The report of the conduct surrounding the trial of the rugby players is horrible in various ways.
Others will comment on other aspects but for me one line stood out.
“the barrister interrupted and queried why she was using the term “You” instead of “I”.”
In recent months I’ve spent a lot of time with counsellors, and therapists, and GPs.
I have spent a lot of time talking, revisiting events from long ago, traumatic events, that distressed me then, and distress me now.
Talking about traumatic events can be difficult.
Talking about traumatic events that affect you, where you are directly involved, moreso.
Meeting a stranger, albeit someone with whom – over the weeks – you hope to build up a rapport, and talking about things which are deeply personal is not easy.
Dealing with traumatic events from your past is not easy.
And in talking about it, or in dealing with it, people develop various protective mechanisms, ways to avoid confronting the things which most affect them, which most haunt them.
And one natural device is language.
I’ve done it a lot.
There is comfort in the second person. There is distance, but familiarity.
To describe what happened to “you” – directed to yourself – allows you to know what is going on in the head. But it acknowledges that time has passed. That you now are not the same as you then. And it can be a means of dissociating – to detach from the worst aspects of the traumatic events.
To treat the use of language, to treat the use of the second person, as some sort of game, as some admission that a victim is talking generically rather than about him or her self makes me queasy. People who have had experience of those who have suffered trauma realise this.
I believe her.