My chat with a paedophile and the box full of gold
Yesterday, I had a chat with a paedophile. Todd is open about his "sexual orientation". In fact, he has published his story on youtube, various websites, and social media. Being an abused child himself, Todd admits to have sexual attraction to children, but never acting on those urges. I am neither a psychotherapist nor an expert in human sexuality. I approached Todd because he said something that resonated with me and what I am trying to achieve with my forthcoming monograph "Race, Power and Restorative Justice: The dialogue we never had". Todd said: "Before judging me harshly, would you be willing to listen? Please, be understanding and supportive. It’s really all we ask of you. Treat us like people with a massive handicap that we must overcome, not as monsters. If we are going to make it in the world without offending, we need your help. Listening to me was a start". And yes, there are many more "Todds" out there who want to work with us!
Recently, I have come to conclude that the reasons behind our criminal justice system's failings boil down to two fundamental issues. First, its functionality as a 'sausage machine' manufactured to 'process' individuals without paying attention to their individuality. Secondly, its vary nature as a top down structure of managing power and enforcing a concealed control over us. This power has become so pervasive that has mutated to a "regime of truth". A regime that very few get to question.
But the message I want to send is one of hope. This time, I embarked on my new writing adventure not to criticise restorativisits or criminal justice practitioners. I am writing in the hope of unravelling the truth for myself and for all those who deny to live in the matrix that has blinded us all. My hope was founded in what Foucault eloquently calls "bio-power", the organic power founded within us. My grandmother spoke about this power in a different way. She told me a parable. " A beggar had been sitting by the side of a road for over 30 years. One day, a stranger walked by. 'Spare some change?', mumbled the beggar. 'I have nothing to give you', said the stranger. Then, he asked: 'What is that you are sitting on?' The beggar replied: 'Nothing! Just an old box. I've been sitting on it for as long as I can remember'! 'Ever looked inside?', the stranger asked. "No! What is the point, there is nothing in there?', said the beggar. "Have a look inside' insisted the stranger. The beggar open the lid. With astonishment and disbelief he saw that the box was full of gold. I am that stranger. My grandmother said to me. I have nothing to give you and who is telling you to look inside. Not inside any box, but inside yourself. 'But I am not a beggar' I said to my grandma. 'Those who have not found the power within are beggars' my grandma wisely said.
The "regime of truth" that is failing our every sense and experience of justice is pervasive, but not perpetual. It is as corruptive as we allow it to be. And the awakening is within grasp. We are sitting on it!