I Have No Words
‘I didn’t know.’
You are lying.
At what level did you not see?
Must someone be abused, or assaulted, or raped, here, in front of you to know that something is not right, or even wrong? To not listen to the murmurs and rumours, or to question the whispers you overhear?
We are bonded in groups. We inhabit families, religious institutions, entertainment institutions, football teams, political parties, corporations, education and care homes and councils. And all the while in these extended units there is a cancer at the core, and yet people choose to look away.
For there, hidden in plain sight, is abuse by someone at the top who wields weapons of power and fear.
Those of you that don’t see, don’t hear, don’t question, don’t pause for a moment to even wonder are guilty. You enable the abuse and the abuser. As you close the windows, draw the curtains, and shut your comfortable mouths, a crime is committed. As you slumber in your beds and shift between dreams, a life is destroyed.
It becomes an unspoken known, a tacit understanding of ‘X’ and their behaviour: ‘he was angry,’ or ‘he’s just like that,’ or ‘he has certain tastes.’ Or even, ‘I would say something, but…’
And worse. It stops being about the victim. Until the victim speaks out.
Then their flesh is shredded. They are pilloried. They are hurtled towards the stake. The blame is unsparing; the fuss they are making, the shit they are taking. Shame, discomfort and guilt prick you, the listener; blame is your deflection. This way, you can continue with your untainted life, and you can continue, once again, to do nothing.
En-masse, however, this is difficult. Collectively, against a surge of victim voice and power, blame cannot be proportioned. Regret and ignorance are assumed in the spotlight.
But what didn’t you see, what didn’t you hear? The clues, hints, echoes. Questions you should have asked, conversations you should have pressed. The facts were there, you chose not to see them.
You enabled. You are guilty. And now, you must live with that.
And for those of you that did know but still did nothing? Amid the monstrous Weinsteins and Saviles, and the normal, everyday families in every fucking street?
For those of you, I have no words.