Thursday, October 05, 2006

On Foley

From one psychotherapist:

. . . while Hastert et al. are not legally mandated to report child sexual abuse, that they could know--or reasonably suspect such an egregious violation was happening in their place of work--and not take steps to protect the victims is remarkable. That they didn't feel a moral mandate their consciences wouldn't allow them to ignore and impel them to intervene speaks volumes about their priorities and their motivations, as well as their fears.

Were I the parent or a loved one of one the pages, I would feel outraged and betrayed. Being a citizen who demands that my leaders step into their humanity and beyond self-interested politics when an issue as serious as this begs for it, I feel outraged and betrayed, yet not surprised. And, I'd be writing these same words were it a Democrat who allegedly perpetrated this abuse. Our children's safety and well-being are not the stuff of a political match. Ever.

Let's get some child abuse facts straight.

Child sexual abuse (and sexual abuse in general) usually has nothing to do with sex, but with power and control.

Child sexual abuse takes many forms and is not just about touch and penetration. You don't have to be in the same room with a child to sexually abuse him or her. Whether it is cyber, verbal or physical, it's serious and should be taken seriously. You can't possibly pretend to know how an email exchange from an older, more powerful adult will impact each kid.

Adolescents, even if on the cusp of stepping into their sexual selves or if already there, can be profoundly psychologically impacted by sexual abuse. Same with adults.

Child sexual abuse cuts across all strata of the population.

Having said that, studies show that men sexually abuse children more then women and most child sexual abuse is perpetrated by straight, not gay, men.

The majority of child sexual abuse happens not by the stranger on the street your mother tells you not to talk to, but by someone you know--a trusted family member, a neighbor, a congressman down the hall.

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