Thursday, March 19, 2009

WTF

STOP IT!!

SHUT UP!!

TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY!!

Riding through the beautiful green countryside from San Fran to Fresno we flipped through various radio stations. On one there was the story of that guy overseas who barracaded his daughter in the basement fathering upteen children by her through years and years of rape and abuse. On the other was a report about that singer guy who beat up his girlfriend - also a singer - and is up on charges for his behaviour. Two horrible situations. Two situations of violence in relationships. Two examples of power gone mad.

But ...

BUT ...

HERE'S THE KICKER

In both reports the men came forward as being victimized when they were younger. I felt like I was supposed to rush up to them and cradle their nasty little heads and say, 'Ah poor dear, all is forgiven.'

WTF is wrong with people?

Jeffery Dahlmer, remember everyone favourite gourmand, claimed that he too was abused as a kid. Oh, well, then Jeff, we'll forgive a little human on your breath.

How did we all become so frigging shallow?

Why do we let perpetrators of abuse get away with this shit?

When did the media become snivelling little reporters of fiction?

Let's get something straight. You may have had the childhood from hell. You may have had the Devil as a Dad and Medusa as a Mom ... yeah, tough draw. But, should you ever hit someone, purposely hurt someone, wound, bruise or cause pain to another.

YOU DID IT.

YOU THOUGHT IT.

YOU TOOK ACTION.

YOUR FIST HIT FLESH.

YOUR WORDS DAMAGED SPIRT.

YOU.

YOU.

YOU ALONE.

Don't go all 'mommy made me do it' or 'daddy was a bad man' ... even if it were true (and I don't believe it half the time) YOU STILL DID IT. Jeffery ate human flesh - no one else.

Take responsiblity.

I do not believe that we are served by journalists who are offered bullshit and report on flowers.

I do not believe that people are doomed by their past ... they may be challenged by them, they may be hampered by them, but they are not doomed by them. Thousands upon thousands of boys and girls suffer abuse ...

without eating their neighbours.

without raping their daughters in dungeous.

withour beathing the shit out of their girlfriends.

Millions and millions rise above violence and embrace victory. Don't go for pity when you've shown none yourselves.

WTF.

Enough.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exactly!

Ssejors said...

HEAR HEAR!!! HERE HERE!! WELL SAID DAVE!! Thank you!

Too many people look for excuses for their behavior! It's as though there are exceptions to every rule so long as you have a decent excuse! Just because you were abused doesn't mean we are waiting in anticipation for you to beat or abuse someone. And like you said, There are millions of people who have been through the same thing who DIDN'T turn around and do unto others. Lamest Bullshit excuse ever! Take your future and your fate into your own hands. What I don't understand is why some people who are abused don't want to rise above! Just break the cycle and not continue to perpetuate the abuse. I could rant on but I wont! Pray tell? What brought on this post?

krista said...

Amen!!!!!!!!!

Tamara said...

I didn't read the same articles or hear the same news reports, but I don't know if it's really an excuse when reports say those things.

I think we just want a reason someone would do something so horrific.

My mom's pastor was the one murdered at the pulpit a couple Sunday's ago, and the shooter comes from a family who has deep roots in the area. He supposedly has mental illness because of lyme disease.

I think hearing that makes some people angry as if it's an excuse, but I think it helps some people keep some semblance of order in their world.

Plus, we know many times there is a cycle of abuse - which to me is just learned behavior. Could continuing to bring awareness to that make some mother get her son out of an abusive situation earlier? Or get counseling?

The thing I heard about the singer/singer abuse that bothered me more was that a lot of young girls were blaming the victim. That is distressing. Very distressing to think that young girls cannot value themselves enough as women to understand a man has no right to abuse them ever.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad somebody thinks the same way I do. Every time I mention that your are responsible for your actions even if you have a rough past people always look at me like I have 3 heads, and respond but don't you think that they are acting from their past. Well I had a pretty shitty upbringing and still have never felt the urge to abuse to escape or justify my past.
I do take great satisfaction in helping the people I help on a daily basis. So I agree WTF=)

lina said...

WTF is right! Well put.

Anonymous said...

In our society no one seems to accept personal responsibiity for their own actions. Years ago when I was a child, this was stressed as being important.

Catriona said...

This doesn't seem to fit very well with what you said in a post from a little while ago that moved me to tears - the Hidden Crime.

There you described a young man who had hurt someone, and as a representative of a system that had left him so alone, described yourself as having committed a 'crime'.

I think that's a truer way of seeing the world - though admittedly a more difficult and complicated one.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Catriona, I think you'll find in the post you reference that I talk about two crimes. I do not diminish the crime of one because of the crime of another. When i was a full time therapist with offenders with disabilities - I was a 'tough love' guy. Though most had been victimized, in sessions the past victimization was never allowed in as an 'excuse' or 'reason' for present victimization. There is something healthy, and strong, and powerful in taking responsibility for actions because in doing so, one takes control of the future. if your actions forever control you there is no healing, no hope, if you control you actions, there is the ultimate hope that you will learn to make new and better choices. The fellows I worked with had a low rate of reoffence, and all today, greet me warmly. I think it's possible to be supporting, warm, and caring without being a dupe to offender games.

Sumithra said...

These horrible people just need an excuse. Today, they arrested a man for abusing his two daughters (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/mumbai-businessman-held-for-raping-daughters/88076-3.html). And you would be surprised to hear his excuse for horrific act - because a psychic told him that it would bring him prosperity!! WTF!!!

Kei said...

Too many people refuse to be accountable for the their actions. A lot of people can put the abuse in their past behind them. Others can use those experiences and help shape themselves into compassionate, understanding people, determined to help others. Everyone gets more than one path to choose from. The ones who continue the cycle of abuse decide that it's too difficult to change, so why bother? That becomes a conscious decision, and actions beyond that are things they should be held accountable for.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying this today. It is exactly what I need to keep hearing.

In the whole cycle of abuse, whatever form it takes, it is always about the abuser and what s/he feels, wants, needs, demands, takes - so even when the abuser commits disgusting crimes, it is all about "poor abused me" and the victim continues to be insignificant and ignored. It is enough to make victims feel crazy and invisible, which also just perpetuates the whole cycle.

It is hard, hard work to get through the fallout from being abused and it isn't fair that some of us have to work so hard to learn how to relate and behave, but many have done it without harming others. There is no excuse for harming another, period. If abuse can make some people more compassionate and committed to working for justice, why do others think they can get off feeling justified to 'get back at the world' in whatever way strikes their fancy?

The world does not need more suffering. Hurting others because we were hurt serves no good purpose whatsoever.

Thanks for how you speak up, Dave - your words made me a little stronger today.

J. said...

Thank you for saying this today. It is exactly what I need to keep hearing.

In the whole cycle of abuse, whatever form it takes, it is always about the abuser and what s/he feels, wants, needs, demands, takes - so even when the abuser commits disgusting crimes, it is all about "poor abused me" and the victim continues to be insignificant and ignored. It is enough to make victims feel crazy and invisible, which also just perpetuates the whole cycle.

It is hard, hard work to get through the fallout from being abused and it isn't fair that some of us have to work so hard to learn how to relate and behave, but many have done it without harming others. There is no excuse for harming another, period. If abuse can make some people more compassionate and committed to working for justice, why do others think they can get off feeling justified to 'get back at the world' in whatever way strikes their fancy?

The world does not need more suffering. Hurting others because we were hurt serves no good purpose whatsoever.

Thanks for how you speak up, Dave - your words made me a little stronger today.

Anonymous said...

my apologies for the computer glitch and posting so many times - oops!

Teresa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Exaclty.. mostly for those who had been abused and able to break the cicle and for those whom after surviving became a voice for justice...enough!

adayinthefatlife said...

Recently, Ted Haggard (the former preacher of the megachurch in Colorado Springs, who is anti-homosexual, was one of former President Bush's advisors, and who paid a male prostitute for sex and drugs) said the reason he was "like this" and "did that" was because he was sexually molested as a child by a male relative.

My exact words when I heard that was, "So what?"

I am so sick of hearing people say, "I abuse because I was abused." Lots and and lots of poeple have been abused (more than society wants to admit to) and have never become abusers. So why does hearing that Ted Haggard, or this rock star or that other person allegedly being abused in childhood remove their responsibility for the acts THEY did?

Abuse is wrong. If they were, in fact, abused as children, that is terrible and they need counseling to help them deal with the long term affects of the abuse. However, their being abused does not negate the fact that they engaged in a deliberate act of abuse themselves. It doesn't make what they did right. And it shouldn't make people give them a break either.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely Dave, it has been annoying me for weeks the way the media reports things, we seem to be in a society that never takes responsibility for its own actions.
"It's all the social workers fault!" Really? The social worker stood by and watched while your partner killed your child?

Unfortunately it seems to sell stories, piques our sordid interest. After all they can't really be evil there must be something wrong with them "up there."

Rosemary said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

Hey David,
Heard a little gem from a psychologist friend of my who stated that by around age 18 the statute of limitations is up on your childhood. Thought you would relate...Denise

Anonymous said...

By and large, I agree. It doesn't matter *how* one comes to do wrong, one's done wrong. Apologise, mend what you can, and do better next time.

On the other hand, the "I was abused and I never" line is flawed, for two reasons.

Firstly, there are two halves to the equation - the bad things which did happen to far too many of us, and the good ones which sometimes did, and sometimes didn't. Some people have one teacher, a grandparent, a neighbour, who cares actively enough to show them that they don't have to fulfil the prophecies made by abuse - and some have no-one to help in that way. Severe lack of nourishment is as deforming as beatings.

Secondly, there is a single gene variant which vastly increases a man's likelihood of becoming violent. (Most genetics of behaviour are *much woolier than this.)

A man (specifically) who has been subject to severe mistreatment in childhood is something like 80% or 90% likely to be antisocial, if he carries the 'wrong' variant of the gene. If he has the 'normal' (about two-thirds probability) gene variant, he's no more likely to be antisocial than people who haven't been severely mistreated. (Note - abuse, and severe abuse at that, is the trigger, not genetics. But genetics is a strong determinant in how men respond to abuse.)

Does any of that mean people with that gene variant and a history of abuse should get away with it, or plead that it wasn't their fault? Nope! That's just another low expectation for them to live down to.

I think it does mean that we have to recognise that responsibility is complex, and that just maybe, there but for the grace of god go we.

It also means that no, rearing young people isn't down to 'the parents' or 'the schools', but to all of us. Do the 10-20% who *don't* become anti-scial have especially strong role models, or just good community support, or something else? Who knows, but I'd lay long odds that it's worth trying.

ADR said...

Your comments reminded me of Edmund's comments in KING LEAR 1.2. He's laughing at his father (Gloucester)'s fears that recent eclipses are negatively affecting human relationships:

"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behavior, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, moon, and the stars; as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail, and my nativity was under Ursa Major, so taht it follows, I am rough and lecherous. Fut! I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing."

Granted, he seems to ultimately believe that he can't do anything to change who he is, but he is insistent that what he does HE is responsible for.

All, I guess, to say, "It was ever thus."

Ettina said...

I don't agree. Yes, they did the act, but it's likely if you really understood their perspectives, it would make a very important difference. How can someone learn to be a good person if they have no models, after all?
As for the 'I was abused and have never...' reply, everyone is unique. I'm a survivor of sexual abuse, perpetrated by a couple of kids who had been abused themselves. And I honestly don't think the fact that I'd never abuse a child has any relevance to their circumstances, because the two kids who abused me are not me. I grew up with two caring, wonderful parents, who helped me cope with the abuse and taught me from a young age that hurting people is not OK - and more importantly, how to have a good, caring, nonabusive relationship with someone. The first time anyone tried to teach those lessons to my cousins was when they were in their teens, after years of having everyone who was important to them either abusing them or overtly condoning abuse.
And as one other poster said, there's biological/genetic influences too - not that anyone is a born abuser, but different people react differently to the same experiences because they are *different people*. An introverted abused child might decide to withdraw from other people, but that might not be a viable option for an extroverted kid, because the loneliness would be intolerable for them.
It's never OK to abuse someone else, it's always a sign of a serious problem, and abusers should not be forgiven just because they were abused - but the causes of their behavior *must* be acknowledged and addressed. On a pragmatic level, abuse and so on will *never* stop until we recognize and address the causes rather than just blaming the perpetrators. On a moral level, the abusers are human beings, and they deserve compassion and understanding (which does not necessarily equal permission) just like anyone else.
I just started at a new job working with a couple of autistic kids, and one of them grabbed me hard enough to bruise numerous times and bit me on occasion as well. That's accurately described as abusive behavior, and no one should have to put up with that. But this girl is nonverbal, processes the world very differently from most people, her father has recently had a stroke and she's been sent to live in a different place, cooped up most of the day with three shifts of workers looking after her and the only person in her family who is still with her is her younger brother. She is not as culpable for hurting people as she would be if she was a typical person or if she wasn't under extreme stress at the time.
The people who do rise above aversity and deal with things the right way, such as severely abused people who parent their children well, are wonderful people. But there are many gradients between good and bad, and those who abuse as a result of extreme suffering are not as bad as someone who has more good options in their lives. It may honestly be that the person is facing only a variety of bad options, and the abuse is the only way they can see to cope. Maybe they're wrong, and they have other options, but not knowing they have other options has the same effect as not having them.

Elizabeth McClung said...

I agree, but I also think that you and I are sadly in the minority. As you see, many of the leaders today HAVE hit people, killed people, raped people and had not a great deal of remorse at all (I think RAIN or other organization has a list of the dozens of congresspeople and senators who are sex offendors). When leaders stand up and say, "Yes I need to torture people" (We who were in Europe then tend to remember that day more than the, "What, America doesn't torture, we just interogate with the idea of the geneva convention in mind"). Canada DID sterilize young women 'for their own good' in our lifetime. Much less other crimes in Somalia and other countries. We and the US has a domestic Violence rate of 25% annually - yet, not a lot of money in educating or changing that (my source oddly enough was the newspaper, which didn't think it odd at all).

I think there are few Dalhmers, however the number of people who will be sexual abused in thier lifetime is high, at least 1 in 6 for women, higher for those with disabilities. And I don't see the government, or disabilitiy organizations or the public standing up and holding themselves responsible for creating such an environment. It sucks. It is wrong, and it sucks. The truth is that people who sexually abuse, and the tens of thousands of cases of just one Christian organization have demonstrated is that having sex with children is likely to get you eventually promoted....as long as you repent - and while they may eat the body of Christ, I don't think they are all cannibals.

johannasmom said...

I agree completely with your blog! My mother was abusive and when I'd try to get my dad to do something about it, it was always.. "well she had a bad childhood". My brother said the same thing for a long time, but then I pointed out I'd had just as bad a childhood: what would he think if I treated my kids that way? He got the point.

You can sign me - a mom committed to NOT continuing the cycle!!!