trigger warning: police brutality
When your’e really young attending a D.A.R.E class, you are told law enforcement is here to keep you safe and without police the world would experience increased violence without consequence. And then you see a student tased by an officer twice his size from the window of your biology class and you question how much truth there is to that teaching. I know that especially for black and brown communities there is rarely a positive connotation of law enforcement, with its history of stop and frisk, racial profiling and sadly, brutality and murder. I fully support the idea of defunding the police to provide social services to black and brown communities and mandatory body cameras, increased screening, etc. I say this because I can’t imagine the United States fully removing police, mainly because even the candidate I was hoping to fully support in the upcoming election doesn’t seem to be supportive of this effort.
Although there is an understanding that in many cases of gender and domestic violence law enforcement is unsuccessful in fully assisting or protecting the victim, it is still difficult to picture what options look like outside of law enforcement. In my internship I learn about cases where the victim must forever live in hiding and even disconnect from all family in order to escape the perpetrator. This doesn’t sit right with me. In cases of gender violence or domestic abuse we often see the victim running in order to escape and being refused care or adequate resources which leaves them financially dependent on their abuser. I know that in adolescent cases, restorative justice and community involvement can edify both the victim and perpetrator for their adult lives. But, for cases where this isn’t applicable, my first instinct is not to allow the victim to continue running but to instead remove the perpetrator to ensure they don’t have access to the victim or the ability to begin another abusive relationship.
This leaves me in a place of confusion: not wanting to support the prison industrial complex, knowing that law enforcement perpetuates racism and commits murder and also wanting perpetrators to have to change their life instead of victims. So as I continue to learn about new cases and research alternatives to law enforcement for specific situations, I am juggling these ideas and scenarios in my head. I am once again experiencing a grey moment. However, I am unsure if this grey moment is from my inability to imagine a world without law enforcement.