Monday, February 9, 2009

Why Lemur Doesn't Make Lawyer Jokes, Part 2

Continuing from Part 1,  we have a very frightened Lemur, who finally managed to leave her abusive boyfriend. 

She was running out of strength. Her friends were distant, her family was losing patience, and she was becoming afraid to leave the house because every white truck she saw triggered fear. So as a last resort, she did what she'd been taught: she went to the police. She had called them before, but they never seemed to be able to help. This time, though, she had a goal: a restraining order. Something, anything, to make him stop! So she went- and got an interview with a bored-looking officer who not-quite-sneered at her lack of "hard evidence" and told her there was nothing he could do; a judge wouldn't grant a restraining order without evidence of threats of physical harm, which she didn't have. She walked out, feeling alone and helpless.

This was it. There was no way to stop him; the only other option was to try and avoid him- even though he knew her phone number, where she worked, where she lived, where her friends lived... even though he'd accosted her in daylight, in a public place, in his work uniform and seemed to have gotten away with it. There would be time to gather her strength and self-reliance and work out a plan later; at that point, Lemur was defeated. She sat in her car in the police station parking lot and gave in to misery and fear. As Lemur sat there and sobbed, there was a tap on her car window.
A lady stood there in the parking lot next to her car, looking concerned. Lemur opened the door and looked at her. "Are you ok?" asked the lady. At this bit of concern, Lemur lost her reserve and broke down, explaining that her ex-boyfriend was stalking and harassing her and that the police had told her there was nothing they could do about it. The lady's face darkened. "Like hell there's not! You come with me." Lemur followed the woman  across the parking lot toward a different part of the police building, at a complete loss. The lady explained as they walked that she was a public defender; when they got to her office, she sat Lemur down and told her in no uncertain terms that there were, in fact, laws for cases just such as hers, adding her professional opinion that the cop Lemur had spoken to "just didn't want to do the damn paperwork. Lazy ass. You realize if you'd gotten hurt, he's guilty of negligence?"

The lady looked up the laws, showed them to Lemur and gave her a copy of the relevant pages, and then asked for Jerkoff's phone number.
She left a message on his phone: "You should call me for some free legal advice, unless you'd like the first time you speak to me be when you're in jail on a felony charge." She hung up the phone and smiled. "Here's my card. Call me if he bothers you again, but I don't think he will."
She was right. Lemur waited anxiously for a day, two days, a week, a month. Nothing. It was like he'd disappeared. She was finally free, she could leave the house! (Still, it took several more  weeks before she stopped being afraid of white trucks.) She could drive by Jerkoff's neighborhood without detouring to avoid it. Several months later, she met someone nice and realized she was strong enough to try dating again. She grew, and she learned, and she mourned the things she had lost and the time she had wasted. And she held on to the lessons she'd learned, and swore she'd never be such a fool again. (So far, so good.)
But she never forgot the lady lawyer who saved her, gave her her life back, and gave her hope when she was on the edge of despair. Not the police. Not the system. One strong woman, one lawyer who cared about an anonymous wreck of a girl in a parking lot. She didn't forget.

And that is why this Lemur- badass irreverent feminist bitch- doesn't make lawyer jokes. Because a lawyer saved me when no one else would or could. Why did I tell this story? I don't know. Because I felt it important to share my experience. Because someone reading may recognize their own past or present; because someone may avoid that future. 

Because- thank you, Carol-  hope comes from unlikely places.