Monday, November 5, 2012

Child abuse so rampant that it seems almost normal

Why is it that the institutions that one would think are deserving of our trust - are not? It is not the weird old man, or whatever, down the street that abuses children- it is a family member, the priest, the nun, the religious home, the hospital, the university, the Boy Scouts, etc.

But while religion often seems to be the common denominator, cases like Jimmy Savile in the UK reminds us that celebrity also hides the child abuser. Hiding in plain sight - that was Jimmy Saville - knighted by the Queen and the Pope. [Wikipedia].

The Saville story is one of some not looking the other way and failures of the UK legal system. It seems fair to state that his celebrity provided him a shield against prosecution. [See the Guardian UK page and Wikipedia's Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal].

But, it is clear that the conditions under which children labored in this county in the 1800s and early 1900s and that alleged of China are nothing compared to the abuse, physical and sexual, that occurs under the watch of these institutions.

Money as a rationale for child labor:
"There is work that profits children, and there is work that brings profit only to employers. The object of employing children is not to train them, but to get high profits from their work." [Lewis Hine, 1908].
Religion as a rationale for child abuse:
"Today, virtually anyone can claim a list of religious ideals, take in children and subject them to punishment and isolation that verge on torture — so long as they quote chapter and verse to justify it." [Horrifying investigation into child abuse at unlicensed religious ‘homes’ in Florida]
Of course it isn't fair to lump those with a profit motive in with those that are abusing children for some self-satisfaction. Arguably it is a different kind of abuse - abuse nevertheless.

But it is fair for us to wonder what it is that drives some, including the profit seekers, to use and abuse children? Is it merely because they are vulnerable and unprotected? And why is it that too many look the other way - pretending not to see?

Just how civilized of a society are we?

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