To read an excerpt from the book, please click on the following link:

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Compassion vs. Sympathy

I seem to end up clarifying my thoughts a lot after writing certain posts on painful subjects such as yesterday's. Some of my work with my science fiction novel is to create a fictional world where there is no abuse, no explotation of people or the environment, etc.  Rape, domestic violence, racism, sexual abuse, etc. have been abolished centuries ago.  Unfortunately, some of the time, I have to research studies on the roots of abuse and of conditions that cause such abuse to happen. I can't hang out and wait for all my own issues to resolve or I will never get the book done!

I stated in the previous post that I have little sympathy to muster for people who identify themselves as pedophiles.  This is not exactly true: I come from a background where I was sexually abused from the age of eight, until I was eighteen years old and left home.  There might have been a few years when my grandmother was alive that I was free of it, but it became notably worse after she died and there was no more supervision of the perpetrators. At the time, school was my refuge because no one could hurt me there.  And we're not even talking about the domestic violence I witnessed (emotional and physical) not only with my parents, but with neighbors and relatives, and all the physical abuse-as-discipline. Mad Men is a highly accurate show in its portrayal of how these things were accepted, pretty much without question.  I wonder sometimes how I got so far in my life, given my background.

 Then I went to college and had three and a half years free of that garbage (other than nasty old professors who drank like fish and chased everything in a skirt).  The incidents that happened to me as an adult have cost me years in time, health, money, self-esteem, etc.  The last incident put a match to bipolar 2 disorder which had probably smoldered all of my adult life and subsequently caused a conflagration.  I am still fighting upwards from that time.

So, it's hard for me to find a shred of sympathy, given my history, for anyone who deals with what I have to euphemistically describe as "a problem" regarding attraction to kids and underage people.  I wonder at times what my life might have been had I not been forced to put 90 percent of my life's energy into healing from abuse that people freely and without conscience heaped on a little girl, on a vulnerable young woman who only wanted to get her college degree and did not understand boundaries, on a woman in her fifties who only wanted to go to a club and hear music. Active abusers who just want to do their little thing and get away with it, have zero sympathy from me, as they are making a conscious decision to harm and not take full responsibility for themselves...there is help out there for such compulsions and most people, if motivated, can find that if they really want to.

 I can, however, muster an enormous amount of compassion for those who find the courage to seek help for any sort of harmful tendency, no matter what that is.  People who make an active commitment to never perpetrate, to do everything they can to help themselves, who are conscious and understanding of the consequences on everyone if they act out--to get help for this and find a way to be strong and healthy, deserves compassion, I think. That is why the opening disclaimer in the article I posted last night is very important for people to read.  There ARE people working hard to help themselves in this world and by default, are trying not to contribute to its ills.

Which of course does not mean I would ever consciously have anyone in my life with this problem even if they said they were getting help.  There is no telling if the really are or if they are just blowing smoke...the safety of any child in my care is far more important.