“Ms Catherine Philips, are you certain you don’t need legal representation? The Court can provide you with an attorney, rest assured all costs would be borne by the State”
The judge’s commanding voice shook me, bringing me out of my reverie. I looked around at the faces – the prosecutor, grand jury members, cops; all blaming me, looking at me with disgust and rage. And then my eyes found her. The one who made all this worth it.
“No, I do not need anyone to represent me, Your Honor. The media has already painted me as a witch. Everybody knows “what happened”, no one knows “why it happened”. I am here today to answer the why. I seek your permission to speak”
As the judge nodded, I began….
“I grew up in Emielia Island, a small town well known for its calm and pristine beaches. One might think I probably led a beautiful life too. Well, my life was anything but beautiful.
Growing up, somehow I always felt different from my friends and sisters. In our teen years, while they were drowning themselves in makeup, worrying about their tiny breasts andlack of cleavage while desperately trying to impress boys; I found boys to be repulsive. The very thought of a boys’ lips on mine would fill me with disgust.
I didn’t know if something was wrong with me. But I suffered every day, ridiculed by all for being different. Living in a small town makes life more difficult for people like me, “amisfit”, that’s what I was called.
It was only when I joined university, I discovered myself. Nothing was wrong with me! I just had a different preference, a different liking. It was not boys who made my heart flutter with joy, it was at the sight of a beautiful girl that my heart skipped a beat.
Iwas relieved on finally realising I was a lesbian. The city helped me appreciate myself. I was different, yet normal.I was able to be myself, for the first time. And I was not alone anymore, I had found the love of my life.
Meeting Susannah has been my life’s greatest blessing. With her, I felt safe and loved; unlike ever before. It took a lot of courage for me to come out to my Mom and Step Dad. Their reaction though was not unexpected.
As I paused, I looked at the jury. They hated me. I could feel it in my bones.
It was about 2 weeks ago, when Ben, my step Dad called and asked us to come home. I was overjoyed as it meant they were finally acknowledging my identity and accepting Susannah. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
As we reached home on that fateful day, Mom welcomed us with a hug and whispered, “Everything will be fine now. Ben is going to cure you”. Susannah and I were too naïve to understand what her words meant.
I was shocked on waking up in the basement the next morning. Naked and chained, yes that’s how we both were. Aghast, I howled like a mad woman. That’s when Ben came and raped us. He was like a savage out on prowl. While he assaulted us, Mom stood witness to the cure. She believed my body had been inhabited by a devil, Ben was helping me by punishing the devil and forcing it to leave my body. In the process, even Susannah was getting cleansed.
This went on every day, till they were convinced I was free of the devil which had made me abnormal. Once mom was assured, she unchained me. First thing I did, was to strangulate her with the same chain which had held me as a prisoner. It calmed me as I watched her gasp for breath till she stopped struggling. I helped free Susannah and then proceeded to take care of Ben. It was them who needed to be cured, not us.
All I needed was, to be accepted. I didn’t deserve to be treated this way and neither did Susannah.
And there was no way, I was letting them go easy for hurting me and the love of my life.
I looked around at the jury and members of the public. Had their hatred towards me lessened or did they still think I deserved to be punished? I didn’t really care!
I looked at Susannah, her eyes brimming with tears; I knew it was worth it, irrespective of the judgement.
You may accuse me of killing, Your Honor, but I plead “not guilty”.