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December 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm #153520Anonymous
Having been sexually abused by my father, I had to deal with the feelings of revenge versus justice. One of the best things that I did was to separate the actions from the individual. I also realized that my father was abused sexually as a child and also was dealing with having fought in WWII. This affected him a lot as he did see some horrific stuff, and even participated in some horrific stuff, during the war. War teaches soldiers to dehumanize others and I believe that my father was having trouble moving away from dehumanizing people.
At any rate, when one seeks revenge, it is for themselves only whereas, when one seeks justice, it is for more than themselves.
There were many times that I wanted to just go up to my father and humiliate him for what he did to me. There was a time, through the worst of the recovery period, that I wanted to buy a gun and kill him. I didn’t because I realized that that was revenge and I was not seeking revenge. A part of me could still see the human part of my father. Kind of like what Luke said, “I can feel the good in him”. My father was a good man but he did some bad things. But, he was a good man and I recognized that fact in him.
The one thing that I set out to do was to confront him about the abuse. One may think that confronting him was only for myself but it was, also, for him. It gave him an opportunity to get that heavy burden off of his chest and talk about what happened with me. After confronting him, he did apologize in his own way. Yes, it was not like he said, “I am so sorry”. It was his actions that counted. He helped me out when I needed money and he no longer made sexual comments in front of me. He really listened to me when I told him how he hurt me. In the end, though, he couldn’t deal with what he had done and the remnants of WWII. He committed suicide at the age of 84.
The other thing that I had to do was to protect my sister from him. After my mother died, he was going to be awarded custody of my 16 year old sister. That was prime abuse age for my dad and I didn’t want my sister to go through that. So I had to do something. I called the police in PA, since I was living in MN at the time, and told them about what happened. They contacted child protection who called me and I had to repeat the whole story again. They investigated and put my sister in the custody of my Aunt. I was very careful, though, in making sure that I did not do it for revenge. Once my sister was safe, I dropped the subject. It was shortly after that when I confronted my father about the abuse and he apologized.
So, for me, it is who you are doing it for. Is it for your own satisfaction? Are you getting back at the person just to make you feel good? Or is if for the benefit of others? It really makes a difference as to whether it is revenge or justice.January 17, 2010 at 6:20 am #153737Magdelene NashiraParticipant
Thanks for posting that A.R. DuBaie. I appreciate how hard it must be for you to talk about and I really get a lot out of this example. I agree with what you and others have said about justice being more unselfish when compared to revenge. Yet I think there must be some aspect about justice that is for the wronged one too. Maybe it’s just the idea that the issue gets taken care of. It’s not just left out there in limbo and forgotten about. It seems to me like it’s a way that the wronged one can feel a sense of the universe’s disapproval and condemnation of the action rather than feel like it’s just been let go and thus leaving the wronged one with the feeling that the universe approves because no negative consequences happened to the one who did the wrong.February 17, 2010 at 10:14 pm #154179Anonymous
To me, justice and revenge are just points of view to different people. Look at justice in war, or in any other form for that matter, from a pasicifist’s point of view. The pasicifist would think that justice, even in the correct context is wrong.
I always had trouble with a certain family member who was addicted to narcotics. I would always try to guide her in the right direction through monitering what she was doing, where she was, and by spending time with her. In spite of all my attempts to help, she always had problems with doctors and the police, and as of yet, is still addicted.
I recall the phrase “it takes two hands to clap” when I think about things like this. My point being is that sometimes it is best to leave things alone and simply let it be.
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