This is our truth, tell us yours
This week there have been three court cases that have not made the news as much as might have been expected, perhaps after the Saville revelations people have reached a point of fatigue with historic allegations, or perhaps its simply that people see historic allegations as last years news.
There have been, again, some murmurings that putting old men in the dock to answer allegations from 30 or 40 years ago is unnecessary, even cruel. Here in the cigar dungeon we worry less about the statute of limitations and more about harm reduction and the victims. Now it is highly unlikely that the current prosecutions will deter others, and I am not in a position to know if they will prevent any future crimes so I think it is safe to say that the harm reduction argument is small to non existent.
So what about the victims?
One of the hardest things for a victim of childhood abuse, of any form, to reconcile is the fact that those who are meant to protect us as children have failed. Indeed, that moment when any of us realise that the people we first see as God like in their power are in fact fallible, weak, often flawed human beings, is the moment when we start to put away childish things. If we are lucky this happens at an age when we are moving away from them anyway, ready to look at the world and make up our own minds about it. If we are unlucky it happens at an age, or through events that shake our ideas of who we can trust and what the world is.
If our lessons in human frailty teach us that people lie, hurt, deceive, don’t listen to our No, then the implications can ripple through our lives. Choices made for us, things done to us affecting our choices and the things we do. Trying to understand the own bad decisions we make, and if needed reconcile our own harmful behaviors, since pain is so often something we pass on if it is unacknowledged, involves being heard. Being able to say, this hurt me, this damaged me, this left scars is vital in leaving the past behind.
There is no statute of limitations on pain. The people giving evidence of things done to to them when they were young are being given that voice, and that space to be heard. The next step is of course up to them. The criminal justice system in this country is not reparative , the witness box may not bring healing, it is not designed too. However finally giving someone a voice. saying we do think it matters that your story is heard should not be bounded by how long it has taken for that person to find their voice.