Children’s books are comforting. Even those that address highly painful and difficult issues like John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas which tells the story of two boys, a Jew and the child of a German officer who befriend each other through the wire of Auschwitz concentration camp leave us with no doubt as to where our sympathies should lie.
But this week in real adult life it only becomes more confusing. How do we hold what is good and true and right? Many of us have been shocked at the violence at Myanmar and would powerfully argue for the right of people to demonstrate for freedom and democracy. Equally we have been horrified and disgusted by the allegations by Brittany Higgins and her boss Linda Reynolds derogatory name calling. And then we have Christian Porter and further allegations of an historical rape. The easy position is to assume guilt and pillory him. Yet working in the field we understand these matters are not simple. Memory is not like a video recording and we know there are many variables which contribute. Additionally, is it right for us to judge the guilt or innocence of any person when our system of law assumes innocence until proven guilty in a court of law? Yet here is our most senior representative of the law accused of an abhorrent crime. The interview with Christian Porter is painful in the extreme and leaves us conflicted. It is not dissimilar to the experience we have working with families when the stories we are told simply don’t mesh, yet the pain of all parties is palpable.