Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My thoughts on prison

This isn't the post I intended to write today, but I feel like I need to say this.

When I write about the prison sentence my husband presumably faces (I say presumably because he has yet to be charged or tried), most reactions are along the lines of, “Thank God. It can't happen soon enough.”

I have, however, had a couple of interesting responses, both from men incidentally. The first came from an ex-boyfriend of mine. When I changed my status on Facebook to “single” some time back, he quickly messaged me to see what was up. I told him about my divorce in progress, and also about the domestic violence charges and the child pornography investigation. His reaction was unexpected. While he expressed sympathy, he also said, regarding the pornography, that “I had my husband over a barrel now and had to offer him some way to save face.”

Excuse me?!

I had him over a barrel? I had to offer him some way to save face?

[As a sidenote, the dynamic of the woman taking responsibility for her partner's emotional well-being is a common dynamic in abusive relationships. The man gets upset over something. The woman is held to blame and punished. The man refuses any accountability. That previous relationship was not abusive, I just found this comparison interesting.]

Anyway, that “friendship” sustained a deep freeze after that conversation.

Lest you be tempted to write this man off as a total clod, he's a tenured microbiology professor. Which just goes to show you that intelligence does not necessarily translate into a healthy perspective.

Lest you think I should never again be allowed to choose my own dates/boyfriends/husbands, I hear you, sister. Let it be known that I've gone through two years of counseling on this very subject, thank you muchly.

The other odd response came when I published my post Falling Through the Cracks of the System. One man,who incidentally lives very nearby, sent me a link to a post that detailed his own devastating experience in prison. I wasn't sure why he sent me the link. Perhaps he thought I lacked compassion for those headed in that direction (no, I wouldn't wish that on anyone). Perhaps he thought that while I was overcome with fear for my family's safety I might find room in my activist's heart to take up the cause of poor prison conditions (wrong again).

Just to set the record straight, here's what I do think.

I think prison is probably a hellish place to be. I've heard horror stories. I imagine that would especially be the case for someone from a white collar background who is imprisoned for crimes against children. The thought of my husband spending 12-15 years in prison is horrifying to me. It's not something I want to think about. However, the thought of him not going to prison is even more horrifying, because as long as he is behind bars, I don't have to fear for my life. I am free.

Given that, whatever his fate, it has nothing to do with me. I'm not part of the equation.

It has only to do with the choices he has made. I would imagine that he has been involved in child pornography all of his adult life. I believe pedophilia and related conditions are a disease, but nonetheless, every time a man sits down at a computer and downloads child porn he is making a choice. He could use that time to seek help. He understands that what he is doing is a crime that contributes to the exploitation of children and, if he has children of his own, that his crime could end up rendering them fatherless. That is a choice that is consciously made over and over and over.

Do I have compassion for people who were abused or sexually molested as children? Absolutely. Does that excuse them when they do the same to others? Never.

Everybody faces pain in their lives. Some more than others. Some face oceans of pain. We have a choice of what to do with that pain. We can turn it outwards against others or we can use it to develop compassion.

People ask me if I am angry at my husband, because I don't appear angry to them. No, I am not. Should I be? Maybe. I have lost so much in this ordeal. Tens of thousands of dollars, my health, my freedom, my innocence. I just don't have the energy for anger. I'm trying to get through each day. Maybe someday I will feel everything I haven't felt thus far. I'm not sure it matters so much to me, as long as I get to the other side. Anger is great, as long as you don't get stuck in it. It can be healing and empowering, but it can also eat away at you. As for my husband, I have no desire for revenge. I just want him out of my life, completely and utterly and forever. I want to be free and I want to be healthy. That's all I want. I will do whatever it takes to achieve that.

* * * * *

Thanks to those who stumbled Falling Through the Cracks of the System. It's enjoyed a bit of a run on Stumble as a result, which hopefully brought it some more exposure. If you want to help keep it going, please feel free to give it a thumbs up. Maybe someone will see it who can do some good. xx

Circle of Moms ends tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for your support. You've been lovely, putting up with my pesky reminders to vote. xoxo

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  1. Everything we do in life comes with consequence. Consequences for our own actions that comes from that choices that we have made. It baffles me to think why anyone would expect you to save face or show compassion for your ex-husband.

    You are amazing K. I just can't stress that enough x

  2. Thank you Holly. xoxo

    It seems so obvious, doesn't it? Yet so many people are eager to hold others responsible for the consequences of their own actions. And then third parties get involved and convolute it even more. And yet it's so simple.

  3. You are such a beautiful person. I feel so blessed to know you, even just through your blog. I don't know what else to add, just that I'm amazed by your resilience and strength. I want very much for you to be free and healthy, too, and I'll be praying for you.

  4. Wow, Claire Marie, so nice to "see" you again. It's been ages. I hope you are well. Thanks for your kind words. x

  5. Kristin, I have so much respect for you. I understood and nodded at everything you have said above.

    Stay strong. Freedom and peace will be yours one day soon. xxx

  6. Thanks Corinne - I have to believe that. I keeps me going.

  7. You have enough to deal with. You need your energy to move ahead in peace with you and your children. Love and light gorgeous, love and light xx

  8. I'm amazed at the gall that your ex had to tell you to save your ex-husband's face. Really? Like you said, it was HIS choice. From what I've read, you have gone through so much, so it is justifiable that you want him in prison. Who wouldn't? Your children's and your life are precious. Like you said, he made a choice. He has to bear the consequences. I do hope things work out for you. xx

  9. "Everybody faces pain in their lives. Some more than others. Some face oceans of pain. We have a choice of what to do with that pain. We can turn it outwards against others or we can use it to develop compassion."

    THAT right there is what makes you awesome. Well awesomer. Or something. xx

  10. The tag speaks volumes "accountability". Raw and honest post - respect. x

  11. A professorship in microbiology doesn't mean the good doctor has advanced emotional initelligence... that is something veru different and not everybody (male or female) develops is. Prison is hellish. And soul destroying. But - and I know this is callous - it is meant to be. It is a punishment. It is the ultimate naughty step. Isolation from society - not just to punish the prisoner but also to protect society. To protect the victims. I think too much is made of how bad our prison systems are and not enough made about the emotional prisons of the victims of crime around the world who never ever have a release date...

  12. Thank you for sharing your inner most feelings.I have been reading your blog for a while now and you have to be the most strongest woman I have read about who has gone through such shit.My father many years ago was charged with the same offences in Australia.Onwards and Upwards to you and your little ones.

  13. I find this a very thought-provoking and extremely responsible way of handling and looking at the whole situation. He has made his choice, and he has got to live with the consequences!
    Thumbs up to you!

  14. One of my sons has been skating a little too close to the wrong side of the law and is terrified of going to prison. I've told him several times - if you don't want to go to jail then don't do the things that will take you there.
    But he's a grown man and I can't make his decisions for him.

  15. Once again, beautifully written. This almost inability to take responsibility for our own actions, seems to me, to be a symptom of something bigger that is broken in our society. Somehow, so many of us have not learned the basic lesson that our actions have consequences. Consequences that we need to be aware of before making choices. Such a simple lesson that seems to have been lost.

  16. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you Kristin and want to just wrap you up and bring you here forever. x

  17. Life is about choices and consequences. We need to own our choices and accept the consequences. No-one can make you do anything you don't want to do and no-one but you is responsible for your emotional well-being.

    Prison may be hell and it might have been hell for my ex, but he put himself there, not me.

    I am envious that you are not angry any more, K. My anger seems to know no bounds....

  18. I am in awe of you Kristin.
    Consequences are everything and so are the choices we make. Your strength and tenacity will get you though this.

    I love this bit too.

    "Everybody faces pain in their lives. Some more than others. Some face oceans of pain. We have a choice of what to do with that pain. We can turn it outwards against others or we can use it to develop compassion.

  19. Just this morning had a chance to read this...sadly in our world today no one wants to be accountable. Everyone wants to have choices, but they don't want to deal w/ repercussions. I think it's one of the greatest things we teach our children....own up to the choices u make (good & bad) & deal w/ the results in a worthwhile manner. KNOW that just as u r affected by others choices, others will be affected by yours!
    Great post, it's good to have a new online friend!!

  20. 1.)Prison is supposed to be bad. If it wasn't bad than people intent on doing bad things wouldn't think twice about doing them. The only compassion I have regarding this is that I'm sure there are people that get out of there that honestly want to change thier lives but the odds are so stacked against them that it is almost impossible.

    2) People who commit crimes against children should always be held accountable and anyone who suggests otherwise has severe issues.

    Your situation is positively surreal. I have no clue how I'd react and I think you are doing awesome. I hope it passes or at least subsides for a while soon.

  21. I completely agree with you. My aunt's husband has just been accused of molesting his daughter and I was shocked at first. While he hasn't been charged yet, I made the statement that if he did it he should be punished as harshly as possible. Some people thought that was a little harsh. But I can completely relate to his daughter on how she is feeling while he is still living his life as a free man.

  22. @ Steve - damn, you always nail it right on the head: "...not enough made about the emotional prisons of the victims of crime around the world who never ever have a release date."

    That, right there, is TRUTH.

    What of the children in those photos and the scars they will bear for life? What of my own children, growing up without a father, feeling abandoned?

  23. @ Agothinthesun - I'm sorry to hear your story. Growing up with a father whose sexual energy is confused like that is damaging, even if he never crossed any physical boundaries with you. As children, we absorb this and it becomes a familiar energy to us, and we're more likely to involve ourselves with similar men again. Take care of yourself, please. xx

  24. @ Styling You - Not a day goes by that I don't think about going. Love you. x

    @ Dorothy - I'm not sure I've escaped the anger. I'm simply numb right now. I'm still in crisis, still in survival mode. You are past your ordeal. Maybe when I get to a safe place I can let down the guard and feel all the emotions I haven't felt, including the anger. It only makes sense it would be there. x

  25. Fuck him! In my social work days I dealt with the victims of child pornography. Double Fuck him!

  26. Fuck him! In my social work days I dealt with the victims of child pornography. Double Fuck him!

  27. Fuck him! In my social work days I dealt with the victims of child pornography. Double Fuck him!

  28. Oh dear - I posted twice - let's see thats two single Fucks and two double Fucks - um - Sextuple Fuck him!

  29. @ Badger, if you add up all the fucks from your four comments you'll come close to the sentence he's likely to receive.

    Really, you dealt with the victims? God. I have posts coming up about that. I am haunted by their faces. Breaks my heart.

  30. @ Raven - you make a good point. If prison was cozy, what kind of deterrent would it be?

  31. Your clarity is awesome. You are in crisis mode yet you are right on point. Stick with those instincts. People need to accept accountability for their actions. If they don't, they will do it again and again. Third parties who jump in and make excuses and/or judge the victims scare me. You are right in acknowledging their input as wrong and shutting the door. You have no room in your life right now for the convoluted ethics of others... you are healing and growing stronger. Stay true to yourself, rockstar!

  32. @ Here's a Gem - hitting the "love" button on your comment.

    General observation - I hate that Blogger doesn't allow us the ability to reply directly underneath another comment. I get hopelessly behind in my replies and then feel dorky leaving a response to someone 10-15 comments down the line.

    I hope everyone knows that I love and appreciate all your comments, whether I have responded personally or not. Thanks so much for your support. xx

  33. Can't believe that message - you have to give him a way to save face? Um, I don't think so.

    I really admire your strength, K. xx

  34. @ Megan - Yeah, I know. Do you think writing about it publicly on the internet qualifies as "saving face"? Didn't think so. Oh well.

  35. Still shaking my head on the "way to save face" bit. How the hell is that YOUR deal?!

    Well-written post. Sorry there was reason to write it.


  36. Gosh! I don't even know what to say. *HUGS* to you.

  37. We all have tone in charge of our own lives, we all know what's wrong and right and if we choose to go against that we have to be prepared to face the consequences.

  38. You are right, he made a choice, he knew it was wrong and that is clear by the way he hid it. Whatever the consequence is, it is *his* consequence for what *he* did. You did nothing.

    And on a sidenote: as of 5/9/09 I had decided that I also should never be in charge of my choices for men to pursue relationships with. I can completely understand that sentiment. (Luckily for me, it all worked out. My dead best friend chose my next relationship and it has worked out rather well, I'd say. As long as we disregard the part where I NEVER would have listened to him if he'd been alive. But those are issues for MY therapist to find a way through :)

  39. It's all choices and consequences. Saving face? He can attempt to do that himself if he so wishes, it's not your responsibility.
    Brilliant post, yet again, Kristin.

  40. @ Draft Queen - maybe I should let my bloggy friends grill my next beau. They can each ask him one question on Twitter. Responses will be posted on Wanderlust along with a thumbs up or thumbs down option. Hmmmm... maybe not.

  41. For every action there is an equal natural reaction ... that’s just the way the universe works ! Therefor everyone is responsible for their own actions and reap their own reactions ... He should have chosen more carefully if he is unprepared for the consequences coming his way

  42. It's incredible really. From when our children are old enough to recognise right from wrong, we teach them about accountability and yet, as adults, there is an astounding voice in the minds of so many people, that continues allow them to justify, minimise and discount their actions as well as laying blame in the hands of those they victimise.
    I have stumbled upon your blog from lori's and I just wanted to say that I have been reading back and find you to truly be an inspiration to all women.
    I am sorry that you are going through this but I am relieved that you realise that the fault or blame does not lay with you.
    You are incredible. never forget that.

  43. Hop'pin by from 'FlogYoBlog Friday'. I'm following your blog now, wont you please come and follow me back?? ~KM

    href="">Krafty Max Originals

  44. I feel like I'm just repeating what everyone else has said but I just have to say it... we all have choices in life - some of us don't make the right choices and so must endure the consequences.
    I'm in awe of your strength. You really are a remarkable woman. You deserve the best in life. xx

  45. @ Andrew - at the very least he should have chosen a wife without a penchant for public blogging.

    @ Krafty Max Originals - Aah, I can tell you're going to visit often and read breathlessly... thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  46. @ Crissy - thanks for your beautiful comment and I'm glad you found my blog. I consider Lori a kindred soul of sorts; we have bonded over our connection in good times as well as our concurrent tragedies. Thank you for your support and encouragement.

    @ Kellie - thank you as well for your kind words and support. You may feel like you are repeating what others have said, but reading comments like yours are uplifting. x

  47. A very thought provoking post. I agree with 100% of everything you stated, with one small, notable exception: You said "he could use that time to seek help." in reference to when he sits down to the computer to engage in the child porn activities. Maybe that is an accurate statement. I don't really know. I wonder though if it is some kind of disease or mental disorder where the person with the problem cannot control impulses. I wonder if it is as easy and as self controlled as being able to just say "I'm not going to do that, instead I am going to go get help." Please understand I am not condoning in any way the actions. However, the actions are beyond my comprehension. I think "what possesses a person to do something so icky as that?". And that makes me wonder if maybe it's beyond a person's ability to control. Do you know? do you care? Here is why I care: if this is about accountability, then society needs to examine the roots of these behavior issues to better understand, and find solutions to minimize or neutralize. I just don't know if locking away a person, if a person has some uncontrollable disorder, is anything more than a band-aid fix. Granted, people with these behavioral issues should not be free, but a pro-active society that is accountable for the failings of its fellow man seeks a path of healing through the power of learning. At least I think so....I know many would label me a "liberal" for my musings here, and I really don't think of myself that way, I am just exploring an unknown... and my intuition says just locking up the bad guys is not going to solve the big problem.

  48. @ Anon - I have to disagree with you. I just can't believe that a person has a disease that "forces" them to exploit and abuse children. The impulse may be beyond their control, but what they do with that impulse is another thing. They make the choice to seek out (or create) illegal pictures of children being sexually abused to satisfy the impulse (which they perhaps have no choice over).

    Prison does not rehabilitate, that is for sure. But honestly, I don't know that these men can be rehabilitated. The recidivism rate, from what I understand, is close to 100%.

    As I said above, I have compassion for the fact that many of these men may have been sexually or otherwise abused themselves as children (maybe, maybe not). But that is not in any way an excuse for perpetuating that abuse.

    I was also sexually abused as a child. I do not abuse children or adults. I made a conscious choice to seek help and heal past wounds.

    There is not conclusive data on what "causes" pedophilia. However, any sexual impulse, whether it be towards children or men or women, does not give anyone the right to exploit others without consequence.

  49. We always have a choice. Giving up addiction is never easy but I believe we can choose to give it up. Just like we can choose to nurture our own children and everyone else's - by taking a stand against the sexualization of children, and preserving their childhood and their innocence.

  50. Well thank you very much for considering my viewpoint without attacking me for putting it out there. I completely agree that these disturbed people need to be "caged" for the safety of society. It makes no sense to let them go free given the stats on repeat offenses.

    I really do not know whether the problem is environmental, genetic, behavioral, or something else. I am curious just because it seems so rampant these days. In the meantime, I agree they must stay caged, but hopefully some learning is going on within the ranks of law enforcement to get a handle on what the root cause is, for the safety of the public.

    And I do understand your thought about "choice" that these people make to act out on the impulse i such a cruel, disturbing way.

  51. @ Anon - I don't mind at all if someone expresses a different viewpoint, as long as it's done respectfully, as you did. There is so much I don't understand about child pornography or pedophilia. I think it must be terribly difficult to harbor an addiction or "impulse" that society finds so repulsive, even if it's never acted upon.

    But I still firmly believe that we do have a choice, at some level, of what to do with the pain we are handed in life. There are some things that society can never fix, in my opinion. We can't control individuals at the level of their thoughts and actions, and we wouldn't want to. We can put all kinds of helpful systems in place, but some people will still end up sociopaths and some people will still choose to manipulate and coerce and harm others.

    That's my 2 cents, anyway. Thanks for expressing your viewpoint.

  52. Hi...something my hubby learned recently in his therapy after being a victim in an armed robbery incident. Anger and fear cannot be present at the same time, it is not possible to have both emotions at once. I thought this may be relevant for you. Take care. x

  53. Kristin, this post of yours, and the subsequent comments are amazing.

    I can only add that I think prison IS terrible, particularly of white collar individuals who haev committed crimes against children. As it should be. I truly believe it SHOULD be terrible, as a deterrant.

    Thinking of you, wishing the maze of pain and confusion would lift for you soon.


  54. @ disydoit - how interesting. That makes a lot of sense intuitively and I assumed that is what was going on, but nice to have that kind of confirmation. I'm a little afraid of what will happen when I do feel safe. I'll probably feel all kinds of anger and grief.

    @ Lucy - thank love. I pray every day that it ends soon. This limbo is hell. xx

  55. Kristin I am truly in awe of you. The way you've handled yourself and protected your kids during this time, I dont know how you've done it. You're amazing. I hope you can move to Australia and visit Adelaide so I can give you a big hug!


  56. Aw, thanks Kellie. I love Adelaide. It's a beautiful little city and the surrounding countryside is gorgeous. I hope to get back there soon and would love to see you if I do. x

  57. I just have to echo Holly. She took the words out of my mouth.
    Actions have concequences, it's not like he did something that he didn't know was wrong. He knew it was wrong, it's why he hid it, and you don't need to be compassionate to people who screw up knowing full well what they're doing is wrong.
    And right now you need to look after you. I get the feeling safe thing, i do.

  58. Hi Kristin,

    I agree with your point about victims of abuse being blamed and held accountable for the actions of their abusers.

    However, I don't think it is limited to a specific gender role (although perhaps, it is more prevalent, in a male abuser - female victim dynamic). From what I have experienced and read it is a pretty universal abuser trait, and society tends to be a bit more biased towards the abusers.

    I wish you and your two children all the best.

  59. @ Trisha - I don't disagree. I was doing an interview today on DV and checked some statistics and I believe they said that 93% of DV abusers are male and 7% female. I would imagine the dynamics in the reversed scenario would be such that men who are abused are often not taken seriously, perhaps even held accountable (not sure). I know little about the social dynamics of that.

    I know when I was at the courthouse after my assault I went through an hour-long presentation with a number of other victims of DV and there were two males present. One was a middle aged man whose wife was mentally ill and physically abusive. The other was a teenage boy whose father beat him.

  60. A timid person is frightened before a danger, a coward during the time, and a courageous person afterwards.

  61. "His reaction was unexpected. While he expressed sympathy, he also said, regarding the pornography, that “I had my husband over a barrel now and had to offer him some way to save face.”

    I take it you've yet to be exposed to the online "Manosphere". If so, you're lucky.

    Its blog after blog written by angry men who think the vast majority of rape cases are buyer's remorse false allegations, and that its common for women trying to divorce their husbands to falsely accuse them of child porn or incest in order to gain custody.

    That comment above by your ex "friend" sounds precisely the kind of thing a Manospherian would say.


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