Coronation Street Apr. 14/13


Kirsty-with-phoneTuesday, Kirsty’s face as Ruby cries upstairs. You know that this is the end of the storyline and the end of the road for Kirsty. The only question is what is she going to do. Is she going to end the cycle of familial physical violence or perpetuate it  Is she going to admit she was lying or start hitting the baby? She looks for help at Dr. Carter’s office. He won’t give her sleeping pills. She won’t consider a therapist. She goes home. Ruby sleeps, until Julie comes to confront Kirsty. The baby begins crying again.

She carries Ruby down from upstairs, cooing at her to try to comfort her.  But her sh-sh-sh sounds become words: “shut up shut up” still said in a soothing voice. Her patience is at the snapping screams-at-babypoint. And indeed, she snaps. The murmured “shut up” becomes a loud scream right in the baby’s face: SHUT UP.

She stops herself, horrified at what she’s done. Then picks up the baby in her carrier. Where is she going? Next door to beg Julie to take the baby? No, she doesn’t knock at Eileen’s door where inside Julie is crying on Sean’s shoulder after Kirsty hit her hard. (Why they didn’t try to rescue Ruby, I don’t know.) They hear the baby cry, then sudden silence. I fear Kirsty will head to the Canal, where so many Weatherfield evil-doers end the stories of themselves and their victims.

In the courtroom

in-courtroomMy guesses are wrong. Next episode she goes to the courtroom, baby in arms, and asks that Tyrone take the child. It was she, Kirsty says, who battered Tyrone and she feared she would do the same to Ruby. After some strange and convoluted judicial outrage about decorum, they charge her with perjury and obstruction of justice. They also release Tyrone and return Ruby to him. As Kirsty is taken to the cells, through a window she sees Tyrone walking down the street, carrying the baby with Fiz hanging off his arm. My heart broke for Kirsty.

All the actors in this story have been brilliant, but Natalie Gumede has been stunning. She has illustrated all sides of the cycle of domestic abuse. She has recollected the young girl, terrified of Kirsty-horrifiedher father and frightened for her mother’s safety. She’s shown us the young girl confused and let down by her mother’s unwillingness to protect herself and her child. She has also shown us a vicious abuser, able to hit someone she loves with anything that comes to hand and make him feel it is his fault that she is “forced” to do this.  Then she has shown the regret and horror that an abuser feels after their loss of control and the nightmare that she has become exactly the same as the person she feared and hated.

Stopping the cycle

But she stopped the cycle, early enough that probably it will not affect Ruby in later life. I thought it would be her mother who stopped it, who said I can’t let another generation of abuse exist. But by not telling the court what she knew, her mother was continuing the cycle of abuse and convicting an innocent man. She was allowing her own victimization to destroy more lives, and calling it protecting her child. stupid-stupid

But two wrongs don’t make a right. Kirsty put more on the line than she had ever asked of her mother. She declared herself an abuser and put herself behind bars in order to save her child. All she had asked of her mother was for her to leave an abusive husband and father. I think her mother has as much self-examination to do as Kirsty has.

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