May 5, 2019-
“Civilization is precisely the human capacity to say no…….”- Rob Riemen, To Fight Against This Age
Viewing the film “Room”, this evening, I prepared myself for a variety of possible outcomes, none of them good. Having worked for so long in child protection and recovery from abuse, I know the permutations that such cases can take. I know that attorneys for the abuser will sometimes do their job all too well, and the cycle will repeat itself, ad nauseam. I know that sometimes, the good guys win, and people like Erica Pratt, Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart go on to achieve at least a fair amount of normalcy and success, on their own terms. I’ve seen a mix of the two outcomes, with identity mix-up and role confusion, only resolvable with the maximum amount of patience and sensitivity.
In a complex world, where everyone gets to jump in and have a say, many times with an agenda that has nothing to do with the recovering child, the cases can take a long sideways route, often twisting like a corkscrew, until nothing is left. In these cases, money is made, but no one wins. Fame is achieved, sometimes for people who had nothing to do with the original case-and sometimes for those who did, but who have moved on, past the reality of the victim.
It’s been long enough, since the film was in theaters, that I can applaud how the story panned out. “Jack” used native intelligence and common sense to save his mother twice- first from their captor, then from herself. “Joy”, the mother, did well to keep both of them alive, and to recover, from both abandonment by her father and a misguided barrage of criticism from a sensation-seeking journalist. The film is thus a cautionary tale, for several sectors of society.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. “Jack” was young enough to use that logic, in describing his former place of captivity to the police, and in avoiding the long, twisting, jagged-edged road to recovery faced by his mother.
I like to think that I prefer taking the short route, in my own life, but time has proven that sometimes, the long route has ended up being chosen.