Received this from a prominent writer/theologian:
“Punishment of perpetrators has never worked and will never work. Answers? First is education. I suspect that confronting ignorance is the place to begin. At Wheaton one of the first classes I took was in early childhood growth and development. I put away punishment in child rearing forever. My kids have done very well. There must be massive public awareness of the problem of childhood abuse. Our entire society must be made aware that child abuse is unacceptable in a truly great nation and world society. Those of us who are truly offended by child abuse should lead with kindness and love, not punishment and rejection. I suspect abusers were probably abused. Kind and loving education is our best bet to change patterns and to introduce new ways of doing things.
When abuse is related to mental illness, treatment makes the most sense. Punishment is not an option.”
Hmmm. Laura is not quite on the same page. It’s both/and.
Incarcerating perpetrators keeps their hands off children. It’s less about punishment and more about safety – from my perspective. I’m not sure educating my genius dad, whether psychologically or scholastically would have had any impact as an adult. The recidivism rates even in teenage offenders is massive, despite counseling.
In little ones? – sure. It’s what ACES is all about. Taking children, when we know they’ve been abused and helping them ‘reset’ the brain is far more effective – IF you know they’ve been abused. 2/3rd’s of kids, don’t tell. It’s the nature of this ugly beast.
There is no corporal punishment in our house. Our system was one of earning. Worked pretty well too, with my children and grandchildren. But educating/counseling my dad wouldn’t have kept him from harming my children. Stopping him from seeing them insured their safety.
In a perfect world, leading with training, love, kindness on a clean slate would be heaven. But, this train has already left the station. For the one in three women, whose abusers remain at large abusing others, education/counseling won’t cut it. Protecting their children from these same people will matter more. Both/and.
I respect those who are willing to work with perpetrators. We need them. It’s not a job I will do. Gifts differing. I’ll be busy rebuilding the shattered lives of men, women and children harmed by offenders.