“I’m here to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves” - Elle Woods

by Rachel Lynch in

Have you ever seen pink litas in a courtroom? Chic right?

Chic yes, and that's exactly what I did today. I also learned today that oversized purses and venti starbucks iced coffee are strongly discouraged inside the courtroom. But none of this really matters. None of this really matters in the scheme of things, no one's looking at your feet when they're striving to get legal protection against their abuser.

Domestic Abuse Court. A court specifically designed to cater to the legal needs of the victims and perpetrators of domestic crimes. I was there to study the psychology of the abuser and the psychological impacts on the abused. This morning I saw two men go to jail, mothers crying, women smirking, public defendants yelling and judges deliberating.

These women and families have been through so much, I can't even imagine the types of emotions that must be running through them as they sit on the wooden benches. Mothers losing their sons to the state penitentiary and women fighting for protection of their children, it's a room of constant tears and struggle. I sat in the front row with my legs crossed and notebook open for a few hours then was able to speak with a court advocate named Therasa. She said she sees the same handful of guys every month, sometimes with different partners. The defendant often brings family members and other people to try to intimidate the victim from prosecuting, so she helped invent "safe rooms", which are adjacent to the courtrooms and a place where the victim can wait in peace and safety for their trial to begin. Therasa told me that there is little to no safe housing for victims to stay at while they await trial, only 150 beds in the city. To me, Greenhouse is a club on the lower east side. Here, it's the name of the closest shelter for victims of domestic abuse. She also told me that economics and fear are two of the main factors that keep victims in relationships. I know this game all too well. After being in an emotional and physically abusive relationship for almost two years of my life, I know that it's hard to speak out and it's hard to ask for help. You're ashamed and really don't think anyone is going to believe you. I feel like the most important thing I learned today is that there is help.  It's closer than you think and you don't have to be afraid. Ladies (and gents), if you're in an abusive relationship, Get help! Tell someone, a friend or family member. You deserve so much better. You are beautiful and strong and worthy. Never let someone else determine your self-worth, you are everything and more.  So, BE STRONG! BE BLONDE!

love you all xoxo