I can only speculate as to the true weight of that one word on the accused as he sat motionless in the court room.
To my young friend, who was a “victim-witness” in the human trafficking case, that same word carried a lot of weight, as well. It meant that a person with real power and authority believed her voice was as important as any other –that her life was as important as any other. It meant that he had listened carefully to all she had said on the stand. It also meant that any weight that might have remained, in the wake of the trial, was now forever lifted from her shoulders.
Before heading off to his chambers, the judge quickly scanned our group. We were nine of the men and women that had walked in support of our young friend during the court process. But when he found her, he stopped. His look softened, and began to give way to a smile. There was no question that he had been impacted by her strength and character; we all had been. And, just maybe, it was a good and encouraging day for him, as well.
To learn more about MET’s Vulnerable Witness Program: firstname.lastname@example.org