It Was Just One Night
It was just one night. That statement, spoken in the quiet hush of a courtroom, caught my attention. My head bowed in silence, snapped up, and tilted to the side like a dog, curious about a sound it just heard.
Did I hear that statement correctly? Yes, yes, I did. The defense repeated that statement throughout her speech. No chance that I accidentally heard that. Nope, none at all.
It’s just one night. A statement used to demean, undermine, and deny the victim. How can you complain and bring charges against your husband for almost killing you? It’s just one night.
Yes, and that one night could have ended in a very, very different way.
There are, in my mind, indefensible acts. This particular situation is, without a doubt, one of those. A husband tries to murder his wife. That is what happened that night. But, you know, ‘it’s just one night.’
However, in our court of law, there is always a defense. A reason, I suppose, that the defendant would enact upon another person a crime heinous enough to be in a courtroom and warrant needing an explanation.
As a non-legal professional, I assume that is to ensure a fair trial. Provide an opportunity for the defendant to come up with a reason and present that to the judge. To show innocence, perhaps, or to gain leniency from the judge. This particular situation was for the latter.
I don’t believe there was doubt in anyone’s mind that the person committed the crime. In this particular case, and I would imagine many other similar situations, where there are police reports and physical evidence to prove that the defendant did commit a crime, all the defendant can hope for is leniency.
This person had accepted a plea deal to avoid further court proceedings. The main reason, I learned, was because there was enough evidence to show guilt, and it was unlikely that a jury would find him innocent.
Regardless our legal system requires court appearances. The judge listens to both sides of the case and then passes down the judgment based on what they have read and heard from both sides.
Just One Night
Throughout the rest of the time I was in the courtroom, all I thought about was that one statement, ‘It’s just one night.’ The ONLY real defense was that it was JUST ONE NIGHT.
Let’s think about that. The only way that the lawyer could defend her client’s actions was to minimize another person’s experience. Not just to downplay it but to strip them of their right to feel about that event in any way they choose.
That statement or similar ones have been used throughout history to trivialize and distort the experiences of others, especially victims of abuse. So what that is saying is, why are you making a big deal out of this? It’s not a big deal. You should be ashamed of how you are reacting to this.
It is gaslighting. And as far as I am concerned, those words should not be allowed to be used as a defense. Or perhaps EVER. Especially in a courtroom. It is hard enough to be a victim of domestic violence (attempted murder as I see it) and stand there in a court having to be near your attacker (who is also your husband) and…
Shit, that’s it. WTF, people? That is the hardest thing anyone will ever have to do in their life. EVER.
If I had a mic, I would drop it.
This isn’t my story. I was there supporting a friend of a friend who had no one to be with her in court. And so, I went. I was not going to let her go alone. No way. And if I am being honest, I was hoping that SOB would try something. I wanted to kick his ass so badly.
But, of course, he didn’t. Because perpetrators of domestic violence are fucking cowards.
I cannot imagine being a victim and hearing those words repeatedly in defense of a perpetrator. The psychological toll that it takes is immense. Therapy is the best start for healing.
I recommend Online-Therapy.*
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