by Phyllis Chesler
And so, Janet Malcolm—she of the exquisite and considered phrase—has died. We did not know each other personally but I followed her work. Didn’t everyone? We were both involved in different ways with the case of a mother who was accused of having had her ex-husband killed because she believed he was sexually abusing their daughter. That mother was very poorly served by the (in)justice system as was that child. Malcolm wrote Iphighenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial about Dr. Mazultov Borukhova who received a life sentence and who currently sits in Bedford-Hills where she studies Torah. Her daughter was not allowed to see her mother or any member of her mother’s family. This religious woman’s family had wanted me to visit her. I first wrote about such cases back in 1986, in Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody. I also read and followed the sensational coverage of the lawsuit that Jeff Masson launched against Malcolm for her book In the Freud Archives.
Earlier this morning, I wrote the following to a new friend: So many have gone, departed, in all the ways that matter. Glad we have connected. Hope you have a lovely weekend in the country.