I wrote this in answer to an email and thought I’d use it as my post for today:
Whilst I would never condone abuse, I understand how abuse victims grow up to abuse others. I abused myself that was the only difference. Had I been heterosexual and had children, I hate to think what I would have done. I doubt very much they would have escaped the rage inside me.
Abuse damages people, and often beyond repair.. I do have compassion and understanding for abusers. I think this is why I do not hate.
It is also important to know that abuse does not happen in a vacuum. People allow it to happen by turning a blind eye, not wanting to be involved, scared of making a fuss, of being wrong. So neighbours, friends, teachers, doctors etc all ignore the signs. As they did with me.
I understand completely your anger. However, if we are sincere about doing what we can to stop abuse we have to move beyond it and cultivate compassion for the abuser, not just the abusee.
By acting in anger and having a 'lock em up' or 'hang em' attitude, we perpetuate the problem and cause further suffering to those abused.
People who abuse are suffering. Often they are not aware of what they are doing, or rather the effects,. Often, they are acting out what happened to them (as the two 10 yr old boys who killed poor Jamie Bulger were.) It is also often the case that they are no longer able to feel empathy because of the damage done to them.
I was lucky, very lucky. I had the occasional neighbour, teacher, who showed me love and attention in a good way. This I am sure is what prevented me from losing the ability to empathise and stopped me acting out against others.
I know for sure that had I had children, there is no way they would not have been damaged by me. How can be so certain of that? Because I was so damaged myself I would have had nothing healthy to show them. Even if I never physically harmed them, I would have psychologically and spiritually because I had NOTHING better to pass on. I only had all the anguish, shame and fear in me. I had nothing else. You cannot give what you don't have.