Dear Jane Doe Supporters:
There has yet to be a dull moment here at Jane Doe. We have served almost 200 clients to date, each with their own unique story. It has been an honor to work with each and every one of these individuals. With each person comes new problems to solve and challenges to face. One particular person who walked through our door this year left an extra memorable impact.
Not long ago, a six year old girl named Maggie walked into my office. While very polite, she was shy and nervous about talking with me. I will admit that I was nervous about this meeting as well. The last thing I wanted to do was disrupt her right to a carefree lifestyle. When Maggie walked in, she noticed the pink in my dress and asked who I was. Having talked with her therapist in advance, I knew that she was scared of the word “lawyer,” so instead, I introduced myself as her “special helper.” As we unpacked the toy box from the corner of the waiting room, questions ran through my mind at lightning speed.
Would I be able to make this little girl comfortable enough to talk with me?
Will the justice system be effective at keeping her safe?
Most of all, how could anyone do anything to harm this bundle of giggles and imagination?
In less than a week, Maggie will have to testify in court about the sexual abuse she experienced by her teenage brother. As I sat in a circle with her mother, her therapist, and several dolls and stuffed animals, I taught her about the legal system and what it means to testify. Maggie listened intently as she shifted from feeling scared to feeling empowered. Before she left, she gave me a hug and asked, “Can I go see the courtroom?” From the look on her face I could tell that she was ready to reach out and fight for justice.
I was shocked when I looked at my watch and realized that this entire process took just an hour.
The thought of giving up an hour can sometimes feel like a tremendous sacrifice, especially at this time of year when the calendar of commitments is quick to fill. For Maggie, an hour represented a transformation that will allow her to heal and help ensure that justice is served. Today, I ask that you take a moment to think about those who have not been surrounded by love, protection, and comfort from those they have counted on. I ask you to feel the emotions running through this little girl as she learned to conquer a fear that most adults still have. Then, I ask you to give an hour.
Give an hour by volunteering to contact friends, family members, and coworkers requesting financial and in-kind donations for Jane Doe.
Give an hour by organizing a small-scale fundraiser for Jane Doe this holiday season, such as a bake sale, rummage sale, or gift card drive.
Give an hour by donating what you make in one hour on the job, no matter how much or how little it may seem.
Every hour you give represents the time it takes to help an innocent survivor conquer their fears and face the legal system. It symbolizes Maggie’s amazing courage as she transformed from fearful to empowered. It signifies that you, through whatever means you can, are taking a stand against sexual violence in your community. The impact you can make is immeasurable, and all it takes is just an hour.
Rachna Goel, Esq.
President and Founder