Jamie Perez is the director for the Safe and Stable Families Project with AVLF (Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation) which includes the Domestic Violence, Family Law and Guardian ad Litem programs. She currently serves as a member of the Fulton County Family Violence Task Force.
From Ms. Perez:
When Jasmine* walked into the often fast-paced Safe Families Office to file for a protective order, she was very stoic as I went through the various business disclaimers and protocols.
Then we got to the point where I asked her to tell me what had happened to her. As she started telling me the horrific details of her abuse in an unemotional tone, I looked up at her face and tears were streaming down.
Immediately I knew I needed to take a moment to soften my approach. This was someone who had suffered so much, but appeared to be so used to it, she carried on with her story like it was any other conversation, even while her tears told the real truth.
I learned she was in college and working full-time to support herself and her child. On top of her busy schedule, she was dealing with this trauma.
She obtained a 12-month protective order after having to testify about the domestic violence she endured in a crowded public courtroom.
What I love and respect most about Jasmine* is her concern for her child throughout this process. Every decision she made was with her child in mind – fighting to keep herself safe so that she could be a better mother, setting an example of bravery and self-respect for her child.
Working with and learning from Jasmine and clients like her is why I love being a lawyer.
*Her identity has been changed for her protection. Her story is true.