by R. L., VSPW
drawing of women in prison jerseys in a large envelope sending letters, with a concrete wall topped with barbed wire in the backgroundConsider your neighbor, the girl next door or someone you know from the parent meetings at your child’s school. Think about the young mother who always has a smile, a thoughtful word, and a helping hand. Consider the perfect young mother you know from church. Now, consider the same woman hiding a secret for years: abuse!
When this woman is missing from the everyday life, she could be one of the many mothers serving a life sentence or sitting on death row for defending herself against an abuser!
You would be shocked at the amount of time women are actually serving in prison. In a lot of cases women serve more time than men! You would be astonished to read some of the stories from the “Battered Women’s Justice Project.”
Why do many of these women shrink into the farthest most isolated places instead of telling their story? Why are they rarely heard from? In general, women who are abused received their education from the “Good ‘ol boys.” These women have learned to lose their voice.
They usually are not allowed to work outside the home, they are kept from having money, and from establishing any sense of self. They are lied to and contradicted at every turn. Their worth depends on the husband’s approval.
The one sense of love they are allowed is through their children. With children in the picture they are expected to be wonderful mothers. I know for a fact that many are. At the risk of threats of disfigurement or losing their children, many will take any abuse or punishment to protect the children they love.
The fact is a child or mother falls victim to abuse at the rate of one every few seconds. How are these women treated when they ask for help? They are treated badly from the law enforcement officers all the way to the courts. When an abused woman finally breaks mentally or emotionally and defends herself against an attacker she will be the one facing scrutiny.
She will face the jury and her story still may not be told. She has lost her voice and sense of self-worth long before she walked into that courtroom. The courts will ultimately have ammunition to send her to prison for the rest of her life. Consider screaming out for justice for these women in solitude!