Unchecked power a black mark on society
I am writing to speak on behalf of the victims of childhood sexual abuse. Having been sexually abused as a young boy at Boy Scout camp, I know the shame, distrust, aloneness and powerlessness that I have felt because of this.
The disturbing abuse at Penn State made me realize that the shame that kept it so hidden and bound in myself, that kept me from speaking, is what enables abusers to go undetected. Abuse thrives in secrecy. The healing of abuse begins with the speaking of the truth of it. I feel it is important for those of us who have been wounded by this to speak out, in order to heal ourselves, to encourage and support other victims to speak out and for the benefit of future generations of children. Let us put the shame back where it belongs and is needed on the abuser and the institutions which have enabled this abuse to occur and to continue undetected.
Sexual abuse of children is a common reality in our society and it is time we put an end to it. Organizations such as the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America and Penn State have chosen the welfare of the organization over the welfare of the children. They have chosen to protect themselves rather than to protect the children they are there to serve.
This is not just hypocritical, but corrupting to the organizations themselves and further traumatizing to the victims. Regarding the Boy Scouts I would urge them to appoint an independent investigator with the power, money and scope to do a thorough investigation of child sexual abuse in the organization, to open its records of sexual abuse to the public and to issue a public apology to the victims of abuse that it has enabled to occur through silence, denial, cover-up and secrecy.
If we truly want to put an end to this scourge, it begins with truth and accountability not damage control, and it ultimately comes from the heart and soul, not good lawyers and public relations people. It would do the Boy Scout leadership well to re-read its own oath and laws and to find in themselves the same moral courage, honesty and trustworthiness it asks of its own scouts.
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