Yesterday in Belfast four men were acquited by a jury of eight men and three women after a rape trial that has riveted the entire island. Many felt that it was the accuser, not the accused, who was on trial. On social media women are mostly enraged by the outcome. Men offer mixed reactions: sympathy for the accuser, the desire for a 'witch hunt' (of the accuser), and acceptance—the law, yeah. I feel dismay, but not surprise, as well as an animosity toward men. All I want most in the world is for women to have full control over their bodies and the narratives about their bodies and personhood.
I couldn't talk about the verdict with my husband, I was so emotional. I started shouting in the car on the way into Sligo. I can't do this anymore, D said, I will turn around the car. He had been in a terrible row with his father, newly returned from the States and reclaiming his castle with the finesse of a third world dictator, roaring and calling D all kinds of names. The abuse reminded D of past abuse. Families are brutal. Sometimes it takes decades to recover from their violence. And if the brutal one never says I'm sorry?
Later in the pub, a man decided to recount his trip to India: Cunts, all of them. Shitting in the streets. Terrible hygiene. Won't give you space. Him roaring on a train, just to do it. Because his little white ego couldn't bear the cognitive dissonance of a nation of brown people, all indifferent to his existence. His football buddies shifted in their seats, uneasy but not protesting too much; in a village, one accepts the neighbor's casual brutality. D pointed out that I had Indian friends, but the ape persisted. While D stepped out for a cigarette, this filthy-mouthed, elephant-eared bastard asked me if I was from [name of husband's home town], smirking.