“We were a perfectly ordinary family, and then everything changed”.

“Family life had never seemed so harmonious. Then everything changed”.

Adam, Ulrika y Stella Sandell, el padre, la hija y la madre, una familia “casi normal”, asisten a la sala número 2 del Tribunal del Distrito de Lund y narran, desde su propia perspectiva, los pormenores del juicio de la hija acusada de asesinato.

Transcribo los párrafos de la edición en inglés, como una forma de acercamiento a una historia de violación y de seducción.

“Lying is an art that few people fully master”. ¿Es mentira callar la verdad? Adam Sandell, el padre, es un pastor respetado de la pequeña ciudad de Lund en el sur de Suecia. “I recalled my own words, that this sort of thing only happens to alcoholics and drug addicts… We were a perfectly ordinary family. We weren’t supposed to be the ones sitting there. And yet there we were”.

Stella Sandell acaba de cumplir dieciocho años. “I have a theory that the psychologists loved our family. A pastor, a lawyer, and a maladjusted teen. We could serve as textbook examples in their manuals”.  A los quince años había sido violada por el director del campamento de verano al que sus padres la habían enviado.

My memories of the rape are sharp as knives; the images clear as glass. Part of me will always be there on that bed in the counselors’ cabin, gasping for breath… camp. I’m drowning in Robin’s panting breath. The sweat and tears blend together. The inconceivable horror of another person taking control of my body. Another person forcing their way into the innermost parts of me and robbing me of the dignity and right to self-determination I had taken for granted. Anyone who claims that she would never consider revenge, who firmly believes bloody, violent retaliation can never be justified, has never been subjected to rape”.

Ulrika Sandel, la madre, que es abogada criminal, ofrece una interesante perspectiva del sistema judicial sueco, de los “lay judges”* y de cómo todos los aspectos de la vida de su hija podrían favorecer o perjudicar el veredicto.  “The courtroom is my home and my fortress. I have almost spent more hours in various courtrooms than at home with my family. But I have never felt this lost and exposed here, choked with anguish, tormented by regret”.

La víctima es un hombre de treinta y dos años. “The fact is, the victim isn’t just anyone.” “It’s Christopher Olsen. Margaretha’s son.” Margaretha Olsen, a professor of criminal law.”

Amina es la amiga íntima.

“We met him at Tegnérs,” Stella says in a subdued voice. “Me and Amina.” I don’t dare move a millimeter; I hardly dare to breathe. “It was sometime in June. I thought Chris was charming, and … you know, exciting. He was so much older. He was thirty-two and I was seventeen.” The female lay judges glance at each other. “He told me he traveled a ton,” Stella continues. “He had been, like, everywhere. And you could tell he had money. He seemed to have a super-eventful life. Kind of like I dream of having.” She’s using the present tense: dream. Not dreamed. She’s still dreaming. “After that night he texted me and wanted to meet up again, so we did.”

Como las buenas novelas que funcionan como campos de experimentación de la vida real, en Una familia casi normal, (en Lund o en cualquier otra parte del mundo), presenciamos cómo los personajes se comportan o reaccionan ante las situaciones difíciles o adversas, en este caso la violación y más tarde la seducción.  Que son momentos de excepción, y que pueden llevar a reacciones que acaban trágicamente.

*Wikipedia: “In first- and second-tier Swedish courts, both in the general and the administrative hierarchy, politically appointed lay judges (nämndemän) sit alongside professional judges in district and appellate general and administrative courts, but decide virtually no civil cases”.

M.T.  Edvardsson. Suecia, 1977.

M.T.  Edvardsson. A Nearly Normal Family. (título original en sueco: En helt vanlig familj). NY: Celadon Books. 2018. 394 pages. Edición de Kindle.