The Law and Order Referendum

and other related issues in New Zealand


Commonsense in the Listener

In a letter to the editor from someone who knows what they are talking about... .

The Listener website is here.

"It is of little surprise to me that horrific murders such as those committed by Paul Dally and Taffy Hotene ("In Harms Way", March 17) continue to occur. As soon as a gruesome crime is discovered, the public view seems to be that the offender must be mentally ill.

There is considerable public sympathy for mental illness, but it is high time more effort was put into differentiating between those with genuine psychiatric illnesses and those whose behaviour is pure evil - nothing more, nothing less.

Only those who are incapable of forming the intention to harm another human being should be excused the legal penalty for their behaviour. The psychotic should be held in forensic prisons, and those like Dally - if they show no remorse - should never be let out.

I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse. A victim of physical abuse. A victim of rape. I was married to an abusive partner. None of these circumstances would excuse me from the responsibility for my crime if I were to vent my rage on some other innocent child - or adult, for that matter. The abuse I have survived has made me more determined than ever to make the world a better place.

I object strongly to being grouped along with the likes of Taffy Hotene, who in a previous Listener article was described as having a personality disorder. There is a vast difference between experiencing mental suffering from abuse deliberately inflicted and being "personality disordered". Yet psychiatry frequently describes the victim and the perpetrator as having the same condition.

"Personality disorders are psychobabble."

I do not assault, rape, sexually abuse or murder. If I did, I would expect to be locked up - in jail if I was sane; in a forensic institution if I was insane. Personality disorders are pure nonsense that the public has swallowed hook, line and sinker. Personality disorders are psychobabble. Psychiatrists, when given the choice, refer such people to someone else.

Legally they do not have to treat those with personality disorders. That is why the Lake Alice nurse had to blow the whistle so loudly; such individuals had to be released back into the community because legally they were not considered insane.

A vast proportion of the prison population is said to be suffering from "personality disorders". Really? Twelve good folk and true didn't buy it and found them guilty, not ill.

"The vast majority of abused children do not go on to abuse others."

No one has yet found a cure for these so-called personality disordered individuals, so why is the label still being touted? The vast majority of abused children do not go on to abuse others. I have no sympathy for those who do. Help is available for those who have been victimised. They have a choice. Of all people on this Earth, they know what it is like to be ill-treated. If they want to join the ranks of the perpetrators, let them pay a hefty penalty. Let the rest of us live in peace and safety."

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