Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Rachel Harris


“Before my hearing for my order of protection, I knew that he would try to contact me through other people, send me flowers, send presents to the kids, and all of those things will make me feel powerless when I have to go into court and see him face-to-face. I knew after all of that I would tell the judge that I changed my mind and that I am going to give him another chance. But being on the screen, I tell you, gave me a sense of empowerment. When the judge asked me if I wanted an order of protection, I was able to stand there in my living room and say yes, I do. I do not believe that I would have been able to do that standing beside my abuser. As survivors, we are typically in these situations with people that we love. We want to be able to trust them again and hope that it can work out. So, when we are standing in the same room with that person, it is a lot. When you are in the courtroom with your abuser, he can be unpredictable. You cannot control what he will do once you walk outside down the street and around the corner to your car. It is a lot more empowering to be behind the screen. The big bad wolf is over there in the courthouse. He cannot get me because I am safe behind my screen.” - Delicia Harris, survivor of domestic violence and survivor navigator.