When Schapelle Corby steps out of Kerobokan prison a free woman, I hope those shoving cameras and microphones in her face remember their humanity:
I hope she is given a fair chance to start again.
I hope she is judged on her behaviour and merits from here on in.
I hope she is able to somehow reconcile the last nine years with the love and support of those she truly trusts.
I hope she is given the space and time to allow a semblance of healing to occur.
But I know for a fact that none of this will happen.
I know that the paparazzi will set up permanently outside her sister’s house in Bali, where she’ll be serving out her parole for the next 3 years.
I know that we’ll be seeing her on the front cover of every magazine and website, and that her bikini body will be scrutinised.
I know that we’ll be invited to share in the joy of her wedding, her baby, her post-baby body bounce back, her divorce, her toy boy-lover, her love child, her plastic surgery disaster, her weight gain, her weight loss, her spiral into depression, her bounce back from depression, her nude photo scandal, her sex tape, her stars without make-up spread… and on it goes.
When Schapelle Corby was arrested on 8 October 2004 at Ngurah Rai Airport with 4.2 kg of weed in her boogie board bag, a national obsession began. It has endured nine long years and shows no sign of abating.
I can probably just call her Schapelle, though, right? You all know who I am talking about straight away, don’t you? Schapelle, like Madonna, Cher and Beyonce, is now a mononymous person.
Our appetite for this story is insatiable. A lot of Australians see Bali as their little island getaway and were shocked when the Indonesian justice system dished out such a considerable punishment – especially without checking that we were cool with it first. We couldn’t believe that one of us (a young, attractive, female one of us) was actually being put behind bars.
Personally, I’ve always had a mild interest because Schapelle and I are around the same age.
At the time of her arrest I’d recently been to Bali. I remember feeling a small sense of: “There but for the grace of God go I.” Not that I am going around ramming narcotics into my water sports bag. I, like many of you, bought into the story that the baggage handlers had set her up. That was a good time for the suitcase cling wrap businesses wasn’t it? Did they even exist pre-Schapelle?