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17 St. Thomas L. Rev. 623 (2004-2005)
From Violence and Victimization to Voice and Validation: Incorporating Therapeutic Jurisprudence in a Children's Law Clinic

handle is hein.journals/stlr17 and id is 633 raw text is: FROM VIOLENCE AND VICTIMIZATION TO VOICE
Do you know what it feels like to be raped over and over again?
Can you understand how it feels when your rapist forces himself inside
of you and holds his hand down on your mouth so no one can hear
your cries?...
They took me away to be safe, but now I'm being raped again by the
and there's still a hand over my mouth-every time I have court.
- Anna, 16-year-old foster child
When I first read Robert Cover's seminal article Violence and the
Word, I was still in law school and had just completed an internship at ju-
venile dependency court. Having experienced a legal system that was
meant to protect child victims but which contributed to further victimizing
them, I remember being struck by the force of Cover's words:
Legal interpretation takes place in a field of pain and death .... Legal
interpretive acts signal and occasion the imposition of violence upon
others... Interpretations in law also constitute justifications for vio-
lence which has already occurred or which is about to occur. When in-
terpreters have finished their work, they frequently leave behind vic-
tims whose lives have been torn apart by these organized, social
practices of violence.'
*Associate Director and Clinical Instructor of Law, University of Miami Children & Youth Law
Clinic; Clinical Fellow, University of Miami Center for Ethics & Public Service. I appreciate the
comments of Bruce Winick, David Wexler, and Susan Stefan; the research assistance of Esther
Meisels; and the work of Xavier Cortada and the Clinic students who participated in the Voice
Project. Besides benefiting from their comments and their mentorship, I am especially grateful to
Susan Stefan for teaching me about law's violence that occurs in the context of involuntary psy-
chiatric commitment and Bruce Winick, for teaching me how Therapeutic Jurisprudence can help
ameliorate that violence. I dedicate this article to the girls who participated in the Voice Project,
for the honesty of their self-expression and their courage in surviving the violence that sur-
rounded them.
1. Robert M. Cover, Violence and the Word, 95 YALE L.J. 1601, 1601 (1986).

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