Law Text Culture


Sound is as much part of the atmospheres of justice as is touch or image or even smell. Sound gets into the body and it leaves a mark. Sometimes that mark can be called violence, sometimes harm, and sometimes a crime. In this article I discuss how sound, as voice as well as the other nebulous sonic elements, such as grunts, shuffles and sighs, can leave a mark that can be called trauma. Using psychoanalysis I discuss theories of trauma as they intersect with experiences of sound in the courtroom as well as in fictional narratives. I examine the mark of trauma, as an experience of rape, as it appeared in the series Big Little Lies and I discuss how it can appear in the courtroom using psychoanalysis and the work of thinkers on sexual assault, on voice and on sound. I conclude that sound cannot not be part of the thinking on justice for victim-survivors of sexual assault, as well as of other interpersonal crimes.