Life s not fragrant










“A 12-year-old boy who raped his teacher and then stole her car was today detained for life.

“The court is dealing with a boy born in 1991 whose parents separated in 1993,” Mr Evans said. “By January 1995, when he could only have been three and a half years old, concerns were being expressed about his sexualised behaviour.

“Even at that age his GP expressed concern that he was under the influence of illicit substances. By 1995, when this boy could not yet have been four, he was being mistreated and indeed encouraged to engage in misuse of alcohol and cigarettes.

“Some might say that the signs were already there and that he was being significantly let down.”

But the barrister added: “Hopefully there will come a time when he is no longer the risk he currently is and can be released back into the community.”

Until September 1993, there was common law presumption that a boy aged under 14 years was incapable of sexual intercourse. Since the law was changed, convictions of boys under 14 for rape have been rare.”

This story appeared on my facebook page this morning, one of my stepsons had read it.  Shock, horror, dismay are reactions that immediately flag up.  And then there is another, less obvious , and more insiduous reaction.  Something close to resignation. It’s not quite resignation, but I can’t readily think of a word that adequately reflects my meaning.  Once, if I had read such an account, I would not have believed it. I would not have had the understanding that life is such a different experience for others.  In many ways I still have a tiny pigment of this feeling still in my memory cells.  A belief that real life never throw up horror like this. An innocence, borne from having had the amazing fortune to being living in this century, in this decade, within a loving . educated family inside a democracy (sort of). It jars with my version of what it means to be alive. How lucky am I.  In 1991 I became married for the first time. I was nearly thirty.  In 1993, I had my first son, just as this boys parents were separating. November 1995 , I had my second son. I was struggling with an undiagnosed health condition, and life felt difficult, exhausting, sometimes even unbearable.  Throughout all their baby and toddler hood I relied on my own resilience, and the support of people who loved me, my husband, my family, my friends.  I survived. I had everything in place that helped me to cope . I was truly blessed. This boy had been sexualised, and encouraged to use alchohol and cigarettes at the same time that I was playing with trains, building dens, and reading six bedtime stories a night.

“Some might say that the signs were already there and that he was being significantly let down.”

That has to be understatement in spades.  12th February 1993 two ten year old boys murdered Jamie Bulger, a toddler.

Life is not the same.  Not the same for any of us.  Because we all know that somewhere , our society is no longer able to sustain its communities in a meaningful way.  Yes, awful things have always happened throughout history, throughout our present, but this is a breach of what we understand.  Somewhere in my mind I bear some sense of guilt, that I am living in this society, in this present, and cannot comprehend how this sort of atrocity can be happening.  Some sort of feeling that isn’t actually culpability, but it taps into it.  Is there really nothing to do, to avoid the pain and desolation of these people, who are living lives so deprived of humanity that they are treating their own children so brutally?  I feel bad, that I am blessed , and they are not. We need those feelings of compassion, to change how society acts towards deprivation.  We turn away, and hide, and say ‘How can that happen?’  It happens when we turn away.

I have no answers, only fear and trepidation.  Our hope is that we build a better reality , and that will only be by creating a more just society, a more compassionate society.

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Mohandas Gandhi


I like to hear from you, so tell me what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s