Thursday, February 06, 2014

SHOULD THERE BE RESTORATIVE JUSTICE for CHILD MOLESTERS?

Kim Cottrell wrote “We have it all wrong. Shunning the offenders is not working.  Locking them up is not working.” http://www.the-broad-side.com/we-have-it-all-wrong-shunning-offenders-is-not-working-a-reaction-to-the-woody-allen-story

She is speaking about offenders of child sexual abuse.  Her reasoning seems to be that since child sexual abuse has not stopped we should stop shunning and locking up the offenders.  She offers her solution further in her article.

“Instead of hating (which I think of as genocide of the spirit) or locking people up, we could gather policy makers and mental health workers, legislators, and others who could insist insurance companies reimburse for family therapy as well as individual therapy.”

At the end of her article she says “When we reject and shun the offender, often a person who’s been integral to family or church or community..”
Does she think that therapy has a good track record with child molesters or that it matters what position or station they have held in society?

The sanest statement I found in this article was in a reply to it by a person identified as Kate who said “Embracing forgiveness is the essence of healing. But, understanding the psyche of the molester is NOT the job of the person who was hurt.  Taking care of ourselves is.”

I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.  All the details are not important, but it was over a number of years starting when I was young.  I have a dog in this fight.  The scars are still here and the abuse started over sixty years ago.  I have a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) along with a few others out of DSM-5. 

We wonder which one of us out of the we was suppose to have built a healthy relationship with our abuser and just how were we to do this? Forget about DID which is a controversial diagnosis or phenomena and tell me how a person is suppose to develop a healthy relationship with their abuser?

Forgiving oneself for whatever part you think you played in you being abused is hard enough.  Forgiving the perpetrator is like climbing into the heavens compared to forgiving yourself.  I don’t even see the possibility of building a healthy relationship with your abuser.  I can’t conceive of a reason to try.

She even suggests leaving the children with the parent who has sexually abused them and let the mental health professionals fix the family.  Read it for yourself and see if you don’t agree that is what she is suggesting.  What a flawed idea.

“Nine separate time periods (or time gates) over the 25-year study period were examined (see exhibit 6). The increments in cumulative failure rates for new sexual charges are 4 percent per year through Year 3, dropping to 3 percent in Year 4 and 2 percent in Year 5. After Year 5, the charge rate continues to increase at noteworthy increments: 11 percent between Year 5 and Year 10, 9 percent between Year 10 and Year 15, 7 percent between Year 15 and Year 20, and 6 percent between Year 20 and Year 25. It is significant—and should be underscored—that, 10 years after discharge, there was a substantial reoffense rate (i.e., at Year 10, the recidivism rate for new sexual charges was 30 percent, and by Year 25, it had increased to 52 percent). Contrary to conventional wisdom, most reoffenses do not occur within the first several years after release; child molesters in this sample reoffended as late as 20 years following release.”  https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/163390.pdf (Remember these numbers are based on the times the offender is caught NOT THE TIMES THE OFFENDER COMMITS AN OFFENSE.)

The truth is no one knows how to predict when, where or on whom a child molester will act out their urges and impulses.  How big a risk are survivors suppose to take?  How big a risk are survivors suppose to be subjected to?  Would you really leave a child in a home where they had been abused?  I agree family is important, but not that important.

Will I be whole again without building relationships with my abusers?  Since death and not knowing where they are separate us, I am not facing that question directly.  However, I faced it at one time.  I never had a healthy relationship with any of my abusers.  I am not whole.

The absurdity of thinking the mental health system could keep children safe if only insurance companies would pay for therapy is beyond the pale.  If a child molester can keep from reoffending or at least from getting caught for 25 years, how does one even imagine therapy as a solution?  Remember a therapist can only go by what the person says and signs they think they read like body language etc.

Restorative Justice for Child Sexual Offenders is something that needs more than someone saying families need to be together.  It has to be based on more than some belief in the power of forgiveness.  It has to have some facts and rational thinking applied to it. It may be worth pursuing, but Kim Cottrell did not convince me. 

I believe in forgiveness even for the most evil person.  I believe in forgiveness even for me and I don’t know what all the people in me have done.  However, God is the forgiver and the judge.  One day there will be justice.  I have to believe this or I could not make it through the mourning for my inner child til the morn.

© by Ed Cooper, February 6, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee

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