Impact of Murder

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Impact of Murder

Imagine, for a moment, a family member you love standing before you. Remember the tone of their skin, the shape of their hair, the colour of their eyes. Remember their voice. Listen to the way it changes when they get all excited. Remember their laugh. Remember how it feels when they’re in the room.

Now imagine them gone, ripped from your life without warning. A violent exit they never deserved. Never again will you share a good story, share a good laugh. A person has taken the one you love.

How can a person do that? Take life as though it meant nothing, in a fit of petty rage or sadistic pleasure. You start to hope that Hell exists.

The days pass slowly. Your limbs are heavy; sorrow becomes a pit in your stomach. Flashes of anger boil to the surface, darkening your world and damaging your soul. It’s frightening how much you can hate.

The police say they’re doing their best, but it never feels enough. At long last, the monster’s been arrested and will appear in court.

The bloodhounds are at the door. They ask you how it feels and other carefully constructed questions to coax a catchy quote which they can print in their papers. The smiling face of a murdered loved one plays on all the news channels. Every day you’re reminded of the one you lost.

Then, the trial. Bright photos of your loved one’s bloodied corpse presented to the jury and the curious onlookers. The show of justice unfolds. Viewers, plastered to their screens, their sudden passion will dissipate twice as fast after the verdict.

They ask you to write a Victim Impact Statement, in which you tell the court how your loss affected you. They say it’ll help you heal. At least you’ll be able to face the monster and make it understand what it’s done.

 Impact of Murder tells these stories. How the ripple effects of murder scar the lives of those left behind. How they deal with their loss and how that loss has affected them. The death of a victim is only the start of the pain.

Thursdays at 9 PM on ID (ch 223) from Thursday, 11 March

Author: Jan Hendrik Harmse