Since my blog is my homepage (how humble of me) I keep looking at the same post over and over thinking, “I should write something new. Maybe something funny, or exciting, or heartwarming.” And day after day, I keep looking at the same words. Okay, so maybe it has only been a week, but that’s a long time in the blog-world, as we all know. And a lot has been going on here. But I just can’t seem to get the words out. There have been some big wins and some heartbreaking losses here in the last week. I have felt the depths of anger and sorrow within the same waking period as joy and contentment. Some days I feel truly manic. I feel a lot of pressure. To counsel and advise, to guide, to research, to write, to change, to maintain.
Today I watched one of my clients be taken away by the police, accused of a crime even the police admitted they knew she didn’t do. But because her employer knows how to work the system here, has figured out all the loop holes, she was accused so the employer could escape her financial obligations. I sat in a court for 7 hours watching the face of evil (aka the employer) look smug and confidant as she avoided questions and blatantly lied about the conditions of employment she provided. She was smug because she knew, even if my client had all the evidence on her side, there were police waiting outside to take her away for a crime she so obviously didn’t commit. And in a few days, she will be acquitted and returned to our shelter, exhausted, threatened, scared. Which is exactly what the employer wants. It wasn’t enough that this girl was kept like a virtual prisoner for 18 months, that her very life was threatened. Anything the employer can do to elevate her power, she will. And with the system stacked against the worker, there are little hopes for true justice.
When I returned to the office tonight, I literally collapsed in the rolly chair and fought the tears as my wonderful co-worker listened to my day and sympathized. “Its a struggle, and honestly, there isn’t much chance they will always come out ahead. But what these women really need is someone to just be there, to say ‘Hey, I’m on your side.’ To give them that encouragement, and let them know that they aren’t alone.”
So today, while Little Miss Evil pranced around thinking she had the upper-hand, I just held my client’s hand. I told her that truth was more important than power and that regardless of what happened, we were there for her. Only, I got to go home tonight, curl up in my green blanket and drown my day in chocolate cake (homemade of course) and quippy episodes of Gilmore Girls, while a young Indonesian woman is stuck in a jail cell, waiting for the investigation team that will arrive in the middle of the night and can question her at any time (their favored time is usually 2 or 3 am). She lives waiting for the next shoe to drop and wonders how many feet her employer has in which to stomp her down.
Is truth really greater than power? And if so, how come truth hardly seems to prevail? Hope, in the face of evil, is hard. Just plain hard.