The Fox and Henhouse Problem of Reporting Sex Abuse

fox eyes closeupFrom The Worthy Adversary:

“You see a child being sexually abused and beaten on a street corner. Whom do you call? Answer: The local university, your bishop, your commander or the leader of the closest nonprofit.”

“…why do we act so absurdly when we witness abuse on the Penn State campus, at the local parish, or a college campus? Because we were (wrongly) told and convinced it is the right thing to do.

We need to re-calibrate our thinking: institutions should never be in the sex abuse investigation business. When it comes to crime, our loyalty is to justice and accountability, not institutions.”

“Institutions are corporations FIRST – whether the corporation be the Catholic Church, Penn State, or the Boy Scouts. Victims and the public must understand that the loyalties of the officers of the corporations legally reside with the institution. That is the primary obligation of corporate officers. This is good thing – until it comes to self-policing and sexual abuse. Investigating sexual abuse by an agent of the corporation or by someone over whom the corporation has control is in direct contradiction to this obligation – especially if the results are harmful to the corporation.

Maliciously or not, these corporations have set up internal reporting and investigation systems to protect themselves and remain in business – protecting jobs, innovation and investors.” … Just like the officers of any other corporation faced with a threat, … “Bishops exert great influence over state legislatures and have the instant capability to call lawmakers on their personal cell phones. They use the Bully Pulpit and the flock to try and kill victim-friendly laws, while also spending millions on lobbyists to ensure that victims of abuse are denied access to the courts.” …

Really, you just have to laugh at the logic of abusive organizations still getting away with telling the public that help will come from the organization itself. It gives a whole new meaning to the idea that a priest’s parishioners are his “flock.” But that’s the way so many so-called protective laws are written – the place the victim must start in the process of reporting sex abuse is almost always an arm of the abuser. It’s a problem Aesop would easily have understood 2,000 years ago, but we’ve forgotten and continue to allow this ruse to creep into our civil rights legislation.

I agree wholeheartedly with Joelle – “If you have been abused, or have seen or suspected abuse, call law enforcement, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. Investigate your rights in the civil justice system. Refuse to report to internal review systems in churches, schools and other institutions.”

Read the rest of Joelle’s worthy argument for changing the process for reporting sex abuse to at The Worthy Adversary.

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