Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Rape, life, love

We label people by their worst acts.

We declare a person to BE a Rapist
[this doesn't just apply to rape of course - you can add any other labels here]

When a line is crossed, within whatever social/moral/ethical standards we define, a person becomes the label. Their entire value as a human is reduced to the label.


Now here's where I'm treading on thin ice.

Firstly, I think any form of violation towards a person, be it physical, emotional, whatever, is wrong. It comes from a place of uncontrolled ego, lack of respect, compassion and empathy etc, but mostly a lack of love. Whatever the reason it's unjustifiable.

But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about how we define someone who has committed that sort of violation. We no longer accept them as someone who has done something really bad, but are willing to love them through it and help them confront the issue and the root causes. They have become the act - someone who has raped becomes a "rapist". They are no longer a complex human full of hurt, pain, desire, emotions, all shaped by a lifetime of experiences, upbringing, social context etc. They have simply become a rapist (or paedophile etc), no longer a person of any worth or value, they are now exclusively defined by their crime. They have become an object of hatred - a focal point of evil.

With all the respect, compassion and empathy due to victims of abuse/violation in any form, to take away someone's intrinsic humanity and replace it with a label that becomes a life sentence - a slow death fuelled by other people's need for revenge, justice, retribution, disgust and hatred - makes us no better than the abuser.

I'm also not talking about the impact on the victim, or the need to perhaps remove an abuser from society to keep others safe. This is all about perception and the value of every single life, no matter who they are or what they've done.

Do you know why forgiveness and love are constantly regarded as the most powerful things we can bring to this world? Because they are the only things that bring real change. You want to change a rapist? Love them, after all, the only reason they rape is because they don't understand love. If we demonstrate love in deep practical and powerful ways we will see it bring change. If we demonstrate revenge, hatred, and remove a person's humanity, we bring death. Unfortunately, many victims actually want that, and I can genuinely understand that! I know many victims who have deep lifelong scars from abuse. But that still doesn't change the fact that love brings life, and every single human being deserves life.

Stop the labels
Stop spreading hate
It takes effort, a lot of effort, to live loved. It's the "narrow road".
It takes no effort to condemn someone to death.
It takes a lot of effort to exercise concern, empathy.
It takes no effort to judge and demand retribution.

Again, to ALL victims of abuse of any form - I get it, I really do, the affect is devastating and deep. But what are we going to do about it? How are we going to bring life to EVERYONE out of pain of abuse - not just the victim.

"Live loved" = not just an empty platitude!