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Ever since my third ketamine session I've been having a lot of dreams about Chris, my ex who died back in 2011 under unfortunate circumstances. My brain is finally processing trauma and grief in a better situation than I was in back then, and that more than anything else has been what's been helpful about ketamine.

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It ties into a lot of other stuff that's been frustrating and which I don't want to talk about publicly, though, because it's a situation with nuance but where the Internet Not Take Machine will willfully misinterpret it in the worst possible way.

The short version of it is that people, in general, are really awful about how they react to allegations of child abuse, and that is so easily weaponized in ways that both ruins the lives of people who aren't child abusers, fails to allow for rehabilitation, and ends up not actually helping victims (past, present, and future) of CSA.

There are no easy fixes but the current timbre of conversation around it certainly isn't helping matters at all.

There's two particularly pernicious things:

• Abusers who realize that they have caused damage and absolutely didn't want to and very much want to stop are unable to get the help and support they need to heal (preventing future, worse issues)
• Anyone who is wrongfully accused gets completely isolated from their support network and people who have weaponized the language of the abused end up using it to commit further abuse

The second case is especially awful, but the first case is also a problem too. Abusers are human beings as well. Completely destroying their life isn't going to undo the damage that they did, and it makes people who know they have a problem afraid to seek help, because the culture around it makes them immediate, absolute, irredeemable villains. Even if they've never committed an act and just want help to prevent themselves from doing so in the future.

CSA mention 

Chris was an amazing, loving person who had so much to give to the world. Unfortunately he also had a penchant for sexual images of children. As far as I know he never acted on it, but he did help to spread some of the images. He had also fallen in with a crowd that were probably committing direct abuses on children; the only support he had for his pedophile tendencies were folks who also had pedophile tendencies, and this likely led to enablement.

Suicide mention 

He was doing this completely without the knowledge of anyone close to him, and when it caught up to him, his life was over, and rather than being able to get help he took it upon himself to solve the problem forever, and in doing so he left a hole in the world.

He was not given a chance to help law enforcement to track down the people actually responsible for the original atrocities, either.

I've been talking about this a lot with my therapist recently and she told me that this is an all-too-common situation. She used to work at a community mental health clinic that focused on LGBT folks, and every now and then they'd get a client who wanted help with their paraphilia that they knew was destructive, and she was the only one willing to actually help them out. All of the other therapists were immediately "no way, they're a MONSTER."

Treat people like a monster and they become one.

When I'd first learned Chris had been arrested I started a thread on a private forum about what happened because I was trying to process what had happened. I immediately got a flood of responses from people who insisted that I needed to dump him immediately and never look back, never think about him again. That he was immediately an un-person, regardless of how wonderful he was aside from that one awful flaw.

I've gotten similar responses from other people; several years ago I was in a relationship with a person who had some very borderline tendencies, and the instant I'd talked about this unprocessed trauma I had, she immediately went into the mode of badmouthing him and calling him an abuser and the only reason I could have possibly loved him was because he'd *obviously* manipulated me into it, how DARE I even think of him as human

That relationship didn't last very long.

A big part of why I've carried this horrible trauma with me for so long is because I never had the space to process it, because of this constant message that I can't possibly be allowed to miss this wonderful, sweet person who was so important to me, because one unfortunate circumstance somehow completely negates everything else about him.

It was also impossible for me to talk about what happened to him with mutual friends for these reasons.

If I'd talked about what happened to people who knew him, they'd either not believe me, or they'd attempt to convince me that I simply misunderstood the situation. Or if they did believe me, then it'd become this horrible, awful thing that was Completely Unmentionable and how DARE I tell anyone about what happened, because it's Harming His Legacy™ and Hurting His Community™

The truth became unmentionable and I had nobody to talk to.

Chris was well-known and beloved in the SF bay area furry community. I was a nobody. I saw so many threads of people speculating about me, or making specific proclamations about my motives and character without having ever met me or knowing anything about me or who I was. If I'd said anything publicly about what happened, that would have been much, much worse. The harassment was already bad enough from people demanding to know answers. I couldn't imagine how much worse it'd be if they got them.

I absolutely do not support what he did. I am not a supporter of pedophilia in any way. I cannot justify the actions of people who harm children.

But talking about it requires much more nuance than polarized discourse and immediate torches-and-pitchforks.

Restorative justice does not begin with filling the gallows.

that's meant to be "Internet *Hot Take Machine" in case that wasn't clear, serves me right for writing this thread on an iPhone

@fluffy Punishment is an euphemism for revenge. People don't want to fix things. They want to break something else in return.

@fluffy I was raised in the same spirit too. Thinking people were only ever put in prison for good reasons. It's baked into modern society, much like racism is.

@fluffy What scares me is how many precooked reasons we're given to hate people, and how few for loving them. Also how people who slip up once and harm someone are judged harshly, while those who wantonly do it for decades are applauded.

@claude Yeah this is also a big problem and the punishment response is always extremely disproportionate too, since everyone wants to feel like they're helping to punish the bad guy.

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