The jury.

The jury.


Last week I had the honor of sitting in a courtroom as a 17 year-old-girl stood up to the man who abused her for much of her childhood.

I didn’t know her then and could do nothing to stop it.

Even now, I could do nothing as she had to recount the traumas done to her. Sitting alone on the stand as grown men challenged her to remember every detail of what he had done. To name specific acts and places and dates.

As the defense attorney called out every little inconsistency in her story from the first time she told a counselor 4 years ago to now, she sat alone. Dozens of eyes staring at her and judging her every word. The jury literally deciding whether they believed her and all that was done to her.

I ache to scream out that I believe her. To stop the defense from trying to shame her for not telling the right person sooner. To tell the jury that nobody remembers every detail from their childhood, especially when such horrific traumas are involved.

To make it right somehow. To find justice for this beloved girl.

But not yet. The jury was hung. 7 and 5.

I will never know what gave them pause or made them question. I can’t make it right for her.

But someday I will be called on to be a juror in another case with another crime. I won’t make excuses or try to get out of it.

Juries matter. Because she matters.

Be a juror. For the innocent victims. And for the innocent defendants.

It’s the least we can do. But it might also be the most.

4 Comments

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  1. Pam H.

    Very heartbreaking. To pour one’s soul out in front of strangers regarding a horrific life and then to think that someone wouldn’t believe her? The courage for her to do that. You tell her she is stronger than anyone I know – to be able to go through that and even if the victory isn’t in that courtroom, she has victory within herself that she will survive! God will have the final victory.

  2. Frank Block

    Liz, these are heartbreakers that I saw too often over the years and that made/still make me wretch inside. When a woman (or man) (usually young, often juveniles as you know) has the wherewithal to detail these acts in front of those watching eyes that you describe, to have the jury not believe and convict is beyond me. How sad for this young woman and too many others. Being a knowledgable juror is a wise step. Thanks for writing.

  3. ML Forsythe

    SO angry on her behalf. Must make her, and other victims, think “why bother? why try? no one will believe me anyway. nothing will be done about it.” I’m angry and sad. Your post speaks volumes and at least says one of the places that we can make a difference. Sit on juries and stand up for victims.

  4. Tricia TAYLOR

    Liz, My heart is breaking reading this. I’m so glad that you could be there with her. I’m sure your support means more to her than you know.

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