[[Another in an occasional series of republishing some of my old USENET essays (in this case, someone reminded me about this as I'd forgotten it). Sadly, its even more relevant now than it was back in 1992, particularly when you think of the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State. Some attitudes never change]]
They Said/They Said
Creeps in Society
Dealing with Anonymous and/or Abusive Comments
Last week, a former Catholic priest admitted to a reporter that he had raped between 50 and 100 children in Massachusetts churches in the early '60s. This week, a local minister goes to court, accused of raping three exchange students living in his house. We, as a society, have a terrible time dealing with child abuse, especially child sexual abuse. We may admit that sexually-warped characters exist in the seamy underside of society, among the poor, the drug abusers and the prostitutes. But when accused sexual abusers are among the "pillars" of society, among the clergy, doctors, police, and educators, people become apoplectic. The accusation of sexual abuse, especially when the accused is a "good man," forces most into absolute denial of the issue. As a society, we have to be willing to listen when our children or our friends tell us that they are being abused. We have to support the people bringing the allegations, and, when the allegations are proven in court, we must be willing to sentence the perpetrators to long jail terms and to develop programs that attempt to rehabilitate them.
We must all do what we can to stop the attitudes that promote sexual abuse. These attitudes include:
- the idea that people own one another. A husband does not own his wife, parents do not own their children, and youth leaders do not own the children in their care.
- the "blame the victim" mentality. Children do not seduce adults, and a woman in a miniskirt is not an invitation to a rape.
- the "if I want sex, I'll get it" mentality. Sex should be an act between consenting adults, not a power play between individuals, one of whom may be too young or too scared to resist.
- the "pillar of society" trap. In a community's haste to "be fair to" the accused, the victim is often ridiculed, harassed, and blamed for the situation