For everyone watching, the case seemed pretty cut and dry.
The defendant had been found with their personalised, handcrafted and monogrammed knife buried in the chest of the victim. They had also been holding the knife at the time, screaming, and had continued screaming as they’d been arrested and dragged away. Most of what the screaming had contained had been fairly incoherent but a good amount had been gleeful admissions of guilt, lists of the victim’s (imagined) crimes and extensive details on how the (alleged) crime had been committed.
That a ‘not-guilty’ plea had been entered was something of a surprise to all concerned, and all were curious as to what strategy the barrister entrusted with the case would use. Doubly interested because it was the Maverick, and they were always fun to watch. Once, they’d shot a rulebook with a flintlock just to demonstrate that rules weren’t bulletproof (a point no-one had been attempting to argue at the time).
Sweeping into the courtroom with characteristic flourish the Maverick flashed a smile and did the most extravagant twirl they were allowed within the bounds of decency. Things didn’t really get any less theatric from there, even as the court went through the somewhat stuffy formalities. Formalities that the Maverick rankled under, but tolerated. It was plainly obvious they were chomping at the bit and their eagerness made just about everyone present a little bit nervous.
“I wish to enter into evidence the victim’s history of being alive,” said the Maverick the first chance they got, a broad grin splitting their face, bony fingers clutching a thick folder. This earned them some odd looks and the judge shifted in their seat, leaning closer.
“Is that relevant?” They asked.
“Why yes, m’lud! Most relevant,” the Maverick said, their tone wounded.
Unwilling to go through the bother of having to see the Maverick pout their way through the rest of the trial the judge waved a hand and allowed it, much to the Maverick’s obvious glee. With a flourish they whipped the folder open, a perfect number of copies flying out and wafting into the hands of those that needed them. It was all very impressive.
“As you can plainly see the victim has a long and sordid history of not being murdered and indeed of enjoying life to the full! How then can it be that they are now dead? And murdered of all things? It just doesn’t add up! This is not consistent with their previous behaviour at all! Ergo this crime is nothing of the sort!”
This took everyone present a few seconds to try and work out in their head. For one, they weren’t entirely sure this was how a trial was supposed to work. For another, the reasoning involved in this statement was not the sort of reasoning they were used to.
“Is that logic?” The judge asked, hoping someone had an answer.
“It’s something close, but there seem to be a few key differences,” the other barrister said, still counting on their fingers as they tried to make it all add up. The Maverick threw their hands up in irritation, catching them expertly on the stumps. This was a flourish they had practised for hours. Again, theatrics ruled the day when the Maverick took charge.
“Please! It’s perfectly sound. If we bring a woman’s previous sexual history into account when dealing with allegations of sexual assault – her attire, even! Her bearing and attitude! – I fail to see how we cannot mention how this corpse had a long, well-documented history of not being dead up until the point my client was accusing of stopping them being alive! They were well-known to breathe and move and talk and not be stabbed in the chest and do other activities that are never practised by dead people! And now my client is accused of somehow bringing this to an end? Does being dead sound like something someone who had been so alive would be doing? They’d never been stabbed before, why now? What sort of double-standard are we prepared to defend here?”
“More to the point! This corpse was obviously asking for it! Flaunting their warm, unmurdered body inside the tantalising safety of their own home! Breathing! Not being stabbed! They knew precisely what it was they were doing! Hypothetically, how was my client to resist? He is but a man! What was he to do? Resist the urge to – allegedly – viciously and repeatedly stab this person? How on earth could he be expected to do that? What sort of human being has the willpower to control themselves? Allegedly. I find it laughable that I even have to explain that it is all the corpse’s fault! Did you see the clothes they were wearing? Not stained with blood in some places! Clearly they wanted to be murdered to death, why else would they have dressed in such a provocative fashion? The harlot.”
Deafening silence greeted this, and no-one could think of a single thing to say. This was just what the Maverick had been hoping for and their grin spread wide enough to split their face in half (the safety pins were there for a reason, after all).
“And for my next trick! A burglary case!” The Maverick announced as their assistant – for they had an assistant – wheeled in something covered in a dust sheet. The wheels squeaked loudly in the courtroom and the assistant shuffled off with quiet whimpers of pain as the Maverick whipped the sheet away to reveal a scale model of the courtroom on a wheeled table. In the model was a whole other jury, gallery and defendant. The Judge squinted.
“Is that…?” They asked, not really sure how to finish that question.
“Yes! It is! Now my other, tinier client here has been accused of robbing a house but – really – is this even a crime in the modern, widely accepted sense of the word?”
“Yes?” The other barrister tentatively asked, not sure what they were doing at this point. They flinched as the Maverick spun and threw a hand at them.
“No! No it is not! And you shall see why,” they said, reeling their hand in and again distributing compelling evidence with ease.
“Plain as the nose on my face you can see that – before this alleged ‘crime’ – the so-called victim had often expressed a desire for ‘fewer possessions’! A desire to ‘declutter’! See here how they donate items from their own home to charity! Are these the actions of an individual who would object to the removal of objects from their life? I think not!”
“There’s a bit of a difference…” the other barrister said, feeling this was so obvious they weren’t sure they even had to mention it.
“THERE IS NOT ONE SHRED OF DIFFERENCE YOU TAKE THAT BACK.”
“It’s still stealing isn’t it?”
“HOW DARE YOU! See! See how my opponents DARES to impugn an innocent man with accusations of stealing? I demand they be stricken from the record!”
“What?” The judge asked, exhausted beyond words, head in their hands. The Maverick sighed.
“Fine! I’ll do it myself!” They said, pulling out a small remote control device and pointing it at the other barrister who promptly vanished from existence to the horrified gasps of all present.
“And with that I can safely assume my client’s innocence will be self-evident,” the Maverick said before flying away on a fucking moonbeam to fight further justice throughout the cosmos – guilty people needed them. Who else would have the courage to stand up and accuse the victim? Someone had to do it. You couldn’t let these people get complacent.
Elsewhere, later, a woman was sexually assaulted and the fact she had been wearing a skirt at the time was used as evidence against her. At the same time, another woman in a similar situation did not report it as she had had a drink prior to the event and knew therefore that she would not be taken seriously.
Because society is fucking broken. Or because women enjoy turning their lives upside down for shits and giggles just to get back at a man, even if in so doing they open themselves up to the scorn of people they’ll never meet, will be dragged through the mud in what is supposed to be a court of law by what are supposed to be educated professionals and of course have the whole affair dog their every step for the rest of their life.
Assuming they don’t kill themselves which does fucking happen but no, you know the women, right? Always making a fuss over nothing, I ask you. They’ll just accuse anyone because that’s what they’re like, right? They’re just bitter about something, probably. Who can understand a woman? That might involve listening to one and oh boy! Can’t have that.
I mean, why would they wait so long before coming forward? Were they, like, scared or something? Scared of what? I mean sure I threatened to come around and attack them again myself but that’s not threatening or aggressive that’s a little joke just to punish them for daring to open their mouth or impugn a man who kicks a ball in a way that I admire. That’s how it’s meant to work, right? What’s wrong with that?
Yeah sure they got their name and their face and their address leaked to just about everyone but my God they don’t stop complaining do they? They’re probably doing it for the money. They’re getting money, right? Someone’s probably paying them. I don’t know who. Someone. The media. The same media that’s calling them a whore for enjoying sex previous to the event of their assault because sex is something that just happens to women, right? The idea that women can enjoy sex as easily and casually as we’re told men are supposed to is terrifying to me so it must not be true, that’s how the world works.
It’s probably a lot of money they’re getting, too, considering that this will basically end their life as they knew up to this point and force them to remember a deeply traumatic event – on top of fresh new traumatic events courtesy of hordes of people saying they should die. Death threats aren’t really a big deal anyway I don’t know what the fuss is about. I fail to see how having hundreds and hundreds of anonymous people telling you that you should die and going into great detail about the best way this should happen is an issue. I fail to see why this is an issue because it’s never happened to me and never will so I assume it’s probably not as bad as they say it is. Women, eh? So fragile.
And some have the temerity to suggest we shouldn’t put all the blame on the woman! Some say the man is somehow responsible! Just because if he hadn’t done anything then everything would have worked out fine! Such a flimsy excuse. Their argument failed the instant they suggested the woman wasn’t somehow to blame. How could a man be culpable in such an instance? He’s a man and therefore instantly imbued with powers of trustworthiness and worthy of respect and deference! Unless he’s the wrong colour, of course, then maybe you could have a point.
As if we could expect men to exercise rational judgement. This is how society is set up. We tell our girls to be careful when they go out and we tell our boys bugger all because boys will be boys and that means – apparently! – they’ll be irresponsible shitbags whose sense of empathy stops abruptly at the tip of their dick. And that’s fine. Why should we change that? A better approach would be to, I don’t know, tell women to stick to lighted area even in daytime and wear quiet shoes so men are not driven wild by the sound of their approach. Yeah. Yeah that sounds like a plan, I like that. Or walk in groups! So they can scatter like gazelle at the first sign of trouble. Or never leave or go outside at all! Ooh that’s good, write that one down. You can keep that one.
So yeah. Pick whichever explanation is the most compelling to you, I don’t fucking know.
I’m quitting being a human being and am going to go and spend the rest of my life as a toadstool. Fuck. That we’re still having to talk about this is a fucking embarrassment.