Acknowledgement of wrongdoing is critical factor…

Gladys is right. The focus on Adams in the child abuse story is utterly misplaced (if understandable):

The programme also detailed attempts over the years by Gerry Adams, and later by Fr Aidan Troy, to arrange a face-to-face meeting between Tyrell and Liam Adams. Although Tyrell ultimately felt let down by Gerry Adams and insulted by Fr Troy, her eagerness for a meeting was bound up with her wish for her father to admit – to her – what he had done. Watching the programme, I could almost imagine that she wouldn’t have come forward publicly now, and pursue a legal case, if she had had the chance to confront her father, and to hear him admit his deeds.

The need that many victims of abuse feel for acknowledgement of what has happened to them is well understood by scholars in this area and by the victims themselves. Aine Tyrell’s story throws this issue up in stark relief.

There is something very important wrapped up in this concept of acknowledgement. In effect it is a cornerstone of criminal justice system. It tells the victim that redemption is possible (in the most secular sense of the term). That there is light at the end of a very long and very dark tunnel.

Aine Tyrell tried to get it through a man (whomever he might have been) who could never have reasonably provided it to her: ie, her abuser’s brother. It is the remove of the system that serves a useful purpose. The question remains, is that system suitable for purpose.

  • Alias

    The criminal justice system has nothing to with promoting reconciliation between victim and victimizer. She is perhaps confusing people who had a relationship that ended as a result of a crime with people who had no relationship prior to the crime.

    Did Aine want reconciliation or did she want justice? Reporting the matter to the RUC/PSNI would suggest that she wanted justice. She didn’t seek justice through her uncle since he could only facilitate reconciliation, having no means (sans his kangaroo courts) to administer justice.

    Her uncle, however, could have helped her get justice if he supported her when the police did not, seeking instead to recruit her as an informer. He chose not to use position as a senior politician to support her, but why did the police acted with such disregard for her when all it would have taken to blow that into a scandal was for this senior politician to condemn them for how they reacted to her complaint? Perhaps because they knew that Gerry Adams did not support her?

    At any rate, it is Gerry Adams who has declared that would have a case to answer if he knew that his brother was a paedophile and yet did nothing about it, so let him answer it.

  • Only Asking

    Clonard youth centre said it had proof that the check had been requested and carried out – clearing Mr Adams to work with its members.
    The pre Employment Consultancy service (PECS) form it has retained clearly shows a stamp stating that it was received by the RUC and signed on behalf of the police. It is also signed by a representative of social services.

    At any rate, it is Gerry Adams who has declared that would have a case to answer if he knew that his brother was a paedophile and yet did nothing about it, so let him answer it.

    Why is the focus on the abusers brother and not on systemic failure of statutory agencies?

  • Framer

    I would guess that the pre-employment check (PECS) related to convictions for child molesting not allegations untested in court. This was the case with the Soham nurderer.

  • Alias

    “Why is the focus on the abusers brother and not on systemic failure of statutory agencies?”- Only Asking

    Because everyone has an agenda?

    For example: “…she wouldn’t have come forward publicly now, and pursue a legal case, if she had had the chance to confront her father, and to hear him admit his deeds.”

    This is from a lecturer in Reconciliation Studies in Belfast, so the agenda is to suggest that reconciliation is an acceptable substitute for justice. This counters the claim made by victims of Shinner violence in NI that there can be no reconciliation without justice. Since there will be no justice (amnesties, blind eyes, dirty deals, early release, and all that) the aim to suggest that the victims can be reconciled with the victimizer without that which the state has no intention of providing, i.e. justice.

    But I wouldn’t worry about Gerry so much. His position as leader of the Shinners for as long as the security services consider him to be an asset to the British state.

  • Alias

    Typo: “His position as leader of the Shinners [i]is secure[/i] for as long as the security services consider him to be an asset to the British state.”

  • Alias

    Reconciliation, incidentally, being some process where the members of the murder gangs talk about their crimes to the victims of them, and where everybody sees everybody else as a victim… and then they all get along grand after that.

  • There’s another child abuse justice story in the local news:

    Ex-church elder ‘too ill for jail’

  • Paddy

    The victim who has come forward (we know child molesters are serial offenders) was let down by her own father and then by her big mouthed, sinister uncle. These are the type of people children are supposed to go for protection. Then Adams tells us his own father, a revered Republican, also raped kids and that no sanction was put on him.

    Adams and his cronies like to go on about no hierarchy of victims. here they spin that the IRA affiliated rapists are also victims. No they are not. They are perpetrators, spawn of the drinking clubs, dole queues, snooker clubs and back street alleys of PIRA West/North Belfast, people who continue to plummet new moral depths.

  • Previously I suggested that acknowledgement of victims’ suffering is a necessary part of personal healing (and even healthy for the wider society). This is not the same thing as saying that ‘reconciliation is an acceptable substitute for justice’. (Alias)

    Clinical judicial processes can be grossly inadequate in meeting victims’ desire for acknowledgement. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Acknowledgement and ‘justice’ can complement each other.

  • Alias

    Justice is the state’s ‘acknowledgement’ that a wrong has been done, delivering a punishment to the wrongdoer that is commensurate with the wrong done.

    What you suggested is that the ‘acknowledgement’ can occur without justice, thereby removing the victim’s need for justice. In this example, Aine’s actions clearly demonstrate that she seeks justice as they have done from the outset, so you projected your own agenda into Aine’s mind.

    By what process exactly do you think a paedophile can be reconciled with his victim? The relationship between father and daughter ends at that point, however painful the loss of the father is to the child. To suggest, as you did, that this ‘acknowledgement’ of a wrong done can come outside of the courts and that is can act as an acceptable substitute for justice is bizarre. It promotes the agenda by which you earn your living.

    This ‘acknowledgement’ of wrongdoing is all that the victimizers in NI will be required to offer to their victims as a part of the proposed reconciliation process (with Truth and Justice part expediently deleted), and it is proposed that it should be offered in a context where everybody is regarded as a victim with victimizer demanding that the victim ‘acknowledge’ the wrongdoing that was supposedly done to him by this non-existent ‘accused’ called society.

    What makes this charade particularly grotesque is that is obfuscates this imaginary collective with the real individuals who have suffered great injustices and who have received no justice at all from the state, forcing them to assume responsibility for their own victim status by assuming responsibility for the crimes of others via this repugnant concept of collective guilt.

    Individuals want justice, and they want it via the criminal justice system. That is the only acceptable format in which the acknowledgement of wrongdoing that they need and that they can be delivered to them. To attempt to give them acknowledgement without justice is a further injustice upon them, and nothing more than a cheap con trick.

  • Alias

    Typo: “That is the only acceptable format in which the acknowledgement of wrongdoing that they need and that they [i]are entitled to[/i] can be delivered to them.”

  • Alias

    The con-trick is essentially this: “Justice is about delivering a victims’ need for an acknowledgment of a wrong done to him or her. This acknowledgment can be delivered to a victim outside of the criminal justice system.”

    That deliberately deletes the part where justice delivers a punishment to the victimizer, and it is that punishment that is the actual delivery of acknowledgment of a wrong done to the victim with the severity of it being directly related to the severity of the wrong that was done.

  • Rory Carr

    “By what process exactly do you think a paedophile can be reconciled with his victim? The relationship between father and daughter ends at that point, however painful the loss of the father is to the child…”

    Well no actually, Alias, I am afraid that it is not quite so simple as that. The real difficulty is that the emotional relationship does not end but rather continues in fear, hurt, confusion and guilt; yes guilt on the part of the abused. There is no point or indeed any good can come of spluttering, “But she shouldn’t be feeling guilt, he’s the guilty party!”

    “Shoulds” just don’t cut the mustard here when what is required is an honest recognition of the true feelings of the abused party and time and space allowed for her to openly express such feelings with another trusted human soul who can help them grow to reconciliation and recovery.

    The final step of that recovery comes when the victim eventually heals to the point where she can understand and even forgive her abuser. Not very politically correct I know but the experience of healed victims time and time again.

    Time, I think, for the self righteous lynch mob members to go home and leave these painful matters in the hands of those who really care and who have real experience of helping those abused towards recovery.