RANGER AGAINST WAR: Big Boys Don't Cry <

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Big Boys Don't Cry

--Maria Datsykova

Thou shall not kill
Thou shall not steal

Thou shall not take the Lord's name in vain

Thou shall not cause thy children pain

--The Eleventh Commandment,

Collin Raye


Little child, looking so pretty
Come out and play, I'll be your daddy
Innocent child, looking so sweet
I'll rape your mind and on your flesh I'll eat
-- Daddy
, Korn


The sexual abuse and exploitation of children
is one of the most vicious crimes conceivable,
a violation of mankind's most basic duty
to protect the innocent
--David Walsh


Children are the world's most valuable resource

and it's best hope for the future

--John F. Kennedy


But Jesus said, Suffer little children,

and forbid them not, to come unto me:

for of such is the kingdom of heaven

--Matthew 19:14

__________________

I know four men who were sexually assaulted when they were young.

Four, and I do not that many people intimately. I am not a counselor, nor have I ever solicited such information; how could one? Yet it is true: four men have confided in me of their abuse at the hands of relatives, headmasters or other trusted adults. Their response varies from melancholy and confusion to fury. Some have married, some never will. For each, it is a heavy burden.


It is unforgivable to break the innocence and trust of a young person via sexual exploitation
-- to my mind, it is one of the highest moral offenses (ignoring the criminal aspect.)
We all get to feel the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune soon enough, but sexual exploitation corrodes straight through to the core of a young person's identity. It can never be set aright, though one can hope -- if the victim is fortunate enough and resilient enough -- that the accretion of a lifetime of compassion may help eventuate some measure of healing.


In my limited experience with these four, they are the more sensitive and thoughtful among us; probably, they were the more trusting. All the more pity their abuse.


Poseur "Bishop" Eddie Long -- self-proclaimed imperfect man and accused child molester -- is back in the news last week after taking a sabbatical from his post at the mega church Atlanta New Birth Missionary Baptist after his wife (who held a position at New Birth via "divine ordination") filed for divorce. Apparently the divination decree did not extend to her marriage vows.

People like Mr. Long cannot earn a seat hot enough in hell, IMHO. Long, married father of four, settled in a non-disclosure agreement in May with five young men who accused him of sexual coercion, and though "[d]etails of the settlement were to be kept secret, people with knowledge of the case have put it at
several million dollars paid over a period of years".

One can only be re-born so many times. A suggestion for Bishop Long's next incarnation (if not an incarceration based on new embezzlement charges) would be as a Gospel Clown, doing a perpetual atonement schtick before any ministry willing to listen to such a fraud. Not very funny, but one thing Long is eminently qualified to do.

Equally vile is the unfolding case of Ex-Penn State coach
Jerry Sandusky and the now dozens of sexual abuse charges he faces. Many of the young men Sandusky is accused of assaulting were predated upon over a period of years and were procured via his Charity, the Second Mile. Complicit in the tragedy are police, university administration, probably Sandusky's wife, and many others.

How can this happen? Surely some of all of these people subscribe to a religion and presumably believe in the protection of the flock, no? Some say in the case Sandusky, it is a cabal of secrecy which surrounds profitable athletic programs. For those in the employ of the church, they have a ready-made cover.


But really, the issue is power.
Children have no voice, and especially children of need. Layered upon that is guilt, and a sense of shame and culpability, and you have victims who nicely feed into the cabal. Shame may be one of bedrock human emotions, one not easily extinguished.

Oh that the perpetrators were able to access their own sense of shame, and minister to it accordingly, as only an adult is able to do. Until they do, the repercussions of violence and assault eddy outward. And we continue to feign naive shock when we hear of the latest shipwreck as we plod on the endless march of stupidity, cruelty and idiocy that is the worst of what we call a life.

If we cannot extinguish cruelty in a personal transaction, we will not be able to halt it on a more universal level. Thinking of the multifold abuses that occur in the silence of the church, one wonders if religion enables poor behavior by facilitating or accommodating our primate nature. Through the Confessional, indulgences, prayers and baptisms, one gets a sort of endless mulligan.

But what if there were no do-overs, and one could only sit in the welter of whatever it is they thought was a good decision at the time? What if one did not have recourse to some kind of divine or cosmic forgiveness, and one was stuck with the reality of his actions and the repercussions upon those whom he acted. Might that change our impetuous, self-gratifying nature? Is conscience capable of rising to the fore for the average person? Not as long as social institutions hand out free passes for feeble excuses called the School of Life.


Unless one is dealing with a true psychopath, it is usually not hard to find the genesis of aberrant behavior. The Sandusky's and Long's of the world are probably not
ex nihilo.

  • More than five children die every day as a result of child abuse.2
  • It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. 3
  • More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way. 4
  • Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. 5
  • Almost 500,000 episodes of child sexual molestation are reported annually in the U.S.
  • 14% of all men in prison in the USA were abused as children. 7
  • 36% of all women in prison were abused as children. 7

(U.S. Statistics from ChildHelp.org)

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8 Comments:

Anonymous CholoAzul said...

Tip of the iceberg.

How can this happen? Even the partial psychopaths among us need power over others, and children remain among the most powerless segment of any society.
Just as Willie Sutton knew where the money was, these grotesques know where the victims are.

Women and minorities have moved into stronger positions than they held in the previous centuries, but children are all too perfect victims.

Let me repeat, tip of the iceberg, not isolated incidents.

Monday, December 12, 2011 at 4:36:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Lisa,
the song lead in for this essay should be- THE WALLS OF RED WING by Dylan.
jim

Monday, December 12, 2011 at 10:03:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Cholo,

Yes, merest tip. Like the stats say, ~ 500,000 incidents reported each year IN THE U.S.

We see the big names b/c it's a good news story to see them fall. We never read about the avalanche of seedy nobodies who torment their offspring (and animals and significant others) if not to death, than to the brink and back. It is the cat and mouse game.

Sure, when they finally off the victim in some spectacular way -- like popping them in a microwave, or if the perp happens to be a person of some minor importance, then it might get a sideboard mention in the paper.

The world is full of Lisa Steinbergs and her surviving mother, such as she was. I am certain that this unending cruelty is part of what adds to our misery here on this planet.

Monday, December 12, 2011 at 11:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

I'm not sure if this is a "social" problem, Lisa; I suspect that, in fact, child molesters and abusers have as much or better a chance of being caught and prosecuted here in the U.S. circa 2011 than they have throughout much of history.

In fact, for MUCH of history kids were subjected to all this and worse; think about Roman slaves, or black slaves in this country. You couldn't even "rape" a slave any more than you could rape a thermos bottle - it was your property, after all, right?

So this is bad, it's probably worse than we know...but on an absolute scale of human suffering it may not be as bad as it COULD be...

Now, that said, there's a hell of a lot more we could do to make it better, beginning with the expectation that someone who 'fesses up, or, worse, gets caught doing these crimes really understands the nature of "repentence" and expecting them to actually, y'know, sacrifice their comfort and ease by way of atonment.

Right now saying "I'm sorry" and rolling on seems to be OK.

It shouldn't be. When you do something like this it should mean that realizing the magnitude of your crime results in changing your whole life...and any less would bring you utter shame and loathing from everyone who knows you.

A person guilty of these crimes would be expected to...say, give away their worldly goods to spend the next year or decade or lifetime nursing the poor or building outhouses in Appalachia or in a monastery under a vow of silence or SOMETHING.

Something serious, something genuinely penitential.

If there's one thing I will accuse our culture of it has been our willingness to accept a facile apology in lieu of something showing genuine sorrow and willingness to atone.

But...would anyone ever really do that?

People really are bastard-covered bastards with bastard filling.

Monday, December 12, 2011 at 9:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

Yes, it is not a social problem per se, it is a human problem. Objectification, sneakiness and exploitation are nasty human tendencies that span the racial, gender, species, socio-economic and national divide.

More for me is our motto, and the rubes or fools are just asking for it. Everyone's ready to lend a hand at the excuse-making -- the behaviorists and sociologists are ready to tell us how marriage is outmoded and incest is a hard-wired desire, etc., etc. I am quite sick of reading all of the esteemed specialists, for if we fancy ourselves to be more than brutes, we don't need excuses, we just need to exert some self-control.

No one gives us dignity and to be human is not ennobling in itself, but we may earn it by dint of our choices and efforts to protect the least of us and stop gratifying the worst of us.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 3:37:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

An aside:

I just read a great study on compassion in the lowly rat A New Model of Empathy: The Rat.

It seems that rats will free their fellows from a sort of bullet motel existence, even if they do not derive benefit of a playmate in the springing, AND, they will leave them a few chocolate chip morsels to . . . help salve their privations?

I understand this is not a commensurate study of rat sexual exploitation, but still, there seems to be an impulse to do good. Unless we've passed some undoable involution, we can always hope to maximize our better impulses, subduing our greedier, appetitive drives.

Holy moley, if a rat can do it ...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 12:32:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous CholoAzul said...

@Lisa

In the study Token Reinforcement in Chimpanzees (Wolfe 1936), primates (who are considered by some researchers to be our low tech distant cousins),were taught to perform labor in order to acquire poker chips as money, with which they could buy food, water, dessert, and treats.

Unexpected collateral outcome, the bigger chimpanzees began to beat up the weaker ones and take their 'money'.

Since the superordinate behavior could not be easily linked to social ills such as uneven distribution of wealth or too much television, the study quickly fell out of favor among the lab coated primates.

I'm of the belief that problems are better served if we admit to their causes, and the short answer is that we aren't born with rat traits, we are born with primate ones.
And it seems that a large percentage of the human race doesn't work very hard to outgrow them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 9:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Cholo,

I am a fan of animal behaviorists. That is a classic, and it seems we are more vicious chimp than chip-sharing rat. I think I conflated my love of James Cagney with our field of presidential candidates and allowed myself to be willingly confused for a moment . . .

Yes, our primate legacy holds all that we call "aberrant":

Matricide infanticide, cannibalism, infidelity, incest . . . we have a clear template. As for the bible and every other overlay implying our nobility? Well, it's pretty to think so.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 10:01:00 AM GMT-5  

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