Against Torture

Torture is used in over 140 countries around the world. – Amnesty International

Beating the soles of a person’s feet, burning them with fire or electricity, subjecting them to sensory deprivation or faked executions, hanging them from the ceiling with bound limbs, breaking their bones and crushing their spirits.

Torture is not just about extracting a confession; its goal is also to destroy the victim, to stifle a voice and a story. Some regimes employ torture as a tool of government. Knowing that it is sanctioned—in practice, if not by law—creates a widespread, efficacious fear of authority, and helps suppress dissent.

The plight of someone who has undergone torture and other inhuman, degrading treatment can be even worse when the physical traces of this violence are less visible. Torture is all the more devastating when it cannot be conveyed to others, and the torturer’s most effective accomplice is silence. The silence that surrounds it, and above all, the silence forced on the victim. This is why treating victims of torture first and foremost means giving them back the power of expression, the ability to tell their own story.