A week or so ago I received the notification that I knew would come eventually. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Victim Services Division notified me that the man who molested one of my children would be facing the parole board in the next 4-6 months. It said “we acknowledge how difficult it may be for you to write about the effects of this crime, but you are welcome to submit any letters, newspaper clippings, or photographs that would help the Board of Pardons and Paroles understand how the offense has affected [the victim and/or guardian of the victim]…” . I took a deep breath and put the notification aside to give myself time to breath, vent to my free therapy group, and pray. But, my time is up and today I’m going to deal with this notification and respond on my child’s behalf.
Statistics on child sexual assault are alarming. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys is sexually abused by the age of 18. Many people feel they don’t have the strength to speak out because it’s such a violating and private issue. As for me, I have vowed to never stop speaking out and hopefully someone somewhere will gain strength and have the courage to speak out too. “Keep on speaking, do not be silent… It is not right to acquit the guilty or deny justice to the innocent. For justice is a joy to the godly…” (Acts 18:9, Prov 18:5 & 21:3).
As I write this letter to the parole board this morning, so many amazing law firm clients come to my mind. I cannot give their names due to attorney client privileges but they know who they are. I clearly see the face of a woman whose husband was physically abusing her (to the point of blood coming out of her ear from brain swelling) and I sat down with her for a couple of hours helping her draft an affidavit to file for a restraining order. She was scared and concerned that he may kill her for finally standing up for herself but she stood strong and faced him in the courtroom testifying to the things that he had done to hopefully ensure safety in the future. I clearly see the face of a couple that is near and dear to my heart whose son was killed by a woman who was playing with a loaded gun and they had to cooperate with police and the legal process including facing their son’s murderer in court. I clearly see the face of Tara Woodlee, a mother who has been speaking out against domestic violence since her daughter Ashleigh was murdered by her boyfriend. Her cause can be found through this Facebook link or The Patience Project website.
These are the people that I admire. If they can face their truly horrible circumstances and participate in the legal process, so can I. We will never be able to stop evil. It has been around since the beginning. But, we can SPEAK out, bring awareness, encourage others, and be more than a statistic. We can be a FACE and a NAME and someone that others can draw strength from. So many people have been molested or raped and fear the legal process or their offender so they do not come forward. I know of women who know that their children have been molested but they have not called the police. You never know, sharing my story may encourage another mother to call the police and report a sexual assault. It may give someone the strength to finally stand up and put an end to years of sexual abuse. What I do know is that doing NOTHING produces NOTHING.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people”. Prov 31:8-9 & Psa 82:4.