Irate. So unbelievably irate is how I feel about the latest progression in the Graham James saga.
As if a two-year sentence wasn’t a mere slap on the wrist for destroying the lives of so many kids, this child molester has now been granted day parole.
Day. Parole. Because that doesn’t scream we are simply giving this sex offender a wide open chance to re-offend, does it?
“I don’t think I can change attraction, but what I can change is my behaviour,” is what he told the parole board.
Child molesting is not attraction. It is not a sexuality and it is not a lifestyle choice. He is not gay. He is CHOOSING to molest and rape these kids with no regard to consequences of any kind or regard to their feelings and how this ruins their lives. This is not about attractions. This is about a man who continually and without consideration, continues and will continue to re-offend when given opportunities to so. And the parole board has once again given him the opportunity.
Let’s not forget, this is the same National Parole Board who gave this monster a pardon back in 2007, a little detail no one found out until the Canadian Press announced it in 2010. They keep giving this high-profile child molester free tickets to go back into society and re-offend. Don’t start with me about his “rights”. He lost his rights the day he laid hands on someone’s innocent kid. Children are innocent. They don’t ask to be molested or raped or abused and Graham James continually took advantage of his coaching position and that he had this access to children. He served three years in prison and then was given a pardon so he could disappear to Mexico and we have no idea how many kids he victimized down there. Or how many he has victimized here in Canada since.
By continually giving James pardons and day parole, the National Parole Board is re-victimizing not only those who survived his abuse, but every single sex abuse and rape survivor in this country. This tells sexual abuse survivors like myself that we don’t matter to society. That the justice system is content with letting men like him prowl the streets, a predator. That these crimes simply don’t matter to them. That two and three year sentences are perfectly acceptable for these men while marijuana users, who do nothing more than abuse food in the fridge, get longer prison sentences than people like Graham James. Where is the justice?
My heart broke into a million little pieces yesterday when I saw this news. My best friend sent me the CBC link as she knows I have followed this case closely over the years. My heart broke for every survivor and every one still enduring abuse at the hands of monsters like James. The ones who both speak up bravely and stand up, and the ones who suffer in silence. Scared to come forward and days like this it is hard to blame them for that. You cannot tell us to come forward and then humiliate us and treat our horrific ordeal with this joke Canada calls justice. Because humiliating is an understatement.
I never charged my abuser. Sometimes I think I should have but I look at days like this, when I am shaking in absolute rage as I type, when the very headline of a CBC article made me throw my phone down and storm out of the dining room, leaving my husband and our roommate to sit there awkwardly. I pull at my hair and I delve into a rant about James and this continuous embarrassment of our system. How can you expect us to come forward and speak out when we know damn well this is the end result? We know because this, with a high-profile case, is the precedent you have set. The justice system had a prime chance to make an example out of Graham James and prove to sexual abuse survivors and victims in Canada that they care about us and show us that they can put the hammer down to punish these pedophiles. But what do they do?
A few years here and there in prison as victims get brave enough to come forward.
This. This is how the justice system treats a high-profile case. This how they send a message to victims and survivors. This is how they let people like me feel, time and time again as Graham James continues to walk away from his awful crimes. Every. Damn. Time.
Angry doesn’t even begin to cover this. It doesn’t touch on how deeply this hurts everyone who knows what surviving abuse is like. What a slap in the face it is to us. A blatant disrespect of what we have gone through and what we continue to go through.
Because Graham James can walk out of that parole board hearing into his new freedom. He still doesn’t care about the children he hurt and he never ever will. Abusers don’t give a damn about their victims. They will just keep looking for more. He can walk away like nothing ever happened and continue to take advantage of a justice system that gives him that get out of jail free card.
But survivors live with it forever. We don’t get to walk away from what we have been through and just forget about it. It has been well over a decade since my abuser has been gone and I still live with it. I still get absolutely irate at cases like this. The triggers are still prevalent.
I cried last night. For survivors. Those who are still victims. How we keep getting forgotten and pushed aside by this justice system. How the fight to get heard and to get these monsters put away remains a struggle. That there will never be words enough to express how it feels to watch a man who destroyed so many lives embrace a freedom he doesn’t deserve. Wondering how many others suffer in agonizing silence.
Theo Fluery said it best yesterday in a Facebook post: “As I am reading all the comments and articles from the media about today’s decision by the parole board to allow repeated rapist Graham James day parole I am reminded of the phrase you can’t fix stupid.”
And that is just what this continues to be. Stupid. Something we apparently cannot fix in this country when it comes to punishing sex offenders.
The full CBC article can be found here.