I’m so pleased to have caught Win, that I can’t contain myself, and tell Paul with theatrical bravado that Win wasn’t even man enough to get it up. “Big man,” Paul bellows at Win, “Couldn’t finish the job eh?”
But suddenly I feel awful for this kid, being led off to jail before an amphitheater of friends and family. Maybe I am a traitor, to the Penambes, to the Kopis. When we get to the singsing ground plenty of Kopi are gathered in wait for us. Paul instructs the cops to tie Pora and Win back to back, sideways, in the seats behind the truck, as he loudly declaims Pora as a stupid raskal with no sense to even run away and stay away, and no consideration for the reputation of his own people. I start into the passenger seat of the truck and I see Shirley, Gerry’s wife, and her kids in the crowd, so I smile and wave. When Paul pauses, though, I get out again, to add my own insults. Now I’ve become a fishwife, calling Pora’s younger brother half a man, in Pidgin, who tried but couldn’t rape me and who still scared his whole clan into harbouring him and lying to me and everyone on the Ridge, which makes all of them more cowardly yet than either Win or Pora! They can now rot in prison for it, I add, unafraid to gild the lily. It’s a bona fide harangue, of the sort commonly made in these singsing grounds for generalized complaints, accusations and challenges to fight. In this case, though, no one responds.
We drive down to town and crawl like a Medieval morality play through the front block of stores called Chinatown, then along the main street, making a long full loop before heading back to the station. Paul regrets not having his amplified bullhorn, he says, so he might more suavely announce what he’s instead shouting from the window: “Mipela kisim namba wan raskal pinis!” We have caught the top rascal! He’s going to jail now-look at him! People cheer and wave us on. People are mouthing “Pora Raim” as we pass by with this bounty on exhibit.
Michael brings the TV and VCR from Annette’s office at the cinema across to the CID office, to show the captives their own videotape. Both Pora and Win sit against the back wall, knees up. “Alright, this is your premiere,” Michael tells them. He is their clansman doing this. All the cops sit on desks and laugh at the stupidity of the kids actually recording themselves on tape. “Sit up!” one barks, and Win straightens. They kick Pora and Win on their sides with their heavy black boots. “Scared?” someone taunts.
Pora slides up the wall to stand with his arms across his chest. The windows throw sun across the left side of his face and he looks disinterested, but not angry. He nods to the cops’ questions. Yes it was him, Yes he escaped from Baisu, Yes he’s guilty. My skin is tight with fear as I count six cops milling around, wanting a fight. I sit on one of the metal desks as Michael turns on the system. Win's face comes up on the screen, and we pause to rewind, then pause again. The cops clear away so Win can see better. Still sitting on the floor, he shakes his head. Kenny the detective asks if this is him, and he says, “Nogat, emi narapela” softly--No, its someone else. One cop then walks across and kicks him in the face. Hard! I suck air, my hands are shaking. Pora looks down at his brother.
Someone asks Pora to come over, and he shuffles to the set, head bowed. Not so much in fear as in familiarity with this routine. He flatly names each boy as his face comes on the screen. Once again the Win Raim character comes on and both Michael and another cop nod vigorously and says they’re sure that’s Win, he’s lying to deny that it’s him there in sunglasses and jean jacket. I look at Win, who looks at me. I wonder if he could look right at me if he really was the kid who attacked me. But his face--the curl of his upper lip, the width of his flat nose, the very size of him, is too familiar. It has to be him. If only he could try on those wrap-arounds again. Suddenly everyone breaks out laughing, Pora included. A skinny near-naked Marapa Wal is washing his hair in the river, balancing on a rock with a lathery mass on his head.
Back at the cinema office everyone seems pleased. But Maggie’s not convinced it could be Marapa Wal on the tape--for some reason she can’t buy that he’s been deceiving us all along--and she asks if, when we all saw it, we could attach a voice to the face. “You could be talking about someone else you know.” Maybe I misidentified Win because I was looking for Paul Kuk.
“I what? I’m looking for a face Maggie, who the fuck cares what his name is?”
“Maybe you should be more careful who you identify.” She looks away to her desk. “These people have families, you know.”
It’s almost and the streets are crowded. I’m taking a walk to cool down. Hagen
This is Wednesday and I suddenly remember I’m supposed to have dinner with David from Securimax. Surf and Turf night at the Highlander Hotel. Now it’s already past five and I won’t get back up to the lodge to wash up before six or seven, which means I’ll be too late. All I can do is quicken my step and head for the Highlander Hotel to phone him.
“David?” I ask, unfamiliar his voice.
“It’s Nancy Sullivan.”
“Listen, I’m calling from the Highlander and I realize it’ll be impossible to get back to the lodge to wash and get dressed on time for tonight. Could we give it a rain check? Maybe next week?”
“Ah. Well. Let me tell you what I’ve gone ahead and done. I’ve booked a room for you at the Highlander there, just in case you didn’t want to go back up the hill tonight.” The idea stuns me. “Maybe,” he doesn’t miss a beat, “you could clean up now, while you’re there, and relax a little before dinner.”
“That’s very nice of you David,” I lie, appalled at his presumption. “But I think I’ll have to say no, then.”
“Very well then.” He’s pissed off. Gawd. Am I callous, or was that a close escape?
That night Marapa and other Kopis come up to ask about the reward. I tell them to ask the police; I don’t have it. This is true, fifty kina is a lot of money for me at this moment. The Councilor admits that people were afraid to bring the boys in because they thought Pora Raim would exact some revenge, or more likely compensation, from them. I say they should worry more about my compensation demands when I take them to court. Moss the Peace Corp kid has arrived with Marapa again, and at one point tries to say Marapa cannot finger these guys—“he’s your friend Nancy, why don’t you believe him?”
“Let me handle this, Moss.”
For the Penambe, ascribing guilt is irrelevant. The deed is done, it hardly matters who did it, or who is prepared to say he did it. What matters now is getting the compensation sorted out, as an apology from one clan to the other. I’m persist in the strictly jural tack of making individuals pay for their acts, as part of an idea about culpability that means nothing to Marapa or the Councilor, who feel frustrated now by my non-Papua New Guinean posture. They aren’t worried, I know, that I don’t believe them. But they’re very worried my efforts will obstruct peacemaking.
The next day we’re driving down from the lodge and these same men stop Maggie to talk to her in Melpa. In a pause I tell Marapa to go in to the station for the reward. As we pull away Maggie blows up at me, yelling that I’ve been utterly selfish “lying to Marapa like that!”-- I have no consideration for others, thinking only of myself, when even Moss is more sensitive to the situation. I feel like my head might just implode through my face. But this is Maggie talking, the queen of self-serving indignation. I call her a pig to look at it that way, that I may not understand everything but no one translates Melpa to me anyway, she’s never consulted me in the least, and I can’t be blamed for wanting justice, and for not shutting up just because it’s inconvenient to the Elti Penambe, for Christ’s sake! “Just because it’s custom doesn’t mean I have to respect it!” Nice sentiment for an anthropologist.
The argument continues in the cinema office. At one point Maggie says, “You are being inconsiderate to Pora Raim's family saying he’s going to die in prison in front of everyone on the singsing ground.”
“How can you expect me to have sympathy for Pora's family-that’s not my place! He was a known murderer and rapist even before this thing happened!”
“Who are you to call Marapa Wal a liar, saying he’s ‘harbouring’ these kids?”
“Fuck you Maggie, maybe someday when you get raped and come to me for support, I’ll call you insensitive, and if you’re looking for sympathy you sure as hell won’t get it!”
“You will never have the pleasure of seeing that day.” Then she looks at me squarely. “Were you raped or just pulled [meaning mauled] anyway?”
Annette’s boyfriend lets me stay in a spare room at the Securimax managers’ house. I ask only that no one tells David I’m here. The other residents are a strange mix: a Sri Lankan whom I almost never see, he comes in and out when I’m not there; an Australian Vietnam Vet who has his wife up for holidays; and Steve Carver, who’s actually the Public Prosecutor in town and rents a room there. I find I have to be very careful with the Aussie couple, whom I dislike immediately but who are also my hosts. She hates PNG, hates Hagen, hates black people, and when Michael brings the cuscus, Mapma, down in a couple of days, she raises her finely penciled brows. “What is that ?” Her husband comes back every day with tales of “savages” and “rock apes,” repeatedly contrasting Melanesian culture, as he sees it, to the “sophistication” of Vietnam
Steve, though, is my buddy. He’s stocky, short limbed, with a buzz cut and a boxer’s face, from New Zealand; and he loves PNG, pines for a local woman he met in Madang, and spoils little Mapma with chewy candies. I have her in a perforated box with tea towels inside, and during the day the gardener looks after her in a mango tree outside. She crawls up its branches and across the fence to the empty lot next door and I often have to climb over to retrieve her. One morning I wake up to find the box empty and Mapma nowhere to be found in the rafters or top cupboards of the house. I search the yard, under the house, its eves, everywhere, and despondently come back inside to where Steve’s pouring cereal.
“Mapma’s gone,” I say, battling tears.
He starts his own search, and a few minutes later come back laughing, with Mapma cradled in his elbow. She’d been wedged between the front and the screen door, all balled up with her head in her lap, asleep.
Steve is tight-lipped at first concerning my case; he doesn’t even tell me he’s heard about it, or that he knows the police work behind it. Eventually it is revealed he is to be my lawyer and doesn’t want a conflict of interest. So he plays with Mapma and teases me about David, the big Securimax boss, and how no one’s supposed to tell him I’m at the company house--for fear that, having been scorned, he’ll kick me out. There’s a radio base at the house, where all the security hand radios got recharged overnight, and occasionally we hear David’s voice crackling out orders to someone in the field. Once he mentions he’ll be coming around to the house to find Warrick. We all sit up and the Aussie bolts over and pulls a radio to say Warrick’s not here David, you’d better try elsewhere--all of us laughing in fear he might show up anyway. We’ll have to hide Nancy
“Pora’s in a safety cell for three months Nance,” Steve tells me. “Don’t you worry a bit.” That’s solitary confinement. It makes me sad to hear it. And it scares me a little to think someone’s sitting alone for three months thinking about me having put him in there. I run into Joe Bellam, the CID cop assigned the case. He tells me Pora and Win have been indicted and both pled not guilty.
I’m in Annette’s office later the same afternoon when Paul Van Stevren comes in. Annette runs a small video rental businessoput of the cinema office, and as Paul browses bootleg cassettes, he mentions with barely suppressed glee that young Win Raim has been ‘brutalised’ over the weekend. The cops, he says, brought him out of his cell, had him place his member on a desk, and then they whacked it with a billy stick. I cringe. Paul says they’re all calling him dickless and other things. I hate him for that, hate all the cops, and I pity the kid now. His face when he let me go, saying “Go olosem, run!” and my kissing him thank you. When he was first captured I had all the automatic responses, and I nodded along when police said things like they’d serve his balls up to a dog--gruesome, cop-like things. Then I noticed how resigned he was in the police station and, although there was no remorse, there was a pitiable acceptance of all the abuse, as though that were a natural part of adjudication. It pained me. None of this is fair, and it’s all progressing like a juggernaut beyond my control. I have a lot more anger for Maggie now, even for Paul, than I do for Win.
At this time a terrible thing happens. An Australian working for the power company is killed by raskals at his gate. His son is in the car and watches his father’s head get blown off. Then the kids run off, having scored maybe twenty kina, less than twenty bucks. Everyone’s aghast. It makes the national papers and puts Hagen
The White Woman’s Protection Ordinance
In 1926 His Excellency Sir Hubert Murray of the Papua Protectorate passed the White Woman’s Protection Ordinance, decreeing that any New Guinean man to make advances to a white woman or girl, and causes her harm, will be punished severely; he will be sent to prison and beaten with a cane fifty times a day for three days; he may also be imprisoned for life, or hanged. Explaining this to the Australian Government, Sir Hubert made an interesting comparison:
Doubtless there are native women who set the highest value on their chastity, but they are the exception; and the rape of an ordinary native woman does not present any element of comparison with the rape of a respectable white woman, even where the offence upon the latter is committed by one of her own race and colour.
When we were up on the Kopi singsing ground and Win and Pora were being bundled into the back of the truck, Win tried to look me in the eye--as if to make a connection, maybe to stir up doubts—or to say, ‘Look at me--do you recognise me?’ I didn’t know. But I was unnerved then. A current running between us was strong but indecipherable, it told me nothing I needed to know. Michael, a Kopi himself, has helped put Win Raim's face together with the boy in the tape. I can’t have gotten it wrong if Michael agrees with me. When they brought Win and Pora into the CID offices and they were sitting on the floor, I pointed to the boy in the tape wearing my jacket and Erin
The following Saturday Michael gestures for me to follow him into his office behind the ticket booth, where he tells me he’s just seen Marapa Wal and Paul Kuk in town, at the big Rainbow dry goods store. “Tenkyu tru,” I say, and cross the street to the CID office. A detective listens patiently as I tell him he can pick up two suspects in town right now, then he walks to another building and asks another detective if he’s aware of the suspects, and the other bloke says yes. But we have no car, the second cop says. The police often have no cars, no ammunition, no pencils to take down details. But it’s just across the street, I say. You could walk there and get them. “Sori,” they shrug.
At the Securimax house I overhear the Australian couple having dinner, talking about their fears of the road to Kuta. It’s clear neither of them know I’ve been involved in the incident. It would be nice to go up to the lodge for lunch sometime, they agree, but the wife mentions that she’s heard the road is dangerous. She’s such a beleaguered Missus: the good woman; her eyes hooded and the jawline softened; you know she’s given her youth and ambitions to the husband’s career. The husband assures her that it’s very safe now, but she says she still doesn’t want to try it. Standing at the refrigerator, I agree with him. I should know because I’m the one who was kidnapped with tourists two weeks ago. They say nothing. An awkward pause follows, during which I rummage through the fridge. “It should be safe now,” I repeat.
“You never know in PNG,” the man says. They move on to the next subject, about how the airport in the capital is so shockingly dirty and a real turn-off to tourists, and he says there’s no tourism industry in PNG anyway; he doesn’t know one Australian who’d willingly visit this godforsaken place. Compared to Europe Paris Rome Port Moresby Europe East Africa India
How lucky for India Australia Pacific Islands
“Just a courtesy. You don’t need a lot of people talking about it. Besides, the Post-Courier reporter, you know that bloke--Robert Palme--he told me once, he said, ‘Steve, I’ve got a family myself to consider,’ which explains why he won’t report some crimes. I bet, I’m not sure, but I bet Palme’s a Kopi himself.”
“No, I don’t think so. But Steve, I’d rather have the newspaper coverage. I want the coverage. You see, I think the fact no one knows about it is letting it fade away, letting the cops slack off a little--and it lets the kids go free up at Kuta Ridge. That road won’t be safe until the case is closed. You know?”
Steve thinks for a moment. “Rightyo. Don’t you worry about a thing, Nance. We’ll get those kids for you.”
Joe Bellam, the Morobe cop assigned to the case, picks me up at a friend’s house to take me to court. It’s eight months later and I’ve come back to Hagen Highlands
I’m gobsmacked. Joe assures me that doesn’t matter and he’ll charge him on that later.
“But should I tell my whole story now?”
“Oh yea, tell your whole story.”
This would be a good time to laugh uncontrollably. I’ve been through the statement-making, the stomping through Kopi ground, the videotape viewing, the search for other boys, everything with Joe by my side, a year ago. When exactly had he failed to charge Win? When had it slipped his mind? Was the entire passage just a circus of overmuch energy and interest because a white woman’s been robbed? Did he never consider it a rape case?
He drops me at the courthouse. Inside, bitching about not being able to find a video player and monitor to play the evidence, and yet when I ask if we should rent one he says it’s the court's own fault, so it’s their responsibility. What? We walk into the courtroom from the courtyard behind. Just as we enter, by bizarre coincidence, old friend and pompous sparring partner, Peter Van Fleet, is just leaving with some Hageners. "So you’ve become a lawyer now?" he grins, Cheshire cat like. “No,” I smile, following Steve.
“So...? Was it something you committed or something committed against you?"
I shake my head, and he backs off more kindly than I deserve, with a smile.
Steve and I sit down at the prosecution table in the empty courtroom while he opens the file. “Just make your answers short Nancy
First the Public Solicitor comes in, a Mendi, Southern Highlands
Then a bony clerk enters, a classically Engan man with heavy brow and beard, and impeccable Australian English. The court recorder comes in and sits in front of the judge's bench, and asks that we stand as the judge himself enters and settles in his seat raised above us all. He’s got a big Highlands
Joe Belam comes from behind to sit down next to Julie and me. “There are two matters before the court today,” he whispers. The first is a plea submission, involving two brothers on armed robbery and rape charges remarkably similar to ours. They bring in two men who slump into the defendants’ box. One is young and skinny, the other older, and hardened-looking. Both clearly Engans by their faces, and by the fact that the Engan clerk translates from their local language. But now I’m rattled and I think they must be Pora and Win. But how could these be Pora and Win? How could I not know these faces? Am I such a pinhead that I’ve forgotten their faces? Do all Highlanders look alike to me? Are Pora and Win really Engans or something? I definitely do not recognize them, and the confidence in my testimony quickly evaporates. All these months of bolstering confidence to finally do this, to take these guys to court, are suddenly lost and wrong-headed and put me in doubt of my own personal integrity now. Have I been harboring an erroneous grudge? Am I really so bull headed I’ve convinced myself that I recognize someone I really don’t? Then I realize these two are the other defendants, and my whole self slumps with relief. I regain myself just as the older brother makes a statement that it’s both of their first offense and his younger brother deserves mercy because he’s always been cazy, or ‘longlong’ in Pidgin. I ask Julie if she knows the guys, and she does. Is it true his brother’s crazy? “Maybe.” Then she nods, “He used to go around shaking a bush knife at everybody.”
Joe cracks open the case file on his lap. He shows me Win Raim’s confession in Pidgin. In it, Win flatly admits to being involved in the day's events. Then it goes on to say that as Ben Warner grabbed a rifle butt and Erin went for a bush knife, he saw me run away into the bush and saw Kerry Wil run after me, probably to rape me, he thought at the time. I look at this and read it over again, wondering what and who Kerry Wil is. I don’t even recognize this name from the list of gang members we collected. Kerry Wil? How is it I never heard this name before? Is he just blaming someone else. “He gives someone else’s name,” Joe whispers as I stare at it a while. I can’t believe anything now. Here for the first time I read Win explaining why he kept saying, No it’s not me, all the time. My confidence having been shaken by these first defendants, it’s now entirely possible to me Win’s telling the truth. But Joe’s already told me Win confessed to it all and then retracted the confession. It’s all so unclear again.
The Engans are escorted back to the holding pens and a policeman leads in Pora and Win, both nodding slightly they pass the judge. I recognize them both. Pora is stockier with smaller facial features, a smaller nose and rounder head than his brother, and is two decades older. Win has a long nose and full lower lip--looking at him I once again see that he’s the man who pressed his face against me. Only his eyes are unknown, masked by Erin
Steve’s convinced this is a tactic, and that they think stalling will lead to my leaving PNG and the charges being dropped. But I’m also growing angry. The Judge and Steve talk about a new listing for July, months away, and idly run through other matters. Steve says something like, “Well, now if we're lucky we’ll get two Not Guilty pleas later.”
Somehow I feel Steve’s blaming everyone but himself for this postponement. When the judge leaves, I stand up with Joe and say firmly to Steve that I’m confused and don’t know why it’s being put off. I’ll be busy in July and don’t think I can make it back. “It’s not like I can do this forever.”
Steve turns to leave the courtroom. “Well, well. Now that Nancy
Court reconvenes at , at which time the judge advises the Raims of the new trial date and their need to find new counsel. And it’s over. Because provincial reforms are expected to come through that afternoon, everyone’s expecting rioting, a bridge being blowing up and fires being set in the afternoon. The cops will have to wait until tomorrow to drive me back to Goroka. When they arrive in the morning, Detective Kenny and a Southern Highlands
Months later, I arrive back in Hagen
“Sometimes I wonder if Steve is working for the defense,” Joe says.
“Sometimes I think the police are working for the defense. Weren’t they supposed to collect the original tape from Ben? “
“Em nau,” That’s right.
“Whose faulty is this?”
“Maybe it’s both.”
We arrive at court and meet Steve in the corridor. “Pora and Win have given the defense the name of the boy who they say actually molested you.”
“But they’re lying,” I say. Steve shrugs. Is he saying at this late date that he believes them?
Apparently Pora has apologised to Steve for the incident and claimed he was drunk that day. Said he’d been knocked back for a job at Maggie’s lodge and she had ‘talked strong’ to him, so he wanted revenge. Pora’s honesty is always so patent. Steve asks me, “Was Pora—I mean Win—also drunk?” I say No--I never smelled alcohol on him. As Steve enters the courtroom, Joe turns to me.
"That's a discrepancy now. There's one example of how Steve is confused sometimes, because he said Pora when he meant Win being drunk. Don’t let him confuse you!"
Now I’m really confused. Has Steve just now read the name Kerry Wil in the deposition, or does he really believe I’ve been mistaken all along?
Joe enters first to give his testimony, and I wait behind the courtrooms in a cinderblock courtyard where ferns and crotons in a central garden are lit by a mildewed skylight. There’s a three step stoop to one office where I sit and try to wait patiently, but its barely fifteen minutes before Pora and Win Raim are walked from the holding cells past me into the courtroom, wearing blue coveralls, hands uncuffed. Pora smiles and says, “Morning Nancy" with the most guileless good will. “Morning” I manage, like we’re old friends.
About thirty minutes later, Joe comes out saying it’s my turn. The court clerk holds the door open for me. I’m sworn in with one hand on the Bible and the other holding an index card with the neatly hand-written statement: "I swear that what I have to say is the truth as I saw it and heard it. I will not add anything I do not know to be true. So help me God."
The room is packed, people filling up the back and crowding the glass wall in back. Julie winks at me from the third row, bless her for being here again. In the gallery I see some Penambes, and some Mogeis--the bigman Leo Kolga is one. But I can’t make out who might be Kopi or not. I am asked a series of questions by Steve, who’s affecting a hard edge, and he reminds me to slow down twice. “Keep it short, please, the Judge had to write everything down.”
Yes, the judge is recording both Steve’s questions and my answers by longhand on a foolscap pad. I slow down and make it brief.
“Is that everything you mentioned in your statement?” Steve snips.
Soon we’re in gear, though, and I detail the events from the time the car left us for town through the attempted rape. I feel as if the whole scene is mediated, as if I were acting out something on TV, striving to project sincerity and muted outrage—because the role is programmed I suppose, and I can’t make out how to improve it. How did I look? Innocent? Sincere? Missus-y, in my tailored blouse? Too much red lipstick?
At one point Steve hammers me on whether or not I took my own clothes off for Win. I suppose it’s the expected line of inquiry and I don’t need to be sarcastic. Oh yes, by then I wanted him. “No,” I insist. “Win took them off.” Steve challenges me based on my deposition, and I explain that the posture I was in, pressed into mud, Win’s hand on my neck, meant he ordered me to pull down my trousers. I also explain that the policeman didn’t take the facts down verbatim. Steve repeated this comment, pronouncing it ver-bah-tim, as in, "So would you say that this statement was not a ver-bah-tim account of your statement to police but a paraphrase?"
“Yes, I would. Win asked me to take my trousers off, I tried, struggling to, and so he and I both pulled them down. It was not a consensual act.”
“’He said, “Get your clothes off. Hurry up and get your clothes off.”’” The courtroom draws quiet. People crowd the open door. “’I knew that the man had a bowie knife although I didn’t see it at this time but I had previously seen it. I was terrified for my life. I was afraid that the man was going to use extreme force and that he would ‘punch me out’ and rape me. I started to pull down my trousers and underwear to about my lower hip. The man pushed his hands up under my shirt and bra.’” Steve drops the sheet and asks, “Would you say this was an accurate description?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“’At this time his left hand was holding my throat and his right hand was holding one of my breasts under my shirt. The man had his left hand held tightly on my throat and then with his right hand he pulled down his trousers.’”
I look over to Win and he looks back without expression. What does he remember? Steve reads. “’I could see that he did not have an erection. He was feeling my breasts and was kissing me and stroking his penis. It appeared to me that he was attempting to make his penis erect. I said, “Don’t hurt me. None of the other boys, make sure they don’t come here. Just you.”’”
Steve asks a series of questions regarding my physical and psychological trauma. I respond that I’m a lot more scared of simple things after the event, and am especially afraid of Mt. Hagen Hagen
Did my fear at the time, he continues, impair my judgement of events?
“No.” I’m staring at Win.
He explains that Win has argued it was a case of mistaken identity. What do I say to that?
“Impossible. Absolutely impossible.”
A conviction will, I must know, alter this boy’s life. But I look at the Solicitor and have nothing to say. This is where I’m supposed to ask, Shouldn’t he have thought about that before he tried to rape me?
The judge scribbles away furiously. Then he asks Steve to repeat some comment he made moments ago and I realise he’s falling behind in his longhand. Steve asks, “So you saw the boy at the incident, saw him again in the video, and recognised him again in the village--and still he asserts that it is a case of mistaken identity?"
“What’s the third place you mentioned there?” asks the judge, pen aloft.
Joe and Kenny drive me back to Goroka, but not before we stop by the station so Kenny can get a pistol, which makes me feel a lot less secure. A driver named Augustine jumps in, and I assume he’s a stationhouse driver because he handles the vehicle like a stock car, taking corners on two wheels, flying over big puddles in the paved sections, under rain that sometimes comes down so hard the wipers can’t get a focus on the road, and I sit shell-shocked throughout it all thinking, now that I’ve testified, God can let me die on the Highlands Highway. Kenny tells me the judge in my case was Judge Ingiar, notorious for deciding that a man who raped his infant daughter was justified because his wife had withheld sex from him. He should have raped his wife instead, the judge argued. Ingiar, he says, had earlier convicted two women, in two separate cases, of premeditated manslaughter for having twisted or hit their husbands’ balls while they themselves were being beaten up--one with a pool cue and the other by being stomped on her face. In both cases the women had reached out and tugged hard, mortally wounding their man. Murder one, Ingiar called both cases. What’ll my case be--justifiable rape? Kenny goes on to reveal that since my incident two schoolgirls have been raped by members of Pora's gang up on Kuta Ridge, and a Mogei big man has threatened to cut off all services to the road if the Kopi people don’t bring the boys in. “Aw no,” I whine. Why are we not chasing down the whole gang? Everyone shakes their head. Suddenly all my misgivings, all the seeds of doubt Steve has just planted, evaporate and I’m sorry we haven’t heard a judgement yet. It’ll be a week beforew we know.
It turns out Kenny was mistaken, and out judge was Sakora, not Ingiar, and he’s brought in convictions for both Pora and Win. They threw Pora right back in jail, but because I’ve decided to exercise a new law that offers paid compensation and reduced time (because I want all the Kopis to feel the pain, and not make Win serve for a crime several committed), the court allows Win to return to Kuta Ridge to collect the K1000, and return to the court the following Friday. Apparently Win did exactly this, and came back to the courthouse with the Kopi Councilor at the appointed time. But the office is empty when they arrive, and they wait for almost an hour, guards later report, before simply walking out and returning home. Where they haven’t been pursued since. Steve has called to tell me all this. “What---you’re saying the police won’t go find them?”
“Now wait Steve. My asking for compensation has nothing to do with the court being stupid enough to let him go, for Christ’s sake.”
Weeks later the reporter Robert Palme wants to write a story about the case after all. In the end, though, it’s getting on towards Christmas and his editor finds the piece too depressing to print. But Robert takes a look at the videotape with me, and for the first time he provides an explicit Melpa translation. Just as Marapa Wal stands soaping his hair on a stone in the river, one of the kids holding the camera says very matter-of-factly, off screen, “Next time we’ll kill her,” and the others laugh. My neck and chest inflame, just for a minute.
A month later Win rapes a schoolgirl on the road, and evades capture. Eventually he breaks into a building at the airport, gets caught, and sent to prison.
 Inglis, A. 1974. Not A White Woman Safe, Sexual Anxiety and Politics in Port Moresby, 1920-1934. Canberra Australia