Ray the D.A.- Meet victim advocate Blerina Gojani
Ray: Hello, crime fighters. I’m Ray the D.A., and we’re here on Straight Talk. Amber Freeman has stood us up this week. She’s usually the one everybody tunes in to watch, but you’re stuck with me, but we also have with us here today Blerina Gojani. Blerina is a victims’ advocate with the office of the Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney. She used to work for me, but now she works with Lou Anna Red Corn. Lou Anna has been there for a long time, hasn’t she?
Blerina Gojani: that’s right. She has, and it’s been my pleasure to work for her. She’s just a very smart woman, and she’s somebody that you would want to have a leader.
Ray: Yeah. Well, there you have it. Blerina has worked … How long have you worked with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office?
Blerina Gojani: I started almost eight years.
Ray: You’re a victims’ advocate, and you now have a new responsibility. What is that?
Blerina Gojani: my new title is restitution coordinator. I basically work with victims that had been victimized by fraud, theft, cases.
Ray: They’ve lost money.
Blerina Gojani: They’ve lost money. That’s correct.
Ray: and you try to help them recover that?
Blerina Gojani: That’s right. I get those amounts, and then we get them ready for sentencings, put them in front of the judge, and at that point, it’s up to the judge to order restitution.
Ray: I’m catching a little bit of an accent here. Tell me, where are you from?
Blerina Gojani: I am originally from Kosovo. I was born and raised there. I moved to United States at 2005. I became a-
Ray: Married your school sweetheart.
Blerina Gojani: I did. I did. We were in the same class for four years. We were best friends, and now we’re married.
Ray: And you moved to the United States.
Blerina Gojani: Then I moved to the United States.
Ray: Now, when you lived in Kosovo, you went through the Serbian War.
Blerina Gojani: That’s correct.
Ray: That was a traumatic experience for you. Tell me a little about that.
Blerina Gojani: there was a war in Kosovo in 1998, and it ended in 1999. There were troubles going on before that, but that was the worst. During that time, it was hard, because I was 14. I was trying to understand what’s going on, and I thought I did, but sometimes I didn’t, but in general, it was very scary, and-
Blerina Gojani: … We all-
Ray: … When you’re 14 years old, and I read about that, the Serbian War, and one of the things that I learned about was that a lot of the people that lived in Kosovo, at least the women, were raped.
Blerina Gojani: That’s true.
Ray: You were 14 years old. You had told me before that your mother did something about that.
Blerina Gojani: She just cut my hair and then had me wear a big jacket, basically just so that I wouldn’t stand out and be a victim of rape.
Ray: She wanted you to look like a little boy. Yeah. Okay, so you became basically, your husband became a refugee.
Blerina Gojani: that’s right. At the time, they forced us to leave our homes, and we all … I went to Albania. My husband’s family went to Macedonia, and after that, they contacted a friend that lived here in United States who asked them to come over. In the name of my husband’s family, I really want to say thank you to Lexington. They have helped them so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you. That’s, they decided to stay here, and that’s why I’m here today.
Ray: But you graduated from college in Kosovo with an elementary-
Blerina Gojani: Education.
Ray: … Teacher’s degree, and you came over here, and you wanted to teach, but guess what?
Blerina Gojani: my credit did not transfer, and at the same time I was learning the language as well, so I wasn’t confident enough to try something else.
Ray: Well, you came to work at the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office as a victims’ advocate, and you have been absolutely superb, and we’re … By the way, she’s destined to be an American. After all, her birthday was the fourth of July. Right?
Blerina Gojani: that’s right. I was born to come here.
Ray: Yeah. We’ll see you next time, crime fighters, and thanks, Blerina, for being here.
Blerina Gojani: thank you for having me, Ray.