When a crime hits the headlines, a light is shone on the perpetrator, their victim, and sometimes even the surrounding community. The motivations of the criminal, the suffering of their accuser, the reactions of neighbours and community leaders: these all receive publicity ensuring the world knows their story. What isn't so readily known is how all that publicity affects the perpetrator's family, and the forgotten victims of crime that it creates.
Michelle Raymond shares her story of the time she spent married to a man accused of some of the most heinous crimes imaginable, and how she became the indirect victim of his crimes through publicity and stigma. She was harassed by her community, her home was attacked, and she fell into a deep depression all the while trying to mitigate the emotional impact this had on her young daughter.
A decade has passed since then. Michelle has moved past the shame she felt for so long to become a successful entrepreneur with a supportive family, and no longer wears the label of "wife of a paeodophile". However, there are many mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives and children who still wear these labels.
For every crime there is a sprawling network of hidden victims who will never have an opportunity to find vindication in court. Michelle's story is a striking reminder not to forget them.
What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Courageous, inspiring and thought-provoking.
What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
I wanted people to see the other side of the effects of crime. The indirect victims that are often overlooked but still hurt deep.
What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
Wow.... I think they will be moved, but will be more consciously aware of how they approach people exercising patience and empathy. They'll be more aware of what they say and do.
Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
It's a hard story to tell but needs to be told. I'm strong enough to deliver this in a respectful way that will leave attendees possibly wanting to hear more but will be enough for them to be empathetic to others.
Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
My personal goals are for people to be more tolerant and empathetic towards each other.
What is your favourite TED talk and why?
My favourite TED talk of all time is the one delivered by Reshma Saujani - Teach girls bravery, not perfection
Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
I know of a few other Tedx speakers who have delivered their speech at Tunbridge Wells and has come highly recommended. I think any of the Tedx area could benefit from hearing this, but Tunbridge Wells is my priority.
What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
My advice is to be open, transparent and respectful. It's not about self. It's not about selling, it not about promotion. It's about awareness, interest and opening up perspectives.
Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
I'd love to see more support given to the wives and children of convicted paedophiles. We have nothing to be ashamed of and we shouldn't hide away and fall into depression as I did and so many others before me. I'd love the stigma to be removed and for people to be respected for who they are and not be vilified for who they once loved.