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Shared by Lesley

I am an attorney and currently married to an abusive person. How did I end up here? I've heard it compared to a frog in a pot of water brought slowly to a boil. The frog doesn't realize how hot the water is getting until it's too late. 

Why am I still married? One reason is because I know that even though my partner has been abusive, sadly there is a real possibility that my partner will get partial or even full custody of my child. Unfortunately, the players in the legal system- from attorneys to judges to police officers- are woefully uninformed about abusers and their dangerousness. 

Imagine fighting against someone in court who lacks a conscience and lies. Imagine someone who is adored by others and hides behind this shield. Imagine someone who thrives in an adversarial system like a court of law. That is precisely the profile of my abuser. Imagine further that you are terrified because you have been beaten down over the years. I am afraid that leaving my partner will result in me and my child becoming penniless and homeless, or that we will be seriously injured or killed. 

When I went to law school, I sometimes had fantasies of being someone else's hero, such as saving an innocent person from death row or putting a rapist in jail. I never imaged I would be the one needing a hero to help me. 

Some people may ask how abuse could happen to an educated and intelligent attorney. I would simply respond that abuse knows no boundaries. It can happen to anyone. We do not choose to be abused nor are we to blame. 

I believe we need more heroes advocating for change in the legal system because it is broken. Our courts should not be a war zone but a sanctuary for survivors.

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