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#447526 - 09/18/13 02:00 PM A Terrible Encounter
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Earlier this week I was at an AA meeting where the topic for discussion was humility. I spoke up and told how I have to take a daily inventory of myself for issues like honesty and humility. I gave an example of how I reacted to a recent newspaper article about a criminal case where I felt the sentence given was unjust. At the time I went off the deep end about it, as if my opinion was the only thing that mattered. Hence a lack of humility on my part.

Now the nature of the case didn't really matter for the point I was making about humility, but I went into detail about it anyway. Of course it was a child sex abuse case where the law called for a 20-30 year sentence, but the perp was allowed to plead down to 5 years with credit for time served. Outrageous, but again it was not really relevant to the point I was making about humility.

Afterward I was approached by a fellow who felt the need to convince me that such sex offenders need treatment, not jail time, and that we should have compassion for them. I was getting extremely uncomfortable, and tried to conclude the conversation, but then he disclosed that when he was drinking, he had raped a woman, for which he was never prosecuted. His point in telling me this seemed to be that if he had been caught, he would have been labeled a sex offender, and that would be unfair because of how he's changed his life now. At that point I knew I was either going to break down and cry, or beat him senseless. I just left in a hurry.

Fortunately I had a therapy appointment right afterward and my T said I handled it just fine. Didn't let myself be browbeaten, and didn't let my emotions carry me away. But I still feel that I should have done something to straighten the guy out about all this. And just to be clear, my compassion is reserved for the children whose lives are destroyed by sex offenders, not the sex offenders.

Anyone with any input would be appreciated.
I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#447528 - 09/18/13 02:22 PM Re: A Terrible Encounter [Re: Jude]
Onesimus75 Offline

Registered: 08/22/13
Posts: 158
Loc: Minnesota
I think you handled the situation about as well as you could have done. Sorry he wouldn't change the topic!!! VERY sorry that he did what he did.

I think your T's right. I can't imagine how you would have handled that better. You didn't want to have the conversation, and rather than lose your self-control, you kept your self-respect and your control, and left the situation. That seems adult, mature, and effective!

I totally understand your focus on compassion for victims!

But I'm not sure what your ideal outcome would be there?
Is the goal to get the guy to turn himself in?
To feel sorry for what he's done?
Go throw himself off a cliff?
Say that he hasn't changed if he believes he has?
The idea that you could say something to bring him around sort of depends on, the question, bring him around to what? Even here on the boards some people have some caring feelings for their offenders, some hate them with a fiery passion, and some in between. None of that range changes the damage done by the offense, or how wrong it is!

If he had been caught, he would have been labeled a sex offender. Sure. Sort of like someone caught for murder is called a murderer. I think he's wrong. That's pretty much fair.

But it's sort of hard to hold the twin ideas that sex offenders are inhuman and beyond consideration AND that you're going to convince one to join you in that opinion by saying something. I'm not even sure who you could report him to if you didn't have more information than what he said in passing.

I don't know a really good solution to that one. It's a big messy, tangled problem. It also seems to be beyond the scope of your post.

But you definitely ran into a nasty situation, and I think you handled it like a champ!

Edited by Onesimus75 (09/18/13 02:29 PM)
Edit Reason: Didn't, not did....
We are not defined by our faults, or our wounds, but by the truth within us, which nothing can take away.

#447530 - 09/18/13 02:25 PM Re: A Terrible Encounter [Re: Jude]
Rich1967 Offline

Registered: 07/18/13
Posts: 621
Loc: PA

My wife used to say things like how can you say you will never see your stepfather (the guy who abused me) again. He's changed over the years and is a better person now. At what point do I/people forgive someone who has done something wrong and worked hard to change themselves? To be a better person. We all do stuff that's wrong, especially in our teenage and young adult lives, and many learn and grow from these things and become better people for it. Even people who do really bad stuff and go to jail can come out, work really hard, and be accepted/forgiven for their past mistakes. Even go on to promote changes that help stop whatever they went to jail for in the first place. I believe in the ability to change and grow. If I didn't I wouldn't be able to do my own recovery work. I wouldn't be here at MS trying to support others to make positive changes in their lives.

I can't do that for my stepfather or people like him. I just can't. I don't want too either. I can not have compassion for someone who looks at the innocents of a child and sees that child as easy pray for their own sick needs. Can someone like that really change? I don't know and I don't care. There are plenty of other people in this world that can try to have compassion for our abusers. I'm not going to be one of them and I don't think I need to either. I certainly wouldn't expect any victim to as well.

Good job on holding yourself together. I don't know how I would have handled it. I would have felt the same way you did though - just start to cry or fly off the handle in a fit of rage at him.
"Me too"-I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.
My Story

#447531 - 09/18/13 02:29 PM Re: A Terrible Encounter [Re: Jude]
Castle Offline

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 758
He should be labled a sex offender because he is one....and an admitted one.

I wonder more so what the woman is going through and her feeling that the attacker/perpetrator has never been caught or prosecuted.

poor him.

I dont believe in or would ever consider the 12 step process so no real advice...I couldnt sit in the room and have compassion for him or others whom offended.

Edited by Castle (09/18/13 02:33 PM)

#447532 - 09/18/13 02:31 PM Re: A Terrible Encounter [Re: Jude]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3789
I believe you handled appropriately--I do not know if I could have refrained from asking--do you realize how you may have destroyed the life of your victim? Has she had any peace since that day? Great you got away with it but she will live with it for a lifetime.

Too often people empathize with the abuser--I have heard people feel sorry for priests--their mother made them become a priest or they went into the seminary too young--hogwash--you encountered an abuser who tried to justify the outcome--for himself and not the victim.

You handled the situation admirably but hearing what he said made me angry--reminded me of what people have said to me about my abuse. I was able to pull myself back and realize it is not I who is damaged but rather those who believe there is any justification for acts against a child or adult. I see the damage in the individual you encountered.

Thank you for sharing.

#447544 - 09/18/13 04:45 PM Re: A Terrible Encounter [Re: Jude]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
Better move on your part for simply leaving. Not only did you protect yourself from more poison, you might have impressed upon him just how loathsome his actions were.

Fuck whatever change he's supposedly made in his life. There has to be some due process and reparations to his victim, or else he's self-justifying. The fact that he mentioned it at all is a dead giveaway that he was hoping you would validate him and say it wasn't so bad.

In some of my darker moments, I was a drunk driver. Severely drunk driver, semi-frequently. By pure chance and luck I never hurt anybody (always happened in sparsely-inhabited suburbs after 2am). I haven't done that in years and am confident I never will again. So I've changed and improved my life.

But if I'd run somebody over? Well, fuck me, I could just see what personal improvements I could make while in jail. If you commit a crime you are guilty. It is the sign of a true sociopath to have no regard for others nor remorse for what they've done.

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#447715 - 09/20/13 06:47 AM ! [Re: Jude]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline

Registered: 03/26/12
Posts: 2217

Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (03/01/14 02:54 AM)

#447721 - 09/20/13 11:16 AM Re: A Terrible Encounter [Re: Jude]
Jacob S Offline

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 690
Loc: where the shadows lie
You handled it well, Jude. My biggest issue right now is knowing how to handle conflict so I become neither a doormat nor a bully (or as you put it, "Didn't let myself be browbeaten, and didn't let my emotions carry me away").
I am a veteran of the soul wars.


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