By Pamela Chapman
I really don’t know what’s been going on with me lately. I don’t know if my heart has been so incredibly stirred up because I recently had Susan Murphy-Milano on my blog talk show where she discussed her ingenious Time’s Up:A Guide on How to Leave an Abusive and Stalking Relationship. She always moves me to conviction! Maybe I’m being riled up because of my one-month sabbatical to the Yucatan, or maybe because of what I’m seeing here. So what is it that I’m seeing? INJUSTICE! This is not the first time I’ve seen injustice but today I’m seeing more than ever.
Let’s take a closer look at the word “injustice.” The definition of justice is: fairness, impartiality, righteousness, evenhandedness, and fair dealing. According to the Encarta English Dictionary, justice is fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made; system or application of law—the legal system, or the act of applying or upholding the law; to deal with somebody or something fairly. Merriam-Webster says that justice is the maintenance and administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments. The quality of being just, impartial and fair.
In studying this word further, we must look at the words that were used to define it, such as righteousness, fairness, impartiality, and just. Due to the brevity of this piece, let’s just concentrate on “righteousness.” When I think of righteousness, I think of the righteousness of God. I think of that which is virtuous, that which is upright. I’m reminded of integrity, equity, straightness, and truth.
That is what our legal system is supposed to represent, but it does not. What we see instead—particularly in domestic violence cases—is quite the opposite. We see the unfairness of our legal system. We see that if you don’t have money—large sums of money, to be exact—you don’t get justice. Everything that occurs in the justice system is about money: lawyers, coaches, counselors, and even mediators all cost money. Excellent attorneys, the ones who get convictions, cost a fortune. The male usually has and controls the money and leaves the woman at a disadvantage.
In our legal system, we see prejudice. We see male perpetrators being slapped on the hand, by male judges, for their crimes especially if they are prominent figures or in the limelight. We see judges making biased decisions to give abusers and perpetrators custody rights when so many of these abusers have sexually violated their partners. You know, they have to be fair.
We see the inequality when it comes to the rights of women and the rights of men. In my state, Colorado, if the police are called out in a domestic violence dispute, they must make an arrest. If a woman has decided to defend herself, it is more than likely that she will be the one going to jail. Officers often do not take the time—or to be fair, even have the time—to find the truth or search out the facts. She might wind up with a felony on her record.
We see the hypocrisy of the system when detectives won’t even open missing-persons cases on women. We see women and children having little or no value in our justice system. We see our justice system acting as if justice is for all and as if justice is blind.
I know that there are days when it seems like you are not making any difference. Some days it probably seems as if wickedness and the injustices of this world, not just in America, are prevailing. But may I leave you these few short words of encouragement and inspiration? Stand! “He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” —Psalm 37:6 “And, He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness, yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.” Psalm 94:23.
Keep up the work of your great cause. Don’t give up and don’t give in. We will continue to join together and fight not only for the annihilation of domestic violence, but for justice in every murder case, for every missing person, and for every child who is abused and sexually violated. One day, we shall truly overcome. Just continue to stand!
In love, light, and healing