The NC General Assembly presented two bills to the Governor's office yesterday, 03 April 2007. They are important for everyone, though unlike other Legislative actions, one wishes that the special interest group these laws serve were much smaller than it is.
HB 42: AN ACT to amend criminal Procedure laws affecting domestic violence victims and to require domestic violence homicide reporting as recommended by the joint legislative committee on domestic violence.
HB 46: AN ACT to determine whether security guidelines are needed for domestic violence shelters operated by state‑funded agencies and to provide, where feasible, secure areas for domestic violence victims to await hearing of their court case as recommended by the joint legislative committee on domestic violence.
Kudos and a grateful 'Thank you' goes to the NC Lege for taking up this matter and passing these bills. Such laws are essential legal tools, even though, sadly, one cannot wear them like a kevlar vest nor wield them like shields over one's children. Nonetheless, they do make a difference.
Our mothers and grandmothers did not have it so well.
That is reality.
However, I want to turn attention away from tragedy, just for a moment, to triumph. Would you join me, friends and lurkers, in lifting our glasses and nodding our heads to my heroes.
To they who go unnoticed by all but those they help. Most of you will never know them as they look to me -- as heroes. They don't get rewards or medals or bonuses or cars or cruises or vacation homes for their work. They move quietly within and around the legal tools created by our lawmakers. They rescue and save lives in our midst, yet in our shadows.
I'm talking about the undercover corps of volunteers and workers; the social worker, deputy, officer of the court, guardian ad litem, psychologist, doctor, legislator, teacher, administrator, friend, neighbor and family. Each one of them is a hand that holds up the crushed, the unsteady, the determined who flea their homes in mortal fear by the thousands every year. Together these heroes guide a woman through the long wilderness of rebuilding, one handing off to the next, until she can smile and move straight and strong on her own.
It is not a short journey. For every year of destruction, a year of rebuilding begins on the day she leaves. And years down the road, the kindness and strength of those hands, seen and unseen, who held this woman up when she couldn't stand alone and shielded her children until she could shield them herself, remain with her.
They will always be there with her, forever.
They are truly heroes of the highest order.
When next you're wondering where your church, sunday school class, youth group, scout troop or club can help, call your local women's shelter and ask them what they need. You will add your hands to the many who hold up the unsteady. Each will know -- despite what their husbands told them for years -- that you do see her, you do care and you believe her.
Whether or not you know it, you will be there with her in triumph.
forgiveness, now free
by Christof Wittwer