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Offenders are not victims

I was recently asked a question about my past that triggered a response I believe relevant to share. A private glimpse into who I chose to become or more importantly who I chose NOT to become. In life we all have choices. We are all taught right from wrong, we all have that gut feeling, that little inner voice and more importantly personal responsibility and accountability.

There has been an incredible amount of public conversations and media reporting around Offenders once being Victim’s themselves. I know first-hand what it means to be a victim and the impact it has had on all areas of my life. Please understand this-just because I was once a victim; this does not give me the right, or the excuse to harm another. I have read many reports on how Offenders are having their prison sentences drastically reduced because of ‘past wrongs’. I have read how Offenders have used their ‘past sufferings’ to blame others for the crimes they have committed. I am sorry but reading this makes me sick to the core, the ‘blame game’ is not acceptable, nor a valid excuse in my view.

My personal story is one of childhood sexual abuse, physical and sexual violence that involved torture for all the world to see. The sexual crimes committed against me as a child and young adult lasted 19 years. The emotional abuse and control for 28 years. The child and teenage images still present within the ‘Child Pornography World’ as I write this now.

I knew pain from a very young age, I did not understand why the pain was focused on my private parts. I did not understand why I was the only one in my family that had a secret, but I understood if I shared this secret my mother and my sister would be killed. I did not understand why my mother would send me away or why my Grandparents wanted me to live with them, but I understood how free I felt when my Grandparents took care of me. I did not understand why I was locked in a cage if I screamed, but I understood it was best not to scream. I did not understand was I was never allowed to cry, but I understood what the punishment would be if I did. I never understood why I was not allowed to play at a friend’s house, but I knew how cold an unfired bullet felt pressed against my face. I never understood how anyone could hurt an animal, but I understood why an animal shook with fear.

Throughout my childhood one question always overtook any others-a question that still clearly rules my mind-why would any human being want to make another person suffer in the way that I did? Why would anyone ever choice to hurt an innocent child, an innocent victim? The pain I suffered, the abuse I experienced was at times overwhelming, but I knew I would NEVER inflict this pain upon anyone.

I chose to survive, I chose to fight against every moment that was stolen from me. I have worked my whole life to recover from my past, at times I still fight. Like all victims, I have my moment’s. I use these moments as a reminder that I did survive. Yes, I am a victim of my past but like all victims that have survived I have chosen not to harm or hurt another. An Offender has a choice. An Offender, just like any other human being, any other member of Society has something called ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘person accountability’.

So please the next time you read or hear the words ‘an offender was once a victim’ take a moment to remember all the victims who chose not to offend, who chose not to repeat the cycle of violence and/or abuse they once suffered. Please take a moment to remember those victims who no longer live to tell their stories; whose families must continue their lives without them. Try and tell the parents or the family of a child who was murdered, raped or sexually abused their offender did not have a choice. That the offender’s violence resulted from the ‘wrong doings’ of their past. An Offender does NOT have the right to play the blame game. The blame stops with the Offender!!

Written anonymously for the Victim’s protection