Living with Consequences
She was attacked. Raped. She knew her attacker. He was twice her age. Twice her size. But half her spirit. The event didn’t traumatize her as much as it should have. She just got up, brushed herself and kept walking. It killed him. It killed him to see her walk over him, to see he couldn’t break her. He had lost… and by standing strong and letting it slide, she had won. The only guilt that resided in her heart was fear of that cruelty being inflicted on other women by him. But she honestly believed she would allow his violence to continue before saying anything. Fear of saying anything? It’s the old morality tale of the death-ray and the elderly Chinaman. Do you know it?
A rich man shows you a death-ray machine and promises you a million Pounds if you push the button. The bad news is an old man in China will die if you do; the good news is no one will know it was you who killed him. The victim will be the only loser. His family are tired of looking after him, and pray regularly for his death, while you have only the rich man’s word that the machine can kill anyone – let alone a man you’ve never met. You have three choices: press the button and spend the rest of you life a million Pounds richer, convinced the whole thing is a scam…press the button and spend your life a million Pounds richer, with murder on your conscience…or refuse to press the button and forgo the million Pounds. Which do you choose?
I think the moral is that the first choice is impossible because there is no such thing as a free lunch. You will always be plagued by doubt about its being a scam, and the rich man will always own your soul. The second and third choices are the only honest ones – to accept payment for murder, with all its consequences, or to refuse.
She was trying to implement the first choice. Take the reward (being left alone; not harassed and threatened anymore) and convince herself that she has no responsibility for anyone else’s attack – but she failed because it was not the choice she made. She opted for number two – took the reward, knowing full well she had a responsibility, but hoping she could live with the consequences. She couldn’t do either. Not because her conscience is pricking her – it’s been pretty much dead since she had switched her energy to isolation and silence – but because her loved ones were involved. Perhaps we can all kill from a distance – it’s how we fight war now – but it’s different when we know the faces of the victims.