A letter to my Member of Parliament sent earlier today...
April 7, 2010
Dear **** M.P.
Dear Sir: Re: Graham James Pardon
Yesterday, I became aware that my wife contacted your office to express her shock, and disappointment that a man such as the above mentioned, Graham James, could receive a “Pardon” for his crimes. In so doing, she disclosed to you, with my full support and agreement, my status as a male sexual assault survivor.
Not unlike the high profile cases of Sheldon Kennedy, and Theo Fleury, I too have gone through hell to get to the point where I can even write this letter. If you had asked me three years ago if I would be writing this letter, divulging my status to a stranger, let alone anyone else, the answer would have been an unequivocal “no!” My wife, two sons and I are working very, very hard to try and overcome the damage that was done to me, and as a result, to them also. Sexual assault and sexual abuse is like a cancerous web. It’s connected, perhaps circuitously, to everything. And over the years of secrecy, shame, and guilt inflicted upon us as male victims, it grows and grows in size. In examining my life, its frequently hard to see any aspect of it that hasn’t in some way, shape or form been affected, tainted or otherwise influenced by what happened to me at the hands of a paedophile now 40 years ago.
I’m sure you are inundated right now with letters, and emails, all voicing their outrage at the “Pardon” received by Graham James. Please add my name to the list. I realize that you can do little about it now though. The horse is out of the barn so to speak. But, now that the horse is out of the barn, I need to ask you how you think the men who have been affected by Graham James, the named and the un-named, must be feeling? As a male survivor myself, I think I am qualified to suggest how they are feeling.
Right now, they are probably wondering just what in blazes has happened. Wondering why, having laid charges, gone to court, been forced to recount the most horrific abuses in painful detail, in public, acknowledging their vulnerability as men, this has all gone to hell in a hand-basket. For now it would appear that the man who committed these crimes is once again, not only free to roam this country, possibly looking for his next victim, he can now travel more easily and change his name to stay hidden from public scrutiny. Not only within Canada, but to countries that don’t know about him, or have fewer safeguards with which to keep their children safe. They are wondering why they went through all of the pain they have experienced in starting their healing, and exercising their legal options if, in the end, it does not effect some real change.
I would suggest further that these courageous men are probably feeling like they are being victimized again. That like when they were boys, they are powerless, and unable to stop what for survivors, seems like perpetual re-victimization. Once again, their sexual histories are broadcast across the nation, not as survivors, but as victims of a system that couldn’t even consult them prior to a decision being made about whether the accused and convicted man in this case deserved a “Pardon”.
Health Canada suggests that 1 in 6 males in this country will be sexually abused or assaulted by the time they are 18. 16 % of the male population. Assuming for the sake of argument that ******* has 75,000 people, half being male, that’s approximately 6,000 males in our community who have been sexually victimized. 6,000 men. And where do they go for assistance and help when they decide to retake control of their lives, and stop being victims? If your best male friend came to you and said that he was sexually abused, would you know where to send him for help? We are most fortunate that in ********, the ******* Sexual Assault Centre does provide services to men. Sadly, some sexual assault centres do not, for men are seen primarily as perpetrators. For many in this country still subscribe to the myth “if men cannot be victims, how can victims be men?”
What I am asking you to examine when reviewing the issue of Graham James, is not only the injustice being inflicted upon the victims of Graham James in the granting of the “Pardon” but also the plight of male sexual assault and abuse survivors in general across this country. As my wife pointed out in her letter, the effects of sexual abuse and assault on males affect not only those immediately involved, but also others who are emotionally attached to the survivor. Wives, sons, daughters, parents, grandparents, lovers. The list is endless.
Clearly, the system we have right now needs to be fixed so that in administering justice, the people most affected by crime, are not in fact re-victimized.
Should you wish any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be most willing to sit down with you face to face, to address this issue at greater length. Thank you for your time in this matter.
Jim ****** B.S.W. R.S.W
Male Sexual Abuse Survivor
Volunteer Website Moderator www.malesurvivor.org