The CEO of The First Step Program in St Kilda wrote a powerful commentary on their Facebook page. We have reproduced it here as its a strong message about drug addiction, homelessness and child sexual abuse victims.
Read it here….
There was a really down-to-earth article in @theageaustralia by @jeweltopsfieldjournalist about the Gatwick Hotel in St Kilda, former ‘shit-hole’ and the object of this season of The Block (see link ).
When the average person contemplates addiction and homelessness, a question usually comes to mind, spoken or unspoken: “Why do people keep doing this to themselves?” And if you can’t answer that question to your own satisfaction, the unavoidable conclusion is that ‘these people’ are somehow inferior. These are harsh words, but we’ve witnessed this attitude time and time again in the popular press and from the mouths of regular citizens. When you see a homeless person, unkempt, panhandling, intoxicated, most people are going to have a viceral reaction not unlike disgust. Our natural empathic tendencies are short-circuited by the confronting visuals in front of us.
But, what if we instinctively saw, almost by magic, the child that preceded the adult. The homeless 7 year old, the children that we have heard so much about from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Hard-core addiction does not appear out of thin air; it is almost always the long-term and painful response to childhood trauma.
At what point do the victims of childhood sexual abuse no longer deserve society’s very best efforts to comfort, support and empower them? Is it when they leave school? Is it when they turn 18? Is it when they have children of their own?
Everyone in our community benefits when we help the most vulnerable. Just think of the frightened, wounded and helpless child next time you’re feeling a bit judgey (and go easy on yourself because we all need reminding sometimes). Patrick Lawrence (CEO) First Step