Thursday, 2 October 2008

Documentary- True Stories: Chosen

Last night I watched an utterly harrowing and affecting documentary on More 4. I don’t know if this has been on before but it is so powerful and definitely worth a watch on the catch up. You probably didn’t see it, because only someone as relentlessly depressing as me puts themselves through such painful stuff. I watched the one where they set up a camera on the Golden Gate Bridge to watch people topping themselves, too, and that was a laugh a minute as well, let me tell you.
Chosen was basically three interviews with three men who were abused by the same couple of teachers (and their friend) at a private boarding school at the age of 11. It was very simply shot, with no fancy special effects or reconstructions. It was literally just head shots of the men being interview interlaced with some photographs of them as boys. The fact that you could be so gripped by that for two hours tells you everything about the powerful nature of their words and their stories. I was totally lost in it, and afterwards I felt like their stories had become a part of my psyche, if that doesn’t sound too dramatic (oh, it does).
I was struck by the sheer dignity of these men; and how brave and strong they must have been as children to endure such horrific crimes. They were all so eloquent and composed on the surface; but you could see them falter often as they talked about the horrors they had been subjected to; and it was utter horror, repeated over and over. You could see how real it was to them even now, how it was just seared onto their memory forever. You can’t ever escape it or get over it, I suspect, you just have to learn to deal with it.
The loss of innocence, the fear, and the weight of keeping the secret all took their toll. I was impressed with the honesty of all three of the men, who admitted as victims they had felt special, it just became normal to be raped and it did not occur to them to tell their parents, and had even felt jealous when they found out they weren’t the only ones.
I can’t begin to imagine the inhumanity of their teachers, and that matron, who just looked on, but eventually blew the whistle. But even when the whistle was blown; the events were played down, the teachers got away with it, and the parents even sent the boys back to the school.
Not until years later once their parents had died did the men take action. On of the men said poignantly ‘our parents had thrown us to the lions’ but that instinct to protect their parents from the reality of the real harm that had been done to them was so strong. That was something amazing in itself, that they wanted to protect their parents, the way their parents had not been able to protect them. Some had not spoken of what happened in 30 years. Some victims would not come forward. But they had to speak out, because the abuse could have still been going on.
As it was, one of the teachers got sentenced to a miserly 12 months. The other got off scot-free, due to the passage of time/ good character/ blah blah blah. I don’t consider child abusers to be of good character, ever. The judges who make these decisions are just closet paedos themselves as far as I’m concerned; how else could they hand down such sentences? I hope they watch this film and weep and repent, because they need to. You could see the truth in the men’s eyes as they told their stories; it’s written there for all to see. The fact that one of the victims could describe the headmasters twisted testicle seemed to account for nothing. Their words; nothing.
Yet the grown men, the victims did not seem bitter. Utterly damaged forever, yes, but they forged own lives for themselves, with wives and children. They seemed glad they had stood up and been counted. They just wanted it not to happen again, ever. I don’t want to think that this could still happen these days.
But it will. And here my liberalness dissolves; because I say kill child abusers of this kind. Any man who can rape a child does not deserve to exist on this planet, and if that makes me sound Daily Mail, then I don’t give a shit. Because it can’t be more wrong than that headmaster, a man in a position of such trust, still being allowed to breathe air after raping children. It’s like knowing the bogeyman is still alive.
And what is the point in that? Just take the old man out and shoot him.


Ossian said...

Certainly the perpetrators deserve to be killed, but the rest of us deserve not to kill them. Let's not sink to their level. However, if a victim killed one of them, that I find different to judicial killing and personally, I would think that victim should walk free.

The victims have to try and move on, if they are not to write off their whole lives. It's like the people who lose relatives to terrorists, they can't let it be the only thing in their lives. They have to move on. Sometimes when they call it forgiveness, I think really they mean transcendence.

What if you were a victim and somebody came to you full of remorse and begged for forgiveness. Then they slipped and were clinging to the edge of a balcony and only you could save them from falling. Stamp on their fingers? But we're not that type, we'd bloody save them.

Anyway, that's not the scenario here. The perpetrators are probably swinish, smug dullards, who would do it all again given the chance. So they're not going to come begging forgiveness.

lightupvirginmary said...

You're right.

Anonymous said...

I'm numb,shocked and exhausted about this tragic long episode these poor men have had't to live with.
I only found out about this story (if i can call it that) a couple of days before Christmas 2011.
I've known one of the accused teachers for the past 22 years and my wife has known him for the last 42 years.
He walked my wife down the aisle at our wedding in 2008.
I haven't seen the film yet but i have ordered it.
I consider myself a reasonably good judge of character but alas i seemed not to be. I must point out that they are innocent until proven guilty but looking at all what's before me and what's happen over the last week or two it doe's not bode well.
If convicted it will be such a massive shock too us both. He was always so pleasant to us, we of course had no idea.
I can only say to these poor souls who have suffered so much that i hope they can move on a little better once the court case has finished.