Erin Martinson

As Interviewed by Gavin Andrew, March 18, 2017

Erin Martinson: In Her Own Words

I am the managing attorney of The Crime Victims Program at Texas Legas Services Center. I handle cases involving victims of family violence, sexual assault, stalking, all over the state of Texas. The things I get to do, even on a policy level, just keep me going because these women have such amazing stories and itís such an important issue to me that women be treated equally and women be safe, that sort of kept me going through my career.

These cases can be really difficult to hear about. Thereíve been some really particular horrible ones. I think Iíve been able to sort of turn that emotional response into action and thatís just what inspires me and fires me up when I go to court or when Iím talking to people or doing trainings, thatís sort of what fuels me.

I think the most important tool I have is my voice. We file protective orders. We help them get protective orders so they can be safe, and really all that takes is a car and a voice to go in and argue and do the best that you can to help her. So I think, obviously, the funding we have to do the work that we do, but our willingness to go out and fight and be heard is probably our greatest tool.

I think there are more services and more resources for victims of family violence, but I do still think that our culture fails to recognize the struggles of a victim of family violence. I think to make things better for victims, we need to believe victims when they say that theyíre in danger. The most important thing you can say to a victim of family violence is, ďI believe you, Iím worried about your safety, and Iím here if you need me.Ē Itís not abondoning your friend if she stays with that guy and you donít think itís the right thing to do because then sheíll never come to you for help again. So just arming yourself with knowledge and being willing to speak out about this with your friends and with people that you meet, I think those are really important steps someone like you could take.