資料：Criminal Victim and Story
(Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences. Ritsumeikan University)
It is my great honor and pleasure to have this opportunity to address some questions to Professor Frank. I would fi rst like to thank Professor Frank and the organizers of
This symposium for providing me with this opportunity. Of the many works by Professor Frank, I was particularly impressed by The Wounded Storyteller, from which I gained signifi cant inspiration. Today, however, I would like to ask a few questions based on my own experiences.
In The Wounded Storyteller, Professor Frank discusses the benefit of storytelling, stating that the act of storytelling is both a moral and an ethical practice. Through storytelling, ill people can draw a “new destination and map” for navigating a path through the life that remains to them. By doing so, ill people can find the meaning of their life and accept their destiny or contingency in life. In short, I understand that wounded people's storytelling is an attempt and a step designed to lead to a better life. Moreover, Professor Frank notes that storytelling good not only the storytellers, but also their listeners. When ill people tell their self-stories to others, by expressing the suffering in their lives in order to share it with others, the storytellers can present to others good models for living. Listeners, on the other hand, can receive the “boon” that the storytellers gained through their suffering by reaching the state referred to as “dyadic bodies.” Through the act of storytelling, wounded people can open their bodies to others and link them with others. This bond between storytellers and listeners enables both parties to share in the boon. This is why storytelling is considered to be a moral and ethical practice. This is my understanding of Professor Frank's work.
Since I am studying the victims of crime, particularly the bereaved families of crime victims, I would like to ask Professor Frank a few questions concerning the problems associated with storytelling that confront crime victims and their bereaved families. I believe that storytellers suffering from illness and those affected by criminal acts have something in common in the sense that they both have wounds and the experience of trauma. Yet, there are also great differences between these two categories of storytellers. So I would like to ask Professor Frank three questions regarding problems faced by crime victims in telling their stories.
The first question concerns the suffering of a storyteller. When crime victims tell their life stories, they are obliged to refer to their relationship with the perpetrators, since their wounds have been caused by these people. Whenever crime victims discuss their wounds, the very act of storytelling reminds them of the perpetrators, who caused their wounds. Accordingly, to tell their stories, the storytellers have to determine their attitude toward the perpetrators, or in other words, their responses to perpetrators. There are many possible attitudes that they could adopt, ranging from punishment to refusal, rejection, and even to forgiveness. Moreover, their attitudes are not fi xed, but can change with the passage of time and in response to various other factors. For instance, many victims, who initially have a punitive attitude to perpetrators, gradually begin to forgive them.
Professor Frank pointed out that wounded storytellers need “quest narratives” in order to discover new meaning in their lives. In his book, he also states that, in telling quest narratives, the storytellers must inevitably experience suffering. If this is the case, crime victims need to experience the unavoidable suffering of associating their own lives with those of the perpetrators, in order to tell quest narratives and to fi nd a meaning in their lives. Whenever crime victims dare to expose themselves to that suffering, however, they have to face still another form of suffering. This type of suffering is manifested in the common question of crime victims, “Why should I live a life that is inseparable from that of the perpetrator(s)?”
Since crime victims cannot tell their stories without thinking of the perpetrators, sometimes victims cannot reach the stage of “quest narratives.” Because of this inability, crime victims often find that they can uncover the meaning of their experiences only partially in a mosaic pattern. On other occasions, crime victims are obliged to suspend their efforts in making sense of their experiences. At yet other times, they find their experiences have many different meanings; i.e., unrelated and inconsistent meanings having many different levels of intensity. In this context, I believe that we need to reconsider whether or not crime victims should tell their stories (to draw a new “destination and map”). In other words, we need to reconsider the value of storytelling by such wounded people. In this context, I believe it is not necessarily the case that simply telling one's story always benefi ts the storyteller. I would like to hear Prof. Frank's view regarding this point.
My second question concerns the suffering of other people. I assume that most perpetrators also suffer. To begin with, they have experienced suffering in the past. Moreover, many perpetrators feel a heavy burden and the wounds caused by the crimes that they have committed. In this sense, perpetrators are also wounded, and can become “wounded storytellers.” Their wounds constitute the suffering that they experienced in the past (such as abuse by their parents or siblings, poverty, discrimination, crimes against them, betrayal by their friends/colleagues, etc.), as well as suffering caused by the crimes that they have committed (including suffering caused by the fact that they have to lead the remainder of their lives as a criminals, by the guilty feeling they have for victims, by their worries and consideration for their parents, families and friends; and suffering caused by the penalties imposed on them). When a perpetrator tells his/ her story, however, this sometimes worsens the wounds of the victim, or at other times causes still another wound to the victims. For instance, when a perpetrator sends a letter of apology to the victim, or when the perpetrator apologizes in person, this can make crime victims suffer even more. In this context, I wonder whether or not it is ethical for perpetrators to tell victims about their own wounds. In other words, I want to know whether or not it truly benefi t crime victims if perpetrators publicly assume responsibility for their crimes and discuss their experiences as criminals, so as to share their suffering with others. When perpetrators tell their stories on the assumption that anyone can become a criminal, they may encourage others through their storytelling. But what is the effect on the crime victims?
Next, I would like to discuss another problem. Sometimes, a narrative of a certain victim causes wounds to another victim. Victims of the same crime, for instance, may suffer more by discussing their experiences together. Even though they are victims of the same crime, since each person has a different body and psyche, the same experience can have different meanings for different persons. Even when victims understand that the meaning of their experiences can be different for other people, the victims are likely to suffer when they fi nd that others have different responses to the same perpetrator. For instance, in the case of a homicide of a son, the father and mother might respond differently to the perpetrator who killed their son. In most cases, the father is likely to experience anger and hatred toward the perpetrator, whereas the mother is likely to develop a more complex feeling, mixing anger and grief. When both express their feelings, both are likely to suffer from different responses to the same perpetrator. In such a case, when storytelling makes others suffer even more, is it still ethical to tell a story? I want to know whether there is an ethical value in storytelling, namely, a value that transcends the boundaries of virtue and benefi t for a storyteller (in this case a crime victim), and if there is, what that value is. I would appreciate Professor Frank's view about this issue.
Thirdly, I have a question regarding the politics of narrative. As I have stated earlier in this presentation, when crime victims talk about their wounds, they have to determine their responses or attitudes to the perpetrator. Since their responses can be diverse and variable, it is impossible to simplify their responses by using a simple term or terms. For instance, it is impossible to explain their responses using simple terms such as “punitive” or “generous and forgiving.” Despite the complexity involved in their attitudes, however, many storytellers have only a limited vocabulary, and so they are unable to express the subtlety and complexity of their feeling or views. Accordingly, regardless of their true intention, their words are likely to give the general impression that their attitude is either “punitive,” or “generous and forgiving.”
In Japan, for instance, because we retain the death penalty, and because there is a hot debate whether or not we should abolish capital punishment, when a crime victim suggests that he/she wants the death penalty for the perpetrator, this might give the public an impression that the victim has a very punitive attitude and supports retaining the death penalty. In Japanese society at present, where public opinion is in favor of toughening penalties, if a crime victim states that he/she believes that the sentence of a perpetrator is too light, this statement is likely to be interpreted to mean that the victim has a punitive attitude, and supports the policy of toughening penalties for crime. As I have stated in this presentation, a victim's narrative is likely to be complex and variable. In actuality, however, infl uenced by the present political dynamics, their remarks are often interpreted in a narrow and limited sense. I am concerned that in this context, victims' storytelling might eventually suppress the perpetrators' narratives. I believe that the narratives of any party should be diverse and fl exible, but in the present political context, they are likely to be interpreted rigidly. I mean that many listeners would interpret that the victim's narrative indicates only one fi xed meaning. Eventually, this can influence and suppress storytelling by others, particularly perpetrators. My last question to Professor Frank is this: In wounded people's storytelling, is there any moral or ethical value that transcends such suppressing political dynamics? Professor Frank, do you believe that wounded people's storytelling is ethical even in constrained circumstances? Would you kindly tell us if you believe that wounded people's storytelling is ethical, despite the manipulation by politics as I have thus far explained? May I also ask for logical grounds for its being ethical?
These are the three questions that I would like to ask Professor Frank. Thank you very much.