On July 7, 2007 Richard Kramer posted to BoyChat
Some of you have probably heard of the "Call to Safeguard our Children and our Liberties," a 1999 effort in Boston to fight against the demonization of sex offenders and the curtailment of civil liberties for people accused of sex crimes. The original group included some important peace activists, journalists, and academics.On July 10, 2007 Paul Shannon had his article published on CounterPunch - An Urgent Call to Support the Well-being of Children and the Rights of Us All
In 1999, a group of us in Boston -- prominent political activists, civil libertarians, and workers in the mental health and legal systems, as well as teachers and others who work with children -- tried to draw public attention to this threat with a "Call to Safeguard our Children and Our Liberties."In 1999, a group of us in Boston.........
The lives of many thousands of people have been unfairly ruined. And we have created a despised under-class labeled "sex offenders". All of these developments are justified under the high-sounding rhetoric of "protecting our children from sexual predators" despite the fact that most registered sex offenders have never committed sexual offenses against minors.
On August 13, 2007 Paul Shannon was interviewed by Daniel Tsang (we spoke of Here)
June 29, 1998 Here
Last year, the brutal rape and murder of a young boy in Cambridge triggered a wave of indignation which targeted all 'pedophiles.' Supporters of the death penalty in Massachusetts used this case and almost prevailed. There were calls in public meetings to "find and kill all the pedophiles." Cardinal Bernard Law was quoted a saying, "This is the closest thing I've seen to a lynch mob since my days in Mississippi."December 13, 2002
Cardinal Bernard Law was forced to resign in shame after it was revealed that he had covered up for child molesting priests and in fact had enabled their continued abuse of children by simply shuffling them from parish to parish for decades. Paul Shanley and John Geoghan are two of the priests who molested kids while the Church and Cardinal Law simply looked away.
June 29, 1998
A discussion group of about twenty people formed, hosted unofficially by a non-governmental organization. Participants included women who are incest and sex abuse survivors, boy-lovers, anti-censorship and civil liberties activists, feminists, gay and lesbian people, health-care workers, church activists, peace and social justice activists, academics, and those who work with prisoners.Boston Discussion Group
We have met regularly for six months, sometimes almost as a kind of group therapy or consciousness-raising session, dealing with deep and justified angers and emotions. We continue to hold a wide range of views about children's sexuality and certainly about intergenerational sex.
Dr. Richard Pillard, Cathy Hoffman, Paul Shannon, Chris Tilly and others....
June 7, 1998: BoyChat
A discussion group of about twenty people formed, hosted unofficially by a non-governmental organization. Participants included women who are incest and sex abuse survivors, NAMBLA members, anti-censorship and civil liberties activists, feminists, gay and lesbian people, health-care workers, church activists, peace and social justice activists, academics, and those who work with prisoners.SIGNED:
We have met regularly for six months, sometimes almost as a kind of group therapy or consciousness-raising session, dealing with deep and justified angers and emotions. We continue to hold a wide range of views about children's sexuality and certainly about intergenerational sex
Dr. Richard Pillard, psychiatrist;
Paul Shannon, educator;
Cathy Hoffman, peace activist;
Chris Tilly, economics professor;
Marie Kennedy, community planning professor;
Eric Entemann, mathematics professor;
Tom Reeves, social science professor;
Bob Chatelle, writer & anti-censorship activist;
Jim D'Entremont, playwright and anti-censorship activist;
Ann Kotell, health worker;
Carol Thomas, social justice and religious activist;
French Wall and
Bill Andriette, gay writers and editors;
Nancy Ryan, feminist activist;
Dianne McLaughlin, community & criminal justice activist;
Reebee Garofalo, popular culture professor;
John Miller, economics professor;
Molly Mead, urban social planning professor;
John MacDougall, sociology professor;
Laurie Dougherty, social science researcher & editor;
The real challenge is to support and expand programs for children and youth which develop caring, loving, thoughtful, whole human beings. Among these are day care, after-school care, sex positive sex education, and better training and pay for those who work with children.July 10, 2007
The aim of all these programs should be to empower young people to learn to make their own decisions about their lives. Children and youth need to view themselves not as potential victims, but as part of a community which supports and nurtures them, encouraging them to speak up and act responsibly on their own beliefs.
* Children should be defined as persons under the age of puberty.
* Support broad sex education for children, and empower them to make their own decisions and stand up for their rights
July 10, 2007
Focusing on "saving" children from sexual molestation by strangers distracts us from far more serious forms of violence against children and young people. Most child abuse has nothing to do with sex. It is important to speak out against sexual harm, which has often remained hidden and denied within families and communities. However, non-sexual violence against children is at least as pervasive as sexual violence.Sexual abuse has long remained hidden and denied within families and communities and churches. Define "far more serious abuse"? No one can define someone elses victimization for them. No one should imply that "While sexual abuse is despicable there are indeed things that are much worse in life. Most children do not die or become permanently disfigured as a result" as some people have. For any event we can usually find something somewhere that is worse. To deny the significance of abuse and attempt to minimize the effects on the victim by pointing elsewhere is wrong. It is always wrong.
"Focusing on "saving" children from sexual molestation by strangers distracts us". Focusing on denial and rationalization and minimization and helping child molesters get away with it, seems to be distracting some people from doing anything for anybody except feeding into the cognitive distortions of people who don't feel what they do is wrong nor should they be punished or restricted. The vast majority of sexual abuse is committed by someone known to the victim. This can be anyone from a family member to a teacher or a Boy Scout leader or a Little League coach, a neighbor or a priest.
Perhaps the key to this panic about sex offenders is that they are often assumed to have raped children. That is, "sex offender" is often equated with a violent "pedophile." The term pedophile itself has become a stereotype of a person who violently rapes young children. In fact, the vast majority of persons attracted to children are not violentThe vast majority of pedophiles are rarely physically violent. The destruction is far deeper and longer lasting than physical wounds. It's one of the things that sets sexual abuse apart from other crimes. The fact that they aren't usually violent is how they continue to fly under the radar, through manipulation and grooming of their victims and the victims family but also those in authority who cover up for them.
The offender is a priest. He is friendly, reassuring, comforting, respectful, respectable, professional, knowledgeable, compassionate, caring – a good man. He is in a position of trust, leadership, authority. He targets one or two or 20 victims – male or female, pre or post pubescent or adult. He cultivates the target, preparing her or him: he invites confidences, offers friendship, creates or joins social opportunities. He offers camping trips, dinners, picnics, family visits. When he feels trusted enough he commits the abuses, assaults, violations. He gains silence through smooth talk, explanations, persuasion, threats, promises of harm. He continues the abuse until the victim is no longer accessible or until exposure is threatened or imminent.
His bishop hears of the abuse – in a letter, in whispers, in person, clearly, emphatically, repeatedly. The bishop ignores it. He knows a scandal will erupt if the abuse is revealed. He blames the victim, is in denial, treats it as an aberration, believes treatment is the answer, is blinded by his friendship with the offender, is an offender himself.
The bishop leaves the priest right where he is. Or he moves the priest to a new parish, church, hospital, school, nursing home. And warns no one.
Weeks, months, years later – continuously – the same priest abuses again. And a victim speaks up, asks for help, tells his story. The priest is surprised and wounded that anyone would suspect or accuse him. The bishop says, "He said he never did that." "He promised not to do it again." "He got treatment." The latest victims are stunned to learn that the priest had a known history of abuse and was allowed to harm them. The previous victims are stunned to learn that the priest was given more opportunities to victimize. Weren’t they promised he would be removed from his priestly duties?
Then comes doubt, denial, recrimination, victim blaming. All heads swivel toward the victim. And the questions begin: Why believe his story? Her story? Their stories? After all, the victim was pre-pubescent at the time and has an unreliable memory. The victim was post-pubescent and probably wanted, enjoyed, sought out, provoked the abuse. The victim is male; this must be a homosexual encounter. The victim is female; she seduced him, she wanted it. The victims must want money; they make up these stories to get a piece of the pie. And always: Why did she wait? Why didn’t he tell when it happened? Why now? The victim knows the subtext: "You are a liar. Priests tell the truth."
Diocese after diocese writes check after check for settlements, church spokespeople say the victim was seductive, compliant, unreliable, negligent, complicit, greedy, a liar. Lest we forget: the wrongdoers pay to buy silence or to comply with court orders – not to acknowledge, compensate, apologize or make whole.
And the beat goes on. The institution makes gestures toward new policy, new procedures, new personnel. The victims become exhausted, and finally are silent, in agony over the public dissection of their private torment. After following the story for days, weeks, months, the media loses interest and moves on to something new. All is still. And in that silence, rape and sexual abuse continues.
Anywhere people seek help, sanctuary, direction, advice – anywhere someone with authority, status or resources is in a position to guide, direct, or aid – that is a place of vulnerability and access. That is a place where the young, aged, female, disabled, incarcerated, infirm, disenfranchised are targeted by a predator. And the predator who is lauded, promoted, hidden and protected by the institution he represents is the most dangerous among us. He can prey with impunity.
Because we do not believe victims, because we do not believe such a nice man could have done that, because we do not sustain long-term interest in the story, we turn away, tune out, move on. We do not demand exposure and accountability; we do not stop the sexual abuse and rape of women and children.
We have cooperated, collaborated and compromised with those in positions of power. We have waited, patiently and furiously for change. We have reached across chasms of doubt, mutual suspicion, anger and angst to create allies in every institution in this country. We have tolerated continued abuse and continuous denial of its prevalence and impact.How to safeguard children? Reformsexoffenderlaws.org calls for abolishing every single law imaginable and then somehow believe they can disguise that as "safeguarding children". They call for the abolition of age of consent laws and just like the pedophile activists groups they try to disguise it in "liberation of children". What they are calling for is the very things that helped to create the decades-long sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Church. We have to move forward not back in time. Hysteria and panic did not create this problem. People who have no respect for children created it.
We have cajoled, pleaded, persuaded, argued and worked tirelessly to move every institution toward an understanding of rape. What it is. How it harms the victim. How it harms all of us. We are tired of being patient. We are tired of ignorance. We are tired of denial. We are tired of excuses and lip service. We are tired of defense of the indefensible. We are tired of stonewalling, victim-blaming, confidentiality agreements that protect institutions and silence victims. We are tired of institutions protecting themselves instead of the people they are there to serve. We are even tired of apologies.
We want action. Meaningful action. Action to end sexual violence.
HT to ~**Violet Leaves**~