What if I told you an attorney once told the young mother: "If you are looking for justice, the last place you will find it is in the courtroom." ? Initially she did not believe those words, but over time, they became her own words.
Divorce proceedings lasted one solid year. Her soon to be ex-husband was determined to drag the nightmare out as long as possible, portraying himself as a repentant husband who was willing to do anything to put his marriage back together. Tears on the witness stand or in the attorneys' offices were so frequent, his attorney started toting along a box of tissue. She sat listening to him begging the judge to do anything in his power to give him more time to work things out with "the wife he loved with all of his heart"; all the while her thoughts were on the tightly bound fist that had found it's place on her left jaw with such power she saw stars.....on being pushed full force over the top of a chair....landing flat on her back with her head banging onto the kitchen floor and having to work to find breath....each time an abuse happened, she could see in her minds eye his turning away from her with a steely resolve of quiet that spoke volumes.
Walking out of court or out of the attorneys' offices, whenever the opportunity presented itself and when no one was around to be a witness, the abuser would call her disgusting names and tell her she would pay for causing his family this embarrassment. Each time he would draw near to her, she feared for her life. Quickly her eyes would dart around to see if anyone was near enough to hear her if she screamed, wondering if anyone would come to her rescue. Terror. Almost divorced, but still terrified.
After the divorce was finalized, the child custody proceedings quickly began. Filled with the rawest form of warrior protection known to any living creature, the young mother was driven by a force that was beyond her comprehension. She would protect her son from this man with all that was within her. She devised plans for making him admit his actions toward her, and was willing to say anything that was necessary to get his admission on tape.
"Hello, it's me" she said, "I have been thinking that perhaps I made a mistake with the divorce." She knew this man so well. She had studied his behavior for many years. She had found a way to gain the upper hand now and would give him just enough rope to hang his miserable self. At first he was reluctant to believe her words, but soon, he grasped them like a man sinking in quick sand would grab on to even an enemy's hand to be saved. She was the enemy. She was the one who had exposed the Sunday School teacher, deacon, "everyone's best friend" for what he truly was. But he would grasp hold of her, and she knew it.
Over the period of twelve months since she had fled, he had worked tirelessly to minimize what she had said about him. He had called her "emotionally unstable", a woman still reeling from post partum depression, a woman ready to get out of a marriage and willing to make up lies and destroy an innocent man to accomplish it, he even told others she had been the abuser and not him. His efforts to be the man he had once been were, in fact, futile. Even though many troops rallied behind him and spoke with their mouths their support of him, he was no dummy. A liar himself, a master manipulator of the worst kind, he read their eyes and sized them up. He could see most friends doubted him. His reputation was tarnished.
The young mother, thought to be too honest and too spiritual to be capable of deceit was underestimated. What a mother is willing to do to protect her children should never be underestimated.
"I really believe I could forgive you, but confession must come before true forgiveness can take place. We have to start somewhere, and I am willing to listen tonight if you want to begin reconciliation with me."
She knew this was the solution he had been waiting for. If he could just get back together with the woman he loathed, all his friends, family, and co-workers would believe him. They would no longer doubt him; he would be embraced again. It was worth the risk. He hated her and would make her pay for all of this, but he would gain his world back by giving a stupid confession. She knew he would buy into it.
That evening, with a tape recorder hooked into the young mother's phone, the abuser admitted everything.....hitting her, threatening her, and being addicted (heavily) to pornography. He even admitted to purchasing pornography and going to public parking lots to "use it". An exhibitionist.
Most people would assume the young mother would have celebrated that evening. She had beaten the beast at his own game, afterall. That was not the case. She hung up the phone, rolled into a fetal ball, and cried with a grief that ripped her very soul into shreds. She beat the floor with her fists and cried out to God: "Why, why have you forsaken me? Where are you God?" She had sought to get the abuser to admit his abuse, but in the process, learned of new behavior that she had not been aware of at all. If these were things he was willing to admit, what other things might he be hiding? Who had she been married to? What was he capable of?
Her son. Face red and covered in tears, she crawled over to her son and held him so tightly his body melted into her own. "Oh God, thank you for this gift." She looked into the sweetest face she had ever beheld and gently spoke: "You saved me. If you had not come along, I would have stayed." She held him for hours. He let her.
A bond was created that day between mother and son that intwined them together. It was no longer mother and son, but one force.
The child custody hearing was scheduled. The tape was presented. The judge ordered one year of supervised visitation and one year of psychiatric counseling for the abuser. Case closed for one year. The young mother and her babe were granted something of priceless value that cannot be purchased: It wasn't justice. It was TIME.