Unfortunately in our society today, there is the fall back of “if you don’t see it, hear it, or feel it” it is not there. Citizens just don’t want to get involved, are willing to let someone else do it or just plain feel that it is not their problem.
We have seen in the last few weeks what this kind of citizen inaction brings about - the evil doer continues to roam freely. I am, of course, referring to the sexual abuse case that has finally rocked a great university. The crime got referred up the ladder but stopped there, it appears that even some of those in the legal system were willing to give a level of doubt to the one perpetrating the evil rather than stand up for those in our society that we have great responsibility to protect, the children.
I have not tried to find the grand jury indictment regarding this matter, I would just as soon not know the details. Am I looking away? No, I just saw too many of the details in my 25 years at Family and Children Services.
Sexual abuse of children is usually not at the hand of strangers. It is someone who has some level of power over the child, a person of authority. Children don’t understand what is going on and are afraid to resist or protest.
Even here in Effingham County, we investigated reports that turned out to be things that none of us want to believe ever happens, but it does. These perpetrators can be immediate family, extended family, close friends and neighbors, persons who have these children in their care for various reasons.
I must say that in my tenure at Family and Children Services the reports were made and we had full cooperation from law enforcement and the courts in Effingham to prosecute these cases fully. There were perpetrators who went to jail.
The laws of Georgia require the reporting of any knowledge of abuse of children from a number of mandatory reporters: teachers, social workers, nurses, doctors, etc. Failure to report is a crime that can be prosecuted. From the news it is clear that Pennsylvania has similar reporting laws but apparently the “University folks” did not feel it applied to them. Their law requires reporting to the authorities, that doesn’t mean just up the ladder.
What happens to these children? What impact on the rest of their lives does this type of abuse have? There are those that seem to be able to move on and live their lives without being greatly damaged by it. There are those who never get over it and strangely enough it seems these victims repeat the cycle by becoming a perpetrator themselves. My experience, which is not universal, leads me to believe that when the full force of the law is brought to bear and these children are not left as victims, who caused the abuse to take place, they become survivors with the ability to not let this experience overwhelm them throughout their lives.
The perpetrators play mind games with the children, make them feel guilty, threaten harm to their family or persons important to them. Of course, there is a real place of psychological counseling to help the victims understand what has happened to them.
What should society do with those adults (men and women) who use children for their own personal gratification in such horrific ways? The details of these despicable actions will make you want to kill them.
Unfortunately, we have these evil-doers among us. Their actions are usually not readily seen but if you pay close attention you can see some warning signs. Parents pay attention to the ways in which your child may behave around others. Beware of those adults who always want to have children around them constantly and in places that are not public places.
No, everyone that loves children and will spend time with them is not an abuser. Talk to your child about what they do when they are out of your sight and control. Don’t become paranoid but do pay attention.
There is no adequate punishment for such criminals. Yes, they are criminals. The history of treatment for such criminals is almost without success. But we must try to protect our children and bring these sub-humans to the courts whenever possible. We must pursue legal avenues with those who know and don’t report these despicable actions to law enforcement. The public must know who they are. We all have responsibility when it comes to protecting children.
And remember, you must not look the other way.