I was selected to be on a jury, but our case was resolved pretty quickly. Jury selection took two full days and we never got to hear full details or testimonies.
Jury duty is always so intriguing to me. You live your life everyday in Los Angeles in your little circle of friends and think everyone is just like you. And then you spend a day in court. LA truly has every type of person. I caught myself making immediate judgments based on people's answers to the judge's questions. Just as I'm sure people were passing judgment on this blond girl in pig-tails from Santa Monica.
However, once the general what-do-you-do and where-are-you-from questions were answered, I was blown away by what we all had in common. Out of almost 60 jurors, it appeared that nearly 80% of us had either been raped or assaulted or knew someone very close to us who had. I was floored. We were all different ages, races, local and not. And hands just kept going in the air as the judge repeated the question to new jurors, "Have you or anyone close to you ever been assaulted or raped."
The defense lawyer did her best to try to keep things light when it was her turn to ask us questions. But, for me, hearing the word rape had already changed my demeanor. Both the defense lawyer and the judge were questioning jurors on specifics of their incidents. Where? When? Did you know the person? Did you call the police?
Whoa, hold on. Who's on trial here?
Even though we never made it to the actual case, the experience was intense for me. Hearing stories from people who clearly wanted (and needed) to be heard. Hearing from a brother who knew his sister had been raped, but wasn't sure of the final outcome or if he even really believed her.
I AM that blond girl from Santa Monica and I started to feel guilty and naive. But I also had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the family and friends I have.
And that defense lawyer...well, she managed to make me smile and shake my head in embarrassment (for her). She asked us all at once if we had ever been in a stormy relationship. And if we had, did we know what make-up sex was. Everyone giggled and shook our heads yes. She then asked, "Does anyone NOT know what make-up sex is?" A little old Asian lady in the front row raised her hand.
"Oh, okay. Well, Juror #9 can you please explain to Juror #17 what make-up sex is?"
"Uh, sure. It's, like, the best sex there is."