Justice – then and now

In recent weeks further historical cases of sexual abuse have been initiated against Rolf Harris and Bill Cosby, some dating back over 40 years.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse is also investigating claims dating back that far.

Germany has swooped on three elderly former guards who served at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz in WW2 where 1.1 million Jews were exterminated. Those seized are all men aged 88, 92 and 94. The 94 year old has been charged over the murders of 3,681 people at the Auschwitz extermination camp during the Second World War.

Some would ask what purpose it serves to spend all this time and money on events that occurred up to and over half a century ago.

Because for all those years the victims have existed in their shame and disgust and terror and grief, with their locked in secrets destroying them from the inside.

Some would ask, and I have heard women my age say it, “I don’t believe it, why wouldn’t they have told someone then?”

Here, the reasons become too many to list. Shame, brainwashing – being told it is your fault, no one will believe you, you will be responsible for the break-up of the family etc. Disbelief and sheer terror, to the point – as in my case – where your brain destroys any memory of your existence just to stay sane – in some absurd belief it would protect you.

But wrong!
The implicit (unknown) memories haunt and demonise you for a lifetime.

For the Auschwitz survivors PTSD was unheard of. They were probably so grateful to be released they never considered justice.

But society has evolved. What was accepted then is not accepted now. Today we have human rights that say you cannot discriminate against any person with the following characteristics. It also refers to not being able to victimise, harass or bully any person with these characteristics.

• age
• carer and parental status
• disability (including physical, sensory and intellectual disability, work related injury, medical conditions, and mental, psychological and learning disabilities)
• employment activity
• gender identity, lawful sexual activity and sexual orientation
• industrial activity
• marital status
• physical features
• political belief or activity
• pregnancy and breastfeeding
• race (including colour, nationality, ethnicity and ethnic origin)
• religious belief or activity
• sex
• expunged homosexual conviction
• personal association with someone who has, or is assumed to have, one of these personal characteristics.

However, what my current situation has uncovered is that apparently, if you have a history of childhood sexual abuse, you are not protected from being derided, shamed, insulted and demeaned or potentially discriminated against. You do not fit any of these characteristics. So I will fight to bring attention to this. As more and more people are being encouraged to ‘come out’ and share their stories they should have the right to do so without fear of further verbal abuse and insults, the right to be protected.

After taking 50+ years to face my story, for which there was no justice, I do not have 50 years to wait for justice for my present situation.