As the victim read her impact statement in the final stage of a sentencing, a young man in the courtroom bowed his head.
His pencil rolled off his notepad and dropped to the floor.
As new and inexperienced news reporter, his beat had been to report on crime, cops and courts.
But not today; this time he had been assigned to write about the sentencing phase of a trial.
On that afternoon, the victim bravely recounted to the judge the depths of the horror, the pain, the grief and the despair that she had suffered.
As the reporter worked to put down on paper the soul of the words he heard, he also noted the dignity and beauty that comes from a human spirit that is bowed and nearly broken.
The trial over, the newsman sat in the hallway and watched as the prosecutor approached the woman and her family.
“I imagine you don’t know or can’t realize now how powerful it was what you shared today,” he began.
“In the days and years to come you have a message that needs to be told to so many broken people, trapped within themselves, desperately needing to know how to be free.”
A moment later the victim advocate, whose hand had remained on the bowed shoulders of the woman during her statement to the judge, added that “it is not often I am so touched by a family as I have been yours. I will forever remember your kindness and the love that I have had the privilege of observing in your family.”
With the difficult and long trial over, the family slowly made its way down the hall toward the exit and out into the cold.
The reporter noted all of this, and at the bottom of a notebook page he scribbled in big, bold letters – which he underlined and circled several times – “Bowed, But Not Broken.”
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.