In­con­ceiv­able trauma

The Saturday Paper - - Letters & Editorial - – Name and ad­dress with­held

On a sunny af­ter­noon, mid con­ver­sa­tion with my part­ner, my voice sud­denly chokes. I am mul­ti­task­ing; read­ing The Satur­day Pa­per while dis­cussing the evening’s din­ner plans. In be­tween de­ci­sions about pasta sauces and red wines the writ­ten words have bit­ten bone deep: “the child en­ters a pro­found state of with­drawal and is un­con­scious or in a co­matose state”. I work in men­tal health, some­times in high-de­pen­dency wards. I can­not con­ceive the level of trauma re­quired to in­duce such dam­age. It’s not the ob­vi­ous bru­tal­i­ties of phys­i­cal abuse but the far deeper psy­cho­log­i­cal tor­ture of in­ter­gen­er­a­tional de­hu­man­i­sa­tion and ab­so­lute de­spair. This – that our own gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to do this to chil­dren – causes the mind to reel away, to with­draw as so many of us do, with a sigh and a tear per­haps, back to our shop­ping lists and cof­fee cups. But not to­day, not be­fore rage erupts from my sub­con­scious and I know that given the op­por­tu­nity I would mur­der the per­pe­tra­tors of these crimes with my own hands. I would fol­low the chain of peo­ple from the camp to the cab­i­net and re­move a hand from each and ev­ery one.

It’s not about re­venge, though I can’t deny that’s there – it’s about pre­vent­ing the next de­struc­tion of an en­tire, ut­terly in­no­cent life. That’s our gov­ern­ment: mur­der­ing minds and mak­ing a mur­derer out of a mid­dle-aged woman over af­ter­noon tea. Bravo.

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