This post is not about international law. However, it is about cultures around the world, and thus, does have something to do with ideas about justice and international thought. I can only imagine – sort of uncritical and probably unrealistic contemplation – exactly how much courage Fi Read had to have all these years. And then, to have even more courage and initiative to have taken more recent actions. She tells her story in the Guardian and in The Cornishman.
I am very happy that the author of those articles has found the courage to speak out and take action. In my view, it appears that neither “being silent” nor “speaking out” is a magic bullet to relieving the pain of abuse. To accept those choices promotes a way of thinking about abuse as one of problem solving. Like replacing a car battery. Human memories are quite different things. It is not a clear choice for victims. It is not a clear choice since life may not get any better for the victims of abuse after they take a stand, and, after they choose to be silent or to speak out.
However, her courage to take a stand and to speak up goes some significant way towards helping the rest of us become more aware. Aware of exactly how complicit we are in contributing to the stigma facing victims. Perhaps this awareness can be built upon, and all future victims will not feel stigmatized. Precisely, because the rest of us – the ones who watch, gawk and gossip – don’t make them feel so.
In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 08457 90 90 90. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Hotlines in other countries can be found here.