Thursday, September 9, 2010

From Sarah Buel, USA

Clinical Prof. of Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law; Director, Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, Arizona State University

Rhonda Copelon is one of my heroes and mentors; yes, even now. Although we didn’t get to work in the same office, our paths crossed often enough to make a real difference in my world. Rhonda was always supportive of me and my work, even when my impatience with slow progress threatened to sabotage my career. She helped me understand the big picture of intimate partner violence as human rights violations, and taught us the nuances of torture in the DV context before much of the world was ready to hear. Just seeing Rhonda’s name in an e-mail list or knowing she was part of a joint project always warmed my heart for I knew there would be meaningful, respectful dialogue and work accomplished. She took the time to call or send follow-up thank-you messages, including personal admonishments if it was clear I’d worked all week-end. When I nervously considered entering the academy, the warm, funny, over-the-top supportive pep talk Rhonda gave me was so persuasive that it’s stayed with me these many years. I loved Rhonda’s tenacious, unwavering commitment to making a difference for survivors across the globe. As I write this, the tears streaming down my face are a testimony to how much I will miss her and my profound respect for her and her life’s work.