. That it is bringing about positive change,” Dyer said. “And whether it affects one woman and I can help one woman, I’m completely happy with that.”