Thursday, 15 October 2015

Dutch justice: when punishing is not punishing

Today I received a message from my last remaining Dutch lawyer that the High Court will be deciding in the last remaining legal case I have currently running in the Netherlands. Early next month I'll know whether I'll receive punishment or not in this case against me. This despite the ruling that I will not receive any form of punishment remaining unchanged in any case.

Sounds confusing? That's because it is. It all started back in early 2011 when I had just moved back in at my mom's place after my suicide attempt earlier that year. That suicide attempt followed about six years of psychological and physical abuse by Dutch physicians, involving constant brainwashing attempts, trying to make me believe that I had to be transsexual, regardless of the German evidence and regardless of my own experiences with my body, not to mention my own thoughts and wishes.

Pushed to the edge, I ultimately decided to take my own life, end the pain and suffering. Unfortunately that failed and I found myself back at square one [1]. After a few months of recovering under my mom's care, I tried to re-establish medical contacts, starting with a local family doctor. Unfortunately the first family doctor saw fit to reject me as a patient due to my intersex condition not fitting well with her Christian conviction.

I had the misfortune this time of living in the Dutch Bible Belt at this point, ergo the second family doctor was just as Christian, only this one did accept me as a patient. They soon became less cooperative, however, delaying help, not keeping up their promises. As I began to suffer psychologically from this behaviour and mentioned it to them, they simply ignored it.

After months of this I suffered my first black-out while I was with my mother at the doctor's office. When the receptionist dismissed them not keeping up a promise yet again with a dismissive gesture, something snapped inside of me. I remember only bits and pieces of what happened next, but my mother and the police report have filled in the gaps [2].

Apparently I went into a rage, smashing a vase or two, ripped a few banners off the walls and smashed a glass case holding a model. The police arrived shortly after, ignoring my mother and I as I was sitting there with hands torn up by glass, bleeding all over the place. Sitting there alone, I then sprung up, tore a glass display case to the ground and walked outside.

There I got consequently beaten up by the police, who kicked me to the ground, smashing my right knee hard enough on the stones to bruise the bone. They put cuffs on my wrists, so tight that they tore into my skin and caused me incredible amounts of pain. This part I remember most distinctly, from being dragged by unfriendly people, having my head bashed into a car door, people sitting on me, stripping me forcefully, being pushed into another car, more head-bashing, yelling and pain tearing into my wrists.

Then finally I was lying virtually naked in an empty cell and began to fully come to my senses. The enormity of all that had happened then hit me. I had never lost my temper. Never once in my life. Especially not so bad that I had one into a complete black-out rage. I had always taken my pain and frustration out of myself, through self-mutilation and ultimately that suicide attempt.

In the end I spent one night in that cell. Definitely by far the worst night of my life. I barely slept more than a few minutes, staying up all night tearing the sole roll of toilet paper into tiny shreds to give me something to do, while watching the programs on the small television screen built into the wall. The next day it took many hours of uncertainty and waiting before I was released. The guards refused to give me my medication (hormones) as well.

Only after getting released did I learn that my mother had visited the place where I was locked up, with a bag of goodies including books and other comforts. They had told her that they'd give it to me, but they never did. Before I was allowed to leave the place they had me clean up my cell as well, using my bare hands.

That was not the end of things, however. That was when the Dutch state started prosecuting me, for vandalism and initially also threatening with bodily harm, a claim by the family doctor but soon withdrawn when they couldn't substantiate it. This case has lasted for over four years now and costed me a lot of time and lawyer fees.

So far the charges of threatening with bodily harm got dropped, the doctor got all damages covered by the insurance and two judges so far have ruled that I am not to receive punishment, due to the circumstances. Specifically the intense psychological stress I was placed under due to being intersex and receiving no medical help whatsoever, but instead quite the opposite.

Only sticking point is that the big display case which also got pulled over contained some items not owned by the medical center this doctor belonged to, but instead to a local artist who had left expensive and fully uninsured objects there in a public space. Two judges so far have ruled that I have to reimburse this artist.

Interestingly enough, this used to be a legal practice in the Netherlands, until early 2014: then the law changed and enforcing a monetary punishment was no longer a valid option when the judge decided to not formally punish the person being prosecuted. I'm currently on my last appeal trying to get this ruling undone.

My lawyer has put almost everything on this changed law in this last appeal. The prosecutor has commented that while, yes, it's the law, one shouldn't take the law quite so, you know, literally. Pointing out some vaguely related cases, he insisted that the judge should use highly creative interpreting when applying this law.

There are two possible outcomes with this upcoming ruling. One sees this monetary punishment dismissed and I can say farewell to a legal case which has haunted me for years, not to mention reminds me constantly of such unpleasant events.

The other outcome sees me forced to pay many thousands of Euros, since these uninsured pieces of 'art' were apparently worth that much, plus the collected interest after these years. To that I can only say that back in 2013 I lost all of my money and possessions due to other, also very unfortunate circumstances. I had the luck that I got a well-paying job soon after, but rebuilding a life from scratch is expensive.

I see very little use in paying for the stupidity of an artist to not insure their displayed pieces, especially when the judge has already ruled that I was not responsible for my actions and have suffered enough already by what I have gone through before the event happened.

That then doesn't really fit with punishing me by coughing up what amounts to a significant part of my still meagre savings. That's not justice, that's just saying that you won't punish and then punishing anyway.

I'm not sure what I'll do if this ruling does not end up in my favour. I know this may sound small and selfish, but I may consider accepting donations if the judge wants me to bleed after all. I feel that I have accepted enough punishment already, just looking at everything that transpired directly after the event, not to mention my slow physical recovery afterwards including the resulting nerve damage from the beatings.

Just a few more weeks and I'll know, I guess. After that I can at least wave the Netherlands a not very fond farewell...



1 comment:

nebnotlepats said...

How barbaric ! - in a country I had always considered a "shining light" of tolerance and civil rights. Guess I was a bit off the mark ! But that's always the problem wiht being "different" and upsetting/confusing the simplistic 'christian' view of the nice neat world, created by a God who can make no mistakes - especially on gender and intersex !
bearup@powerup,com,au David Llewellyn Pritchard on Facebook