I choose love


Its been a while since I’ve blogged. Ive felt my voice as been a bit lost recently. However sometimes things need to be said.

To be clear, before we begin, this blog post is not addressing the issue of abortion laws changing in northern Ireland. It is a massively controversial topic. One that my own opinions on have changed massively over the years and one that is highly personal to each individual based on personal circumstance.

What I want to address is a topic that I feel is being over looked in the midst of campaigning for or against law changes.

The topic I want to write about, is loving the living.

A few years ago there was a highly published case of the death of a baby boy. This baby had been abused and then killed in a horrific way by those who where supposed to be protecting him. Understandably there was public outcry. Demands for the death penalty to be brought back for those who could commit such horrific crimes.

This child was not the first and is far from the last to go through such circumstances. There is always an outcry and blame assigned to parents, family, social works, schools, police etc every time these cases come to our attention. However there are thousands of children who face this treatment every day, but they don’t die, they live with it, day in, day out, unnoticed.

These children have public sympathy and support when they hit our news papers but often in society they are the kids not invited to parties. They might be the kid thats always late for school. The kid whose hygiene isn’t quite up to scratch. The kid whose homework isn’t in on time or the kid who is messing in class, (because they’ve missed so much they cant keep up and want to distract from not understanding). How often do we criticize that child? That family? Do we call by and ask if they can cope? Or do we exclude those kids from parties, activities and ask for them to be moved away from our kids?

This child thats been forced to live on the outskirts of society already within primary school life, will then look to places they fit in or feel safe. Its been proven that children as young as 6 become involved in gangs, passing drugs from one person to another, initially unaware of their involvement. They then begin to feel part of something. Unfortunately people involved in dealing drugs then often become users. Now if you where going home every day to abuse and neglect, possibly always going hungry and someone offered you a substance that made that all easier to deal with, its going to be very hard to say no.

Addiction takes hold very quickly in these situations and with addiction brings crime. To afford these drugs, or this lifestyle this kid (probably now mid teens) is forced to steal. After a while this kid gets caught, goes to youth offenders, gets a bit of support but when they are released they are straight back into the same cycle. As with all issues in society today there is not enough funding or support to meet the real needs. It is worth noting that with good rehabilitation programmes, appropriate housing and job opportunities reoffending drops dramatically.

At this point the public who would cry out for the child as a baby, begin to write this child off. We hear the words how can someone so young be so ‘bad’.

When we are so quick to call for tougher prison sentences, to push kids out of our schools and judge parents who are struggling and doing the best they can. Remember this is who you marched to support not just the cute cuddly upper class children who are seen and not heard and when you argue that life beings at conception remember that a baby grows into an adult and your support needs to last to adulthood!

Of course this isn’t the same path for everyone and I am not defending committing crime in any way. I believe in the justice system and even more the rehabilitation. I am also not saying that these are the children who are aborted or ever should be. This is simply an example of what so many turn a blind eye to and society’s hypocrisy. The point I’m coming to is that this is a path very easily avoided.

You see I feel, and its only my opinion. That if we stopped spending our energy walking the streets with banners stating our opinions, (any opinion)and we went into our communities and found the families with no choice and what sometimes, in the pressure and struggle can feel like no life and we helped tackle their real issues we would have a far greater impact.

How can we honestly stand in SILENCE demanding children be born in any circumstance when we should be screaming from the top of government buildings that thousands of children on our doorsteps are starving, struggling, abused and neglected.

How can we force a woman to give birth knowing that her abusive partner will beat her and her child to death within a year? Is that life? would you judge her or would you help her?

We need to be less concerned with what is right or wrong in such small circumstances and we need to look at the bigger picture. We need to tackle poverty, abuse, rape, homelessness, mental heath, prison rates, rehabilitation. If we worked together to tackle these issues then we might see less women forced to make the most difficult decisions and we might also be more compassionate in the circumstances when they do.

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