Friday, 17 May 2013
The "compensation" stigma
I have just read the report about three hundred new clergy child abuse cases in Belgium. No big surprise there really as daily there are more and more cases coming to light. And there are thousands more yet to come.
What has irritated me, yet again, is the language used when describing why victims wait for many years to come forward.It shows shallow thinking and plain ignorance.
”The great majority of complainants were mature adults, having waited before coming forward after the Church fell into scandal over recent years and with compensation now an issue”
Once again, it is implied that survivors are “crawling out of the woodwork” because of “compensation”
This is so bloody offensive! The facts are that most people have been absolutely terrified to come forward, for so many reasons: fear, shame, embarrassment, guilt, having been threatened, being mentally ill, having memory blackouts, worried about the repercussions,being disbelieved, frightened of the stigma and on and on....
The truth is that many of us have been able to come out about our abuses only because other brave people have shown us that it is possible.
It took a few courageous individuals to be the first to stand and tell their horror stories making it possible for others to do the same. The fact that the floodgates are now open is just indicative of the enormity of the crimes.
Regarding “compensation” I also find it offensive that people should feel stigmatised if they seek recompense for the crimes committed against them.
So the church destroys someones life, and then forces more loss of self esteem that comes with seeking redress!
What else should they ask the church for? To be prayed for? Patronised? Their trauma trivialised?, Further abused?
The church, after all , has NOTHING else that is of any use to us, and were responsible for taking away innocent childhood, and leaving people broken, brain damaged, physically and emotionally scarred. That damage even stretching to the next generations.
Neither are they inclined, or indeed vaguely interested in making amends, their arrogance knows no bounds.They will duck and dive, delay ,cover up and lie, and only in the very last instance, when they have worn the person right down, and when they are absolutely cornered , like rats in a trap, will they offer anything, usually as little as they can get away with, rather than as much as they could possibly do.They will never do anything voluntarily. Of course they should be made to pay!
Balance is a cosmic law!
No doubt , those who take the moral high ground against victims who seek a legal judgement will say that “money won’t fix it”
Well of course it bloody won’t!
But in many cases it make the burden they carry lighter, make recovery more possible. Many survivors have had their education interrupted , their career choices limited, their potential destroyed. ~Many of them have been unable to build up pension contributions, or health care insurances , have poor attendance records, have lost years through depression etc. etc. Many find it difficult to be with other people, their “trust barometers” are impaired, and so they isolate further.
It is offensive to suggest, or even imply, that they are some kind of predatory creatures who only emerge when money is mentioned!
And frankly, even if that were so, they are simply seeking the same curtesy that is afforded to every other victim of crime - recognition and the ability to go some way to redress the imbalances that were forced upon them.
That does not meant to say the whole compensation business isn’t fraught with difficulties, and as yet no one has really come up with a perfect model to follow.
I have very mixed views on the subject.
On one hand , it really galls me that anyone should have to accept grudging “charity” from a church that does not care about them, our pride is hard won, and needs to be preserved.
On the other, I know that this narcissistic organisation which is more concerned about it’s failing reputation and it’s obscene wealth should not be allowed to get away without making restitution.
I don’t pretend to have the ideal answers, and I know that each person has a different viewpoint. Each country has a different legal system, and their can be no “one fits all” solution.
The USA lawyers seem favour going for “millions”, and I am not actually knocking that, what price would you put on brain damage,immune and metabolic system damage shortened life span?
That will not happen in the UK, our legal system simply does not allow for large payouts.
The reality in most cases is that people may receive enough to pay for their
toothpaste for life!
When debating this dilemma in Holland , someone once suggested a ridiculous “sliding scale” of abuse values !
So much for “touching”. another amount for “penetration” another for “multiple occasions” another for “oral sex” !
An appalling idea, like a price list in a brothel! How offensive can you get!
I can only speak for myself. I know that if I were to have been given an amount of money when I was an active addict, I would have been dead by now. If I had not done the other ”work” on my sobriety, my recovery my messed up brain, money alone would have finished me off.
When I first came out about this, I don’t know what I expected,I know what I rather pathetically wanted was a metaphorical “warm blanket” to be wrapped around me, and for someone to say “ there there - it’s over now”
I wanted to put down the burden that I had been carrying for so many years, and have some peace.
That is my hope for everyone, whatever stage they are at, that they can get a “warm blanket” and are able to put their burdens down.
The only thing I do know for sure is the church CANNOT dictate the terms! They cannot decide on who is worthy,and to what extent, they cannot offer to pay for “therapy” for anyone, they cannot offer “healing”
It is patronising for them to suggest they can fix things.You can never find a solution in the middle of a problem, and they are the problem.
They need to have it taken out of their hands once and for all, be TOLD what to do and begin to do the RIGHT THING.
It would also help if the media would edit their language! A novel idea would be for them to support this fight rather than judge!