While travelling to work this week , I found my self listening to the news report that Ariel Castro, an American man, who last month was sentenced to life in prison for the sexual abuse and torture of the young women for over a decade had killed himself in prison.
This came as no surprise, as anyone who has studied criminal psychology would understand that this type of offence is all about control. Consequently having control took away from him in prison, Ariel Castro used the only control left to him and took his own life.
What did come as a bit of a revelation was the interview that followed the report with an American therapist who had worked with survivors of abuse in high profile cases such as Jaycee Lee Dugard, a woman who was rescued after spending more than 18 years in captivity.
The therapist reflected that the death of Castro may increase the fear in his victims , as it is sometimes the case that those who survive this type abuse may have strong religious convictions and fear that they will meet their tormentor in the afterlife.
I took me a little time to absorb this information, the reason for this is that having an existential position,- I believe that life is finite , when I die I will become 'stardust'(well at the very least dust ) , you see for me there is no after life , so no possibility of meeting anyone.
I then began to wonder if most therapists would consider the death of an abuser a relief to a client , after all when dead they cannot come back , no possibility of bumping in to them no chance of them ever coming in to contact.
One of the realisations that I have come to over the years is that those who have a faith position may have a complex and nuanced relationship with their god and the prescribed teachings of their faith, for some clients there maybe no clear dichotomy between heaven and hell.
The lesson I have learned from this is that we have to careful not to fall in to the trap of assuming that if the abuser dies so does the fear of meeting them again, and that as therapists we have to connect with clients realities even if they are very far from our own .
Because sometimes there are times when fear won't die.
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