Sunday, 18 July 2010

splintered reflections

So while we're here at Latitude - with 35,000 other people - it's impossible not to wonder at the way in which people can be so accommodating of each other. People look out for each other.

They pick up rubbish.

They help each other find directions.

They cheer together.

They clap together.

They dance together.

They sing together.

They find toilets together.

They pay exorbitant prices for food together.

They get on with each other. Together.

And yet - in amongst all this glorious togetherness - a horrible piece of news broke on Friday. On Thursday night, a girl of 19 was raped here. In the public camping area. By up to four young men who were presumably ticket holders to Latitude Festival just like everyone else here.

I hope they're a long way away right now. And I hope they're terrified of being caught. And I hope the CCTV is good here. And I hope they're made to pay for what they've done.

I heard about what happened from outside the festival and my sense is that not many people here knew about it or maybe know about it even.

It's a strange bubble of a world is a festival. Where even things happening inside the bubble can remain unheard or unnoticed.

But I'm glad the bubble burst for me. I'm glad I heard about it. It saddened me. It made me angry. It made me feel a bit sick. It changed the Festival for me.

And it made me get in touch with Jane - who's one of the people I recorded conversations with; the conversations we're sharing here.

Jane's edit, called why not me? is one that starts with a terrifying ordeal. A rape.

So of course I wanted to consult Jane on whether she felt okay about us still sharing her conversation, given what had happened to that poor 19 year old, whose name I don't know; not yet.

And Jane responded, through her anger and rage and upset, as articulately as ever in her blog, which is called Splintered Reflections.

Rape, abuse, call it whatever you want, it keeps happening. And sadly, it always will. I do not claim to be in any way a kind of “voice for other victims”. I can only speak for myself. But if hearing my voice can help another victim in some small way, even if it is just to get them out of bed on one particular morning, then this is all worthwhile.

You have a choice. Please choose to listen.

Jane x

So I've continued to share Jane's conversation.

And it's continued to inspire and astonish people who've listened to it.

And the young woman whose name I don't know yet won't have a clue about Jane... or the extraordinary way in which she has come to terms with what happened to her when she was a 14 year old teenager.

Maybe one day she will.

Right now it won't matter to her. She'll be going through what I can only guess will be a really grim time and all I can do is wish her well.

And I hope that maybe the 35,000-odd other people at Latitude today will send a bit of their joy and love and togetherness in her direction.

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