Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
The idea that an adult found guilty of sexually assaulting a child is capable of rehabilitation is hard for many people to accept. The mother of one offender saw the challenges faced by her son, and established a haven in a Florida trailer park. There, those emerging from a prison system famously rough on their kind might live cheaply and help one another re-enter the world. To date, we are told, not one of them has reoffended. Swedish-Danish filmmaking couple Frida and Lasse Barkfors’ documentary gives voice to a handful of the residents. The disparity in offence among those who’ve been deemed akin by the justice system is startling. A student entrapped by an internet invitation to underage sex from an undercover cop takes his therapy alongside a guilt-wracked woman who has repeatedly abused her own child. Her tormented admission of the harm she has inflicted – and has had inflicted upon her – is surely worth attending to. It’s a searing rejoinder to an entrenched mindset that’s strong on condemnation, but rarely harkens to copious evidence that the abused often become abusers – and might benefit from some attention before they offend.