The below is true. This is an observational piece based upon my own experience. There is no academic value to what I have written other than it is an experience. I can only speak to what happens in the women’s estate (HMP) and female offenders.
The research shows that by the time we reach the age of four, we know the difference between right and wrong.
Unlike many of the people involved in this field, not only did I experience, over a considerable period of time, physical and psychological abuse, I have campaigned in this field for nearly 20 years and I also spent 8 months in prison with women who had also been abused as children. Some sexually, some through deprivation and neglect. 8 months living with people is entirely different to a two hour interview with a psychiatrist or therapist or having one as a mate. You get to see the real person. Only recently it was identified that 63 % of women in prison had been in care at some point in childhood. That equates to there having been at least some abuse both at home and whilst in the care of the local authority, who are not fit for purpose as a surrogate. There are no figures I can rely upon that give a true figure of how many women inside have been abused. From my own personal experience, I know it is significant.
I recently met with people in authority regarding an ongoing investigation. Part of what was discussed was the way in which a “victim” of abuse is treated by the police and CJS. I questioned why it was that, despite all the evidence within the CJS that these victims can also be offenders, that every word that came out of their mouths was believed to the point that any investigation was skewed in favour of supporting the allegation rather than to establish the veracity of the allegation. I won’t repeat what was said. I will however say that there was acceptance that things have now gone awry. This, in part, is because of the current hysteria around child abuse exacerbated by main stream media and many on social media. The recent death of Janner being a prime example, with some on social media stating he is not dead and it’s a “cover up” and others believing he has been murdered by the sate, again as part of a “cover up” – sadly, because untreated victims of child abuse are recorded to have significant mental health problems, these ridiculous claims feed the paranoia and delusions leading to further lurid claims that are pure fantasy. The victims of child abuse making the victims of child abuse even more mentally ill than they already are. This “belief set” again reinforces their allegations to the police, the delusions very quickly become a truth, one given with such sincerity that it sounds believable.
Probation, the courts, lawyers, social workers, youth workers, prison officers, police officers etc, will all have their own stories about the abuse excuse. The abuse excuse is the “mitigation” bought into a significant amount of cases that are bought to trial. The defendant, typically, albeit not exclusively, will have had a background that is text book child abuse. Sexual, physical, neglect, deprivation. All factors that are known to lead to criminality. Many victims rely upon these factors to “excuse” their behaviour.
I am not a statistician. Common sense however shows that there should be far more criminals versus the amount of alleged abuse victims. So a significant proportion of child abuse victims never get on the wrong side of the law. I am not an expert, so I won’t comment any further as to why that is. I wanted to put it out there as something for people to think about.
I met some truly wonderful people inside. Women who had taken the wrong path in life, mostly through bad childhoods. They were good women who had done a bad thing. Made a mistake. I have kept in touch with them, they did not repeat that mistake. They know the difference between right and wrong. They also understand the consequences of the wrongs. Even inside they were decent humans, always helping others out, always on hand if somebody had a problem. Kind, compassionate and above all sorry for what they had done. Their crimes were mostly drug related and did not involve harming other people.
Then there were the “others”. Who were not like that. Same backgrounds, but entirely different. They did not care who or what they hurt as long as they got what they wanted. They chose to do bad things.
Snowy was her nick name. Snowy is just one example of what I saw and experienced. There are too many Snowy’s for me to write about, (scary eh) without boring people to death.
Snowy was my “celly” not for long, but long enough. Snowy was a crack addict she had been bought up in care, allegedly sexually abused by her mother’s various boyfriends. Snowy took great joy in hurting people. Her specific crimes were always against vulnerable elderly people whom she would either mug or burglarise. Snowy’s particular bent was to terrorise them into handing over money. Snowy also liked hurting animals as was demonstrated when she captured a baby rabbit, cornered it and then started to throw big stones at it. She thought it was funny, so did her entourage, the same entourage she was dealing to inside. Snowy knew it was wrong, she told me she knew it was wrong, after I had saved the rabbit and got her out of sight of everyone to “question” her. She laughed at me, calling me a “pussy” that it was just a “fucking rabbit” and she was “bored” and any way she “could do what she wanted”. I can honestly say that this is the closest I have ever come to beating the shit out of somebody, I didn’t though, some people need to be locked up away from society. So I turned her in when I found the drugs. Snowy was a liar, she was an abuser, she was a thief, she was a danger to anyone who was vulnerable and there was nothing she would not do to get the money for her drugs. Nothing.
So this “abuse” victim, who cried “I was abused as a child” at every given opportunity to mitigate herself out of being held responsible for her actions, is a monster. A monster who would do anything for money to feed her habit. Yet in the current climate, Snowy would be taken seriously, despite the evidence showing that she was highly manipulative, even worse, Snowy’s background would be the “proof” that she had been abused. Nobody would dare to suggest that Snowy was lying to get compensation to feed her habit. None of her past would become public until a trial, way to late for the defendant. Snowy had the “abuse excuse”. The ultimate get out jail free card, the card to get compensation, the card to wreak revenge on anyone she believes had transgressed against her. The card the engendered sympathy and special treatment.
Just because you have suffered abuse as a child, does not mean that you won’t be a bad person too. Being a victim of child abuse is not an exclusive phenomena. It in fact means you are more likely to manipulate people, more likely to engage in criminal activity. Yet when it comes to making allegations of child sexual abuse, none of this is assessed in the initial investigations. The abuse excuse out trumps everything. It blinds people, they become polarised, it horrifies them to the extent that they do not want to challenge the alleged victim for fear that they too will be seen as an abuser. They do want to add insult to injury. It is inherent in our nature to want to protect the vulnerable. And some victims exploit that.
If every child protection police officer spent just a month in prison. Lived with the “victims” of child abuse. Saw what they did, what they are capable of. The “abuse excuse” would lose its power.
Victims of abuse are not a separate entity. Their rights should not supersede the rights of others it is morally reprehensible for the CJS to have been so easily swayed into a belief system that has been born out of hysteria and political point scoring, rather than based on common sense and overwhelming research proving that in fact, the victims of child abuse, based on probability, as adults, are more likely to lie than the person who has had the stable upbringing.
For the record, I am not accusing all victims of abuse of being liars. I am saying that there is evidence based research higher chance of them lying and manipulating people. I have witnessed it. Experienced it. Watched it happening. Been a victim of it.