Sometimes, spreading a vicious gossip or slander that wounds somebody’s self-esteem is simply unkind and unfair to the victims. Even with the best of intentions, to damage someone’s self esteem is to damage his/her `soul-esteem’. Very often, an `outsider’ i.e. anyone who has not experienced the suffering of social rejection or `destruction of one’s self-respect’ or reputation will not be able to empathize the victim’s situation. Let me recall a police investigation that was callously carried out in Australia several years ago. The intention of the campaign was good- to eradicate child pornography over the internet. But the way it was carried out was indiscreet and damaging to those victims. In this high-profile campaign, the police rounded up about more than a hundred suspects who had downloaded child pornography for investigation before charging them in court. Over the next few days, about five of the alleged suspects resorted to the extreme step of committing suicide over this shameful issue. Why did the men take their lives? Did they take their lives because they were guilty? Or fear of being charged over something that was so terrible and socially unacceptable? Or fear of social rejection? Or they felt that death was preferable to living a life of social contempt? Were those five men 100% guilty of crime against children? Why did they download those pictures of child pornography? What were their intentions of doing so? Were they suffering from various kinds of mental disorders ranging from sexual fantasies to dementia? How guilty would they be in the court of law? To what extent is the society responsible for contributing to this negative mindset of the victims?
The very thought of someone gossiping about you being involved in some form of sexual offences is bad enough; but the thought of being involved with innocent and vulnerable children is much worse. No wonder some of the victims or offenders resort to committing suicide because very few adversities in life are worse than that! The tragedy is that once a person, however innocent he may be, has been tarred with this sexual offence by a gossip, the society, most of the times, chooses to believe in the `truth’ of the gossip. Let us be more careful about condemning someone in our midst by passing the gossips around. Let us look at his life first and let our negative opinions be positively fuzzy and malleable so that we can give him the benefit of doubt! No human being, in his/her normal state of mind, would ruin a child’s life. So even when a person has committed such a crime, no human being is capable of rendering a judgment that is fair and righteous. Please let God who knows everything judge him and write the last chapter of his/her life.
Submitted by Philosaiki