Today I hugged a District Attorney!
I hugged him for all the victims that have needed an advocate to stand up for them. I hugged him for all the women he has represented and all those he will continue to represent. I hugged him especially for the brave woman I sat next to the past two days, who gave her testimony of the terrifying crime against her. We sat huddled close together, hand in hand, and listened as the officers recounted their experience of the incident as well. I squeezed her hand tightly during the closing argument as the DA recounted detail by detail the violation. I felt her body begin to shake as the PTSD took her back to that moment. I saw the tears fall down her cheeks as the Defense did their best to discredit her testimony. We sat together for what felt like hours while a jury deliberated. When the verdict was read, “Guilty!”, she grabbed me tight, sobbed audibly and I felt the chains that held her so tightly be broken.
She had begun this journey for justice so long ago. Her very life had been threatened if she testified. She worried about the safety of her children. She questioned whether or not it was worth the risk to press forward but yesterday that book ended and today she gets to begin writing an entirely new book. As she stood in her honor and integrity and said, “This will not happen to another woman, not on my watch!”, there wasn’t an absence of fear but there was courage to overcome that fear. This was the second time this man had been convicted of a similar crime against a woman….. And if it’s the second time he was convicted I’m certain there have been other victims that have never come forward because of fear.
This woman has just recently come into my life but we have been connected since the day she was born….. I’ve known her though I hadn’t ever met her until a couple months ago. Her courage and superhero strength is an inspiration to me. I’m so humbled and honored to have been her person for the last two days. These quiet hours we spent side by side, hand in hand were vulnerable and she expressed that she was embarrassed to have been with this man for a time. I know all these feelings oh so well, I too have had violations in my past and at those times in my life, I had not felt strong enough to sit through court proceedings. I can’t express how much I love her for being so strong and brave. I know she did this for herself, for her daughters and I know she did this for women like me who chose to silently get away from the situation instead of standing and fighting. I honor the women like her and I honor the women like me. It is brave to leave and it is brave to stand up. Both are good choices. There is no shame in either.
Now, the book of healing begins. She has already expressed her desire to give back to the law enforcement that protected her and her children. She has expressed the passion she has to assist other women in these situations. She wants to save the world and I will be right be her side doing the same! I love you! Thank you for allowing me to walk this path alongside you. It has truly been an honor to watch you fight for your freedom.