At the conclusion of one of my abuse shelter talks, the women there presented me with a notebook of handwritten thanks they had put together for me. I cherish that memento, but the thanks were unnecessary. It has been my honor to speak to and for these women.
The legal system provided inadequate relief. [According to the women I met, it] could be life-threatening for…[an abused] woman to contact police. Too often, police treated the call for help as a routine squabble. Protective Orders could be obtained through the courts, but were not always enforced.
Though not a domestic relations attorney, I had been to Family Court for the legal clinic. It reminded me of nothing so much as an ancient bazaar, merchants haggling. The rooms were packed with unrepresented women and their children, all supplicants waiting their meager share of justice. Some judges welcomed the few attorneys present; others seemed to despise attorneys.
The teenage son of one of my clients was…determined to become a lawyer, himself. At age fourteen, he was already jaded by the system, sure that he could master it. Certain he could do no worse.
— Excerpt from Like Rain on Parked Cars by Anna Waldherr
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