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Archive for Saturday, April 30, 2005

Harmful stigma

April 30, 2005

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To the editor:

Regarding a recent letter commenting on the impending residence of a known sexual offender in Lawrence:

This is a very delicate subject. The consequences of childhood sexual abuse, as we know, can be far-reaching and very damaging.

However, in our fear of becoming a victim of such damage, we are blinded to the often sad reality that, as adults, we are so often prone to repeating behaviors that were experienced by us in our own childhood. It angers and sickens me to read such judgmental statements as "once a sex offender, always a sex offender." Maybe, maybe not.

As with any dysfunctional behavior or lifestyle, if a person can get far enough down into their own painful memories, understand the reasons for their behavior and do the hard work of forgiving (themselves and their abusers), it may well be possible to change the behavior that has resulted from the abuse. Healing is an opportunity we all deserve, yet too often are the opportunities for such denied.

It is too easy to sit in judgment and blame.

Harder is the work of understanding and compassion. Who are we to judge?

Perhaps lifting the terrible stigma and shame from the person who abuses, knowing they, too, were victims, would serve us all better than the climate of fear that changes nothing.

M.G. Roy,

Lawrence

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