I am writing this because I have spent the whole weekend trying to save puppies and dogs from death. These animals did nothing and were tortured and abused and abandoned and it weighed heavy on my heart. So I began thinking today, what is wrong with our society? They showed some statistics that anyone who tortures animals, pets, 78% go on to abuse children and hurt others. I have met clients who tortured animals and it hits a nerve with me, most are angry teenagers or are suffering from mental illness and started abusing animals when they were young.
If you actually can fathom it, they actually take the life out of a living, breathing animal. There was a dog that was shot in both eyes by a neighbor who didn't like the dog in the yard, there was a shot dog, cold and scared and hungry at a church and the congregation was told to stay away or "get rid of" that dog, The preacher didn't suggest any compassion and need for rescue for the scared pup. A preacher!! can you believe it!! Several puppies beaten up and the list goes on and on. That's only animals, now how about human babies being beaten and bruised or even killed, small and helpless and writhing in pain as they lay dying.
As counselors we hear horror stories of abuse against our clients. Even adult survivors are broken down to tears as they remember the abuse. I have one client who did not want to explore her childhood, there are many years she doesn't remember and she said she doesn't want to remember because she's afraid it was bad abuse and doesn't want to remember that because she's happy with her life now and is afraid she will "lose it" if she tries to remember what happened to her in her childhood. What happened to her could be the reason she has the troubles she has now but won't explore and I need to respect her "client self determination."
Where is the empathy in these abusers? What makes them able to take a life from an animal or a human being? From all the psychology in the world and explanations people try to come up with, nothing will satisfy me, I cannot comprehend it. Not to say I can't work with this population. I've worked with teenage sex-offenders who were mostly all abused as children or babies. I treated them with empathy and compassion but I never could quite understand how someone could hurt another person or animal.
It is my hope that in reading this everyone learns to let their clients know it is NOT ok to hurt animals or humans or themselves, and if they do something is wrong and disturbing and needs to be explored. Never ignore it because it's painful to hear about. Let them know it needs to be talked about and explored, if they don't want to talk about it, let them know that you do and you believe it is related to the feelings and behaviors they are exhibiting now and to heal they must talk about it.
Kimberly Beck is a counselor and a doctoral candidate with a special interest in Self-injury. Other interests are PTSD, trauma, and Borderline personality disorder