Focal Point (for publishing-12/10/04)
Abusing the Innocents
We have just suffered another assault on our community and parents are worried about their children being out of their sight. It seems no longer safe for our children to roam freely or mix with whoever in our community. This is not scaremongering, but a sad fact of 2004. For too long we have buried the hurt, damage and unresolved pain of those who have been abused as children and it's timely that someone has moved. Many of these victims have been men who now find themselves as the perpetrators of the same crimes that were perpetrated against them. Although there are many reasons for these patterns, the majority of our community wants a zero tolerance policy with regard to these crimes. The problem lays in differentiating between a zero tolerance policy for the perpetrators and a zero tolerance policy for the crime. One media personality went as far as to gloat over the suicidal deaths of a number of perpetrators, saying, good riddance, we don't need them, we will be better off without them. I guess that if we adopt the justice of Jesus we could find the balance between hating the sin but loving the sinner. Yes we must remove the perpetrators from our society, but if we are to be a civilized people, we must also work at ways to restore, heal and reconstruct damaged lives. Helping victims is the priority but we need to have a plan for helping the perpetrators along the way. Given that these confronting issues are in our face at the moment, it seems timely to talk of another deadly cancer in our community that is eating away subtly in many families. It is 'child abuse' caused by family breakdowns. Average Australian marriage breakdown is running at around 45% for first marriages and around 60% for seconds. Think about it. Add to that figure the number of de facto relationships that breakdown with children involved and you have an enormous number of children traumatized and stamped with a 'cross' to bear for their lifetimes. Our counselling Service is well booked with adults who were victims of their parent's split and there is a direct link for many of them to their own abuse. Those of us who are in breaking or broken relationships find it easier to see ourselves as victims rather than abusers. Wake up Australia to the fact that we have to relearn to discipline ourselves as to our pedantic wants in relationships and relearn to be givers, not only to our spouses, but also to our innocent children. Surely they deserve the constant love and companionship of both parents and they certainly didn't ask for this pain in their innocence.