Oppression Has Many Faces

There are two very interesting stories in the news today. The first tells the appalling miscarriage of justice that occurred in South Carolina over 70 years ago when a 14-year-old was arrested, charged, tried and executed for murder in the space of just three months. There is a sickening inevitability to the fact that the boy was black and the murder victims were two white little girls. How far gone do you have to be to react to the murder of two children with the state-sanctioned murder of another? Kristallnacht, anyone? Incidentally, why is the behaviour of the Nazis viewed as genocide but not the treatment of slaves and the descendants of slaves in the US? What about the behaviour of those acting on behalf of the British Empire, or the Portuguese Empire, or the Dutch Empire…? <sigh>

Will there be any redress to the boy’s surviving family? I hope so. My prayers are with them. I thank God that justice has at last been served, at least in part, and that young George’s name has been cleared. It’s too late to bring him back, and too late to find out who the real perpetrator was. So sad. But the judge has now done the right thing, and that is worthy of praise. It signifies change.

The second story is in the here and now, and not thousands of miles away but on my own doorstep. The British government has declared that it is now a crime to use coercion and controlling behaviour in a relationship. This is in addition to existing domestic violence laws. For victims (and former victims like me) this is so encouraging.

The following is from the BBC news report:

[Home Secretary] Theresa May said domestic abuse by intimate partners or family members was a “hideous” crime that shattered lives…

Coercive and controlling behaviour can include the abuser preventing their victim from having friendships or hobbies, refusing them access to money and determining many aspects of their everyday life, such as when they are allowed to eat, sleep and go to the toilet…

Mrs May said: “Coercive control can be tantamount to torture. In many cases, dominance over the victim develops and escalates over the years until the perpetrator has complete control. Putting a foot wrong can result in violent outbursts, with victims living in fear for their lives.”

‘Coercive control can be tantamount to torture.

Did I read that right? I am amazed. Thank you, Home Secretary, thank you! Not only have you put into words what I have wanted to shout for years, but you’ve actually made it possible for perpetrators to be prosecuted. Five years in prison is not long enough, in my opinion, but it’s a start. Thank you, Theresa May, from the bottom of my heart.

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