EGGSHELL SKULL: A well-established legal doctrine that a defendant must 'take their victim as they find them'. If a single punch kills someone because of their thin skull, that victim's weakness cannot mitigate the seriousness of the crime.
But what if it also works the other way? What if a defendant on trial for sexual crimes has to accept his 'victim' as she comes: a strong, determined accuser who knows the legal system, who will not back down until justice is done?
Bri Lee began her first day of work at the Queensland District Court as a bright-eyed judge's associate. Two years later she was back as the complainant in her own case.
This is the story of Bri's journey through the Australian legal system; first as the daughter of a policeman, then as a law student, and finally as a judge's associate in both metropolitan and regional Queensland-where justice can look very different, especially for women. The injustice Bri witnessed, mourned and raged over every day finally forced her to confront her own personal history, one she'd vowed never to tell. And this is how, after years of struggle, she found herself on the other side of the courtroom, telling her story.
Bri Lee has written a fierce and eloquent memoir that addresses both her own reckoning with the past as well as with the stories around her, to speak the truth with wit, empathy and unflinching courage. Eggshell Skull is a haunting appraisal of modern Australia from a new and essential voice.
Powerful yet humbling. Delicate yet brutal. Discouraging yet empowering. Honest. Impeccable.
There was nothing held back on this journey. I can't think of a single negative thing about this read. Bri is a beautiful, strong women who showcases her darkest moments to meet the reader at theirs. Her weaknesses and ability to share her personal struggles makes her an inspiration to many who feel like they are alone. Her story lights a fire in you and becomes a beckon in a dark tunnel.
I love that Bri was able to show both sides of the law being both a lawyer and the complainant. Her story is so uniquely alluring. It was hard to put down and I found myself skipping ahead in the dialogue because I needed to know the outcome, feeling so involved in her story, then going back and rereading pieces again so I could soak everything in. My heart breaks for Bri's mom who will hear the honest internal self-hatred and hidden destruction when reading this for the first time.
This story will stay with me for years to come.
I love Jaclyn for both introducing me to this read and then lending me her copy! (READ HER REVIEW HERE) This book NEEDS to come to America because everyone would benefit witnessing a strength like hers. Thank you for baring your soul for us. I was pissed, relieved, angry, and vulnerable throughout this read and I was able to cry and heal knowing I'm not alone.
TRIGGERS: Self-harm, rape, child molestation
“Only skinny enough when starving, only successful enough when exhausted.”
“The ugly parts of my life kept crashing into the beautiful ones.”
“How could I tell him what was actually eating at me, rotting on the inside? How could I do that to my mother and father—make them as sad as I knew they’d be? At least if I carried my Secret alone, there would be only one casualty.”
“They weren’t children anymore either, and juries aren’t kind to women unless they’re ‘perfect victims’.”
“At law school the first and most sacred principle they teach you comes from Blackstone: that it is better that ten guilty men go free, than for a single innocent man to be imprisoned.”
“We have to sentence him according to what he would have received at the time he committed the offence.”
“In Australia, where more than one in ten women have been sexually assaulted before they turn fifteen”
“Every case felt like a David and Goliath battle. ‘There’s no evidence apart from the complainant’s story,’ they kept saying, but what evidence was she supposed to bring? So many of them were terrified, submitting to intercourse to avoid the punches or cuts that, ironically, would have helped them secure a conviction. So many took months or years to come forward—then, despite showing monumental strength in making a report, they were cross-examined about their ‘inexplicable’ delay.”
“I read once that the human body slowly pushes shrapnel back out through the skin. That a shard of metal can take years to reach the surface and finally truly be expelled. Veterans get bits coming out of them decades after wars. Could the same thing happen to memories? Perhaps that was what I was feeling: an itchy, irksome thing, a foreign object inside me, moving just millimeters every year, tearing through me until it breached.”