As I sat in a courtroom today, I had some time to reflect on bravery. I was there to support a friend as he read his victim impact statement at a sentencing hearing. It was a fraud case, and the offender was merciless as she preyed on my friend, exploited his vulnerabilities, and defrauded him of his life savings.
I sat listening to him detail the harm, and was struck by what a courageous act it was, telling the court and all those present exactly what she had done to him, and the resulting harms. She not only stole a significant amount of money from him, her actions had serious ramifications on his career and emotional health, and caused lasting fractures in his relationships with some family and friends. Yet he persevered, reporting the crimes to the police, even though he was ashamed that they had happened, testifying at trial despite the vast amount of time that he had to take off work and the obvious toll it had taken on him mentally and physically, and he faced her today to tell her exactly how she had hurt him.
His motivation for doing this was not to ensure that she got a harsh sentence, but to ensure that the courts and the public were made aware of how much her crime affected him, and to act as a warning so that no one else has to suffer in the same way. This is why he told his story in the courts, and then retold it for the reporters that were covering it. So when a reporter asked me for an on camera interview about the case I didn’t hesitate, even though I don’t often give interviews and am not entirely comfortable doing so. This interview was not because I was being brave, but because he had been, and I wanted to be able to tell how impressed I was with his bravery.