I didn’t sleep last night. I had no idea what to expect. I was creating all kinds of scenarios in my head where I’d have to reveal personal details of my life, or perhaps I’d be judged for being there in the first place.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I read up on the judge. I forgot I’d seen him in action before. He’s the person you’d want running a family violence court. He actually cares about the guys in the court (There are no women in his court right now though of course, it’s possible.)
First, let me tell you what happens in court. Each case is called, probation reports on the participant’s progress based on what the court ordered. For most this meant some combination of were they attending addiction treatment, did they test clean, employment status, participation in mankind (anti-domestic violence counseling), etc. Almost everyone was doing well, and I could tell the judge was genuinely happy to see it.
Two participants chose not to show up for court. He didn’t hesitate to revoke probation and issue a warrant for their arrest. That seems reasonable to me. Another participant failed a drug test. I absolutely thought he was going to get his probation revoked, but the judge was pretty fair. He listened to what happened, the man accepted responsibility for the mistake and ended up getting 48 hours in custody and likely will need more addiction treatment. The Judge listened.
Our turn came. He’s in custody right now and will be for a few more weeks. At sentencing, the court did not let me speak, even though it’s the victim’s right. A full no-contact order was issued. I understand in theory why this happened. However, he’s in custody and I can’t even visit at the jail which makes no sense to me. Perhaps the intent is to protect against mental manipulation, I’m not sure. But I’m certainly not in any physical danger.
I was allowed to address the court today and they are amending the order so that I can visit him. I am appreciative of this. I’m also glad this resource exists. A little accountability helps everyone. Having to show up and see the judge twice a month isn’t convenient, but it’s not unduly arduous either. Considering that every day 3 women die from domestic violence, and over 10 million adults are the victims of domestic violence each year in the United States, any reasonable effort to help offenders stop is worthwhile.
If you are the victim of domestic violence, please seek help. The situation is unlikely to resolve itself peacefully. Help is possible.