The woman – who’s evidently had a hard time of it, who has suffered from psychological difficulties, alcoholism and a generally crappy life – is quite happy about the judgement, which was written in a way that ensured that it was not she who would be responsible for dunning the pedophiles for the money, but one of the perverts, who was fined the entire $3+ million.
It’s a wonderful judgement, Solomonic in its details – wonderful especially because evidently it satisfies, to a degree, the woman’s anguish at her victimization, which occurred not only just the once, when she was a kid, but over and over and over again, proliferating endlessly around the globe, like something out of Borges.
In a culture where the acquisition of money and possessions represents the ultimate Good, the court’s judgement, which goes beyond the imprisonment and social alienation of those who were caught, has provided the best recompense the woman, the wronged child, could have hoped for.
It should be noted, however, that this solution to the problem – the problem of how to redress a great wrong done one woman by many, many men – is culturally specific. In other times or other places payment of money may not have been appropriate.
I can imagine another time in which the $3 million might have been regarded by the victim as “dirty” money, and might have been refused because the innocence lost, the normal life never to be known, could not be measured in dollars.
I can imagine another place in which the judges and the victim might agree that the best indemnification of the wrong she suffered would be for her to be presented with the severed testicles of the thousands of pedophiles who took pleasure from her cruel degradation.
As we live our lives in the here and now, it’s good to remember that while some of our values, such as the obligation to protect children, are pretty much universal, are essentially human, other values we hold are peculiarly ours, are subject to change, and in other times (past and future) and other places would be regarded as strange, even barbaric.