It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. – Isaac Asimov
I woke up one morning last week with a renewed sense of purpose. I wanted to make change. Throughout all of my experiences with the justice system I came to the conclusion that communication between all parties is severely lacking. I am positive I would have felt more confidence in the system had I gotten a call every 6 months telling me that nothing has changed with my case but asking if I needed some help. Had it not been for my victim services rep, I would still be held in limbo. Yet, I had a suspicion that the accused had been notified long before I ever was. Victims of crime just seem to get the short end of the stick and I know the best way to help is more purposeful and empathetic communication.
So, I had set out to change the system. I had it in my mind that I was going to write a letter to the Premier of the province and propose my ideas. My purpose was not to complain and sound bitter. I wasn’t going to call out people or blame anyone. My purpose was to change the system so that victims have better lines of communication and I was going to lend my hand in coming up with a solution. I really believe that we are part of the problem if we are not a part of the solution.
My energy was high until I started writing the letter. In the back of my mind I had doubts that my words would ever be taken seriously. Our government probably gets hundreds of letters blasting them for the work that they do. How will the Premier prioritize mine from the rest of the pile? This is the government of a province that has many bigger fish to fry than worrying about victims of crime. We have healthcare shortages, jobless rates and poverty levels on the rise. In the grand scheme of things, my request is nowhere on any kind of radar for immediate solution. It sure as hell won’t win many votes. As I was writing my letter, I could feel the energy being sucked right out of me. But deep down, I knew I still needed to make change.
I was a dejected and defeated before I even left the starting block; that was until I spoke to a couple of wise colleagues at work. Both of them were in agreement in that I could not change the system alone. In the past, many have wasted vast amounts of energy and their lives trying to push change. Yes, some have made it through, but an overwhelming majority haven’t. My friends told me that if I wanted to make real change, I would need to change the mindset of the people. When that mindset is changed, then inevitably the system will bend to change for the majority. This made perfect sense to me. My change is clear. I need to continue being noisy and get more people moving in the same direction as me and maybe then, we can make the changes necessary for victims of all crimes -not just abuse- get the communication they deserve.
To make better sense of this, I compared this momentum of change to saving for retirement. I could spend $10 every week buying a lottery ticket; hoping to hit it big and be done of working for life. But I could save that $10 every week and invest it wisely. Over time, I will have saved enough money to retire with some cash in my pocket. Sure I could write letters to various levels of government and try to hit it big to install change in our justice system, but I would be much more effective if I built momentum and change the minds of the people who will in turn make the changes for me. I am only one person and one person can only do so much; but that shouldn’t stop me from doing everything that I possibly can.
There is a cheeky pop song that I have taken a liking to as my own personal anthem. It is a song by Hedley called “Anything“. One of the lyrics that I really take to heart is: “I’ve invented a momentum that’ll never slow me down, I believe it ’cause I feel it, and I shout it out loud”.
It’s time to shout it loud.