Victim, Judge, Jury: The 3 Roles That Devastate Black Families


By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Statistics indicate that in the U.S., marriages in the Black community fall apart quicker and with much more frequency than any other race or community. I have made an observation of how a couple can go from married to divorced, seemingly overnight.

Let’s imagine that a woman named Lisa is married and has a couple of children with her husband Leon. When Lisa and Leon have a disagreement (which is to be expected), Lisa goes to her sisters and aunts and girlfriends and tells them how “trifling” Leon is. Naturally, being the supportive women that they are, Lisa’s friends and relatives will empathize with her position and understand her hurt and pain.

The problem that then arises is that Lisa and her “tribe” then take on the three deadly roles of victim, judge and jury. Lisa is a victim; “what Leon did is inexcusable and unforgivable”! Lisa’s tribe then becomes the judge and jury. They prosecute Leon and then sentence him to a life of isolation from his wife and his children because “of course she should leave him!”

Leon, Lisa’s husband, has lost his family but before that he lost his voice because no one let him speak and no one understood nor considered his perspective. Even though Lisa and her tribe consider Lisa to be the “victim”, which she may partially be, Leon is also a victim. Both Lisa and Leon (and their marriage and their children) are victims. They are not victims of each other; they are victims of a broken system that keeps perpetuating itself – the “one-sided court” system.

Unfortunately, even though “Lisa” is a make believe person, there are many women who become “Lisa” and their lives unravel almost exactly like Lisa’s. Because they are surrounded by people who think like them and share their perspective, it is often hard for them to recognize that their system is both destructive and cyclical.

What if Lisa chose a different approach? What if she didn’t immediately go to the “one-sided court” and instead chose mediation? What if she kept her well-meaning but deadly (to her marriage) “tribe” out of her marriage and instead her and Leon recognized that even thought they were in the middle of a conflict, their marriage and family should be protected by all means necessary?

A different way…

I’ve heard it said that no matter how thin you slice a pancake, it always has two sides and two people in a relationship are the perfect illustration of the two sided pancake. Two people in a relationship will both have their own perspective and experience and those two experiences may be as different as night and day. Unfortunately, many people lack the skills to be able to suspend their escalating emotions and see the current conflict from their partner’s perspective.

In order for marriages to succeed, there must be a plan in place to resolve disagreements and conflicts. If a couple can not resolve a conflict on their own, it is wise to immediately seek mediation from a person (or people) who is impartial and is able to help the couple negotiate and discuss their issues without doing further harm to their marriage.

Couples must also be wise and not throw themselves into “court” situations because that immediately means that someone must be “right” and the other is then “wrong” by default. It is wise to always look for solutions that create “win -win” situations where everyone may not walk away with exactly what they want but they walk away feeling like they were heard and the resolution was fair and above all, did not threaten their marriage and family.

Listening, negotiating and compromising saves marriages. Becoming victim, judge and jury in a “one-sided court” destroys marriages. You always have a choice. Choose wisely; choose the path that protects your marriage and your family. You deserve to have a happy and healthy family life; not a broken and devastated one.

Nomalanga is a Life Balance Expert. Her speaking and coaching programs help busy women who struggle to balance Marriage, Motherhood and Money-Making™.  She is an avid blogger and a highly sought after instructor and speaker.



  1. Pingback: THE MOCHA MOGULS™ » Blog Archive » 3 Roles That Devastate Black Families: Victim, Judge, Jury

  2. You would be surprised how often “men” put their wives in this type of “judge, jury and victim” scenario. Some men are oblivious to how their family (siblings) “covet” their lives so they set out to destroy the marriage/family of their own siblings. I had no idea my husband was so “weak minded” that he would allow his family members to infiltrate his mind with garbage (lies) in order to keep him as their “meal ticket.”

  3. Broken people most often create unsustainable unions that is why “Statistics indicate that in the U.S., marriages in the Black community fall apart quicker and with much more frequency than any other race or community.

  4. You have some women and family members who do not want to see a successful marriage occur because of their lack of success in a previous marriage or failure to cross that path altogether. Be careful ladies.

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