I continue to do this work – now as a consultant for Legal Light Bulbs, because although we as a society have come a long way in changing our attitudes and laws about violence against women, and women and the law, we still have a long way to go. Our community, legal system, and workplaces must continue to recognise the importance of diversity, and instead of discriminating against difference, celebrate diversity.
We must see that emotional violence leaves a legacy that can be far more damaging and long lasting than broken bones or bruises. We each need to learn sexual assault by a husband, boyfriend, or partner produces the same harm as rape by a stranger – in fact, in some ways even more. We need to further understand some battered women become like hostages in the home and are unable to leave, and that for some the threat of violence is a constant.
Our laws, courts, and tribunals must continue to change so victim witnesses can speak without fear. The community, courts, and tribunals need to learn one person’s ‘normal’ response to harassment, abuse, and assault may be unnatural for those experiencing the abuse.
Through my teaching and research I’ve been told my work has inspired and ignited a similar dedication to change. Former students send me emails saying they keep seeing the ‘iceberg’ now that they know it’s there. Once you have an epiphany there is no going back, and as our own icebergs thaw, we can begin to have a shared understanding of reality, providing better responses as colleagues, friends, or legal practitioners.
For instance, if looking through a lens of conventional assumptions:
These are just two examples of how perceptions can change if we shed the ‘blinkers’ blinding and distorting our perception, reasoning, and arguments.
I’ve established Legal Light Bulbs to continue my work in women and the law by focusing on the areas of violence against women, sexual assault, harassment, with the aim of igniting ‘cerebral light bulbs’. Contact Legal Light Bulbs to find out more.