“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
~ Edmond Burke
One year ago today seven courageous women said “no more”.
No more would we be silenced.
No more would we remain victims.
No one would we stuff away the past.
On that cold, bright morning in a Chicago courtroom we faced our demons. We faced our ex-cult leader, our past, our old chains, and the multiple, powerful men sitting in the gallery who had tried desperately for years to keep us silent.
We faced our greatest fears knowing we were not alone.
After six grueling hours of testimony where we were yelled at, mocked, and threatened, we finally sat nervously in the courtroom gallery waiting for the verdict.
The words our attorney had spoken on the stand hours earlier while being personally and brutally attacked by the defense counsel still rang loud in our ears.
“I am confident that everything we filed is accurate. I know their stories as has been told to me and I believed them. And as I sit in this stand under oath, I believe them as well”.
Our legal team fought tooth and nail for us. They believed our stories. But would the judge?
While grasping each other’s hands so tightly our knuckles turned white, we listened to the judge make his final ruling.
“I have been able to observe all of these seven women who have testified. I have been able to observe their manner and demeanor while testifying. I have now been on the bench for 21 years and I was an attorney for 21 years before that. I am a pretty good read, I think, as to how people are sitting, conducting themselves, acting or the like, as to whether, in my opinion, they are trustworthy and credible, or whether they aren’t necessarily testifying to facts that they believed to be true. I did not find that in any of the seven women that testified. I found their testimony to be credible. I saw the manner and demeanor that they utilized while testifying to be credible.”
That day in court we received something worth far more than any monetary compensation we could have ever received; We received validation.
For the first time it was on legal record that our stories had strength. We were told that the pouring out of our hearts and the relinquishment of our privacy had not been in vein. Over the last three years we had sacrificed so much for the chance to tell our stories and that day we realized with tears in our eye that we had finally been heard.
I will forever be proud of my fellow warriors and so incredibly grateful for their love, support, and friendship over the last four years. We walked arm in arm through hell and back and yet it did not break us.
He did not break us.
Kia Kaha my sisters. Love won. ?