This past week’s news of scandal begs for the stories within the storyboard we’ve heard nauseatingly often. The deeply covered violence against our children reared its ugly head on a major stage again. First, it’s priests. Then, it’s teachers. Now, it’s the coach of a popular college football team. For every one of those boys violated, there is a story that dogs them through their lives. It colors every decision, creates a petrie dish for self-loathing, and hinders their ability to love and trust.
I didn’t understand how this could happen during the expose of the Catholic Church and I don’t understand why a college would turn its back to protect a coac h. We’re not talking about some minor transgression. It is a major criminal offense and every time we hear of the abuse, it’s time to put a face on it.
Years ago, when I worked in school support services, there were rumors about a substitute teacher who had a long history of groping his female students. Everyone knew about it and nobody did a thing. Didn’t want to go through the rigmarole. Let someone else handle it. He should have been backlisted from the get go.
He filled in for my daughter’s social studies class when she was in middle school and became his latest victim. She told one of the teaching staff who immediately brought it to the attention of the administration. They made sure he was arrested and kept out of classrooms. It was an ordeal for my daughter. She had to give a police statement and answer intimidating questions but her identity was kept secret and what she took away from it, is that what happened was wrong, it wasn’t minimized and she was supported by the authorities that are supposed to take care of her—family, school personnel, and the police.
Every child deserves that. We must be vigilant in protecting our kids, trust them, and keep them safe. But, it never should have happened. He should have been stopped in his tracks years earlier.
Charges of sexual harassment are rarely fabricated. It is embarrassing, it puts job security in peril and increases discomfort in the workplace. We went through grit of Anita Hill’s charges against Clarence Thomas so many years ago and again it’s rearing its ugly head with Herman Cain. Because prurient interest trumps any other news article, we keep hearing about it because what we do in campaigns is assail the character of the candidate. Believe me, I’m no fan of Herman Cain. But I’ve heard enough.
I know people find these kinds of stories more interesting than debate about deficit reduction but if we’re going to beat it to death in the news the least we can do is use it. Make sure that if we’re wary of something going on in our families and communities.
Be aware We must ensure the safety of all our children. If we are wary of something going on in our families and communities, intercede. Let the overly friendly uncle or the inapropriately touchy clergy, know to cut it out. Or else.
We can sense harmful from the harmless and the benefit of the doubt should be reserved for the child.