Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Child Molestation - victims and perpetrators..leading to Duty of Care

It has been one of those crazy days in my life.  I have been trying to get out more CV's into schools and to answer more teaching job ads. I am immensely annoyed that two jobs I applied for have been withdrawn which means they have bestowed the job in house and the advertisements were for show and they were never seriously considering new blood. I wasted time writing a covering letter for my excellent CV. That was for starters.
Then the real fun starts and I have been the recipient of something like ten emails from a person I still consider a friend despite the accusations of hostility and the like, then that I was fantasying about being bullied and projecting and told I am very paranoid. Interesting stuff.
This came about because this friend is very close to someone who is going to court on 53 counts of child molestation, rape, false imprisonment etc etc and I am a friend come acquaintance of a family ( taught two of their kids years ago English private tutoring) one of whose members has gone very public about this matter because this person was one of his victims.
I hardly ever read the papers but I was accused of believing the 'lashon hara' that is printed in the media about a 'good person who has done tshuva' and I am not thinking correctly and it is not the Jewish way to condemn a person who 'made a few mistakes in his younger years' and then this person was being incredibly emotive. while I understand the emotive aspect of a person who is a personal friend of a pedophile or an alleged pedophile, we need to be aware that pedophiles are not the usual criminal. They are actually a lot smarter and much more manipulative than the average person.
They are very clever at manipulating people - even highly intelligent professional people - psychologists into feeling sorry for them as they strive to justify even to themselves their behaviour and they blame the victim in a variety of ways. They are often the most subtle and destructive of bullies because they try to pass off what they have done as youthful folly, or they will blame the victims - even in court and when confronted with what they have done, they will indulge in delusional behaviour that fails to take account any sort of responsibility to a child or vulnerable person who is in their care. They do not want to understand that a child or person with some sort of intellectual or physical challenge needs care and protection. They will think only about their physical needs and satisfaction with out a thought for the other person. They are driven by instinct and are very, very cunning in what they do. They are very good at covering up what they do and justifying it to themselves and others.
Therein lies the major problem. They have no responsibility to vulnerable children, only to themselves and what they want. They are totally lacking in empathy for others and play on other people's empathy and sympathy in doing what they do. They lack empathy for their parents, they lack empathy for their own children if they have children and they choose to indulge in behaviour which is so cruel and cunning because they pursue their own physical pleasures at great emotional and psychological cost to those around them.
They fool others into believing that they are 'harmless'. They are reformed and now angelic individuals who might have once or twice patted a boy or two on the bottom, or 'chldish curiosity led to harmless experimentation with a younger child in their teen years.' I actually think that the fact that they have indulged in such acts shows them to be dangerous to young children and teenagers. I would not want such a person in a school around young people. To be honest, it is dangerous and we are deluding ourselves as a society if we think we can absorb such people into areas of the community where they come in contact with children and young vulnerable adults.
We can be compassionate to such individuals who have seen the error of their ways and give them the chance for Tshuva or change in their behaviour, but we must not put a stumbling block before the blind.
Our first priority should be to protect and guide such members of the community, like children and young adults who are victims or potential victims of these sorts of people.
I have spent nearly twenty years teaching. My priority at all times is to protect the vulnerable members of the community who are potential victims of pedophiles and nothing will change the way I think about them. I think they are sick and need help, but I do not want nor need to put vulnerable children or young adults in harm's way.  Even as adults we have a duty of care. One friend said to me, well so long as he did not touch my sons, I do not care. We should not air dirty linen in public.' I disagree because of the following.
It is enormously challenging and hurtful for a person to get up and say that he or she has been interfered with in a public area.  It has all sorts of repercussions and people, well meaning people who are friends or family of the perpetrator will struggle to deal with the fact that someone they know and love could be so callous and selfish. They will  go into denial and that is human nature.
We cannot hope to understand the emotional pain and suffering that a person who has been a victim of a pedophile goes through. They suffer and they suffer for years. The amount of substance abuse and crippled lives of abuse survivors is well documented in many cases. Molesters destroy people and attack their very soul. It marks them and it takes a very strong person to move on and they do with support and counselling.
As a teacher, I see my duty of care is to protect students and young people to whom I have a responsibility and whom I am supervising. I have little sympathy or empathy for the position of the 'abuser' or pedophile. I cannot afford to and will not. First and foremost I must and will protect the interests, emotional and psychological health of students in my care. I cannot and will not afford sympathy to someone who is about to interfere with a student or has interfered with a student. My opinion is and always will be that there are better people equipped to deal with such people and they are the police and judicial system hopefully.
Yes, there are people who are falsely accused but not in cases where there has been a pattern of abusive behaviour. Educational institutions cannot afford to have people who are more concerned with the welfare and soul of the perpetrators. They and teachers exist to serve and educate the students who are our future generations. It is as simple as that.
 Just a post script. I was told that we should leave the justice to G-D and it is not the Torah way to persue and defame a fellow Jew.
Well the Torah is about truth and justice and even the sheva mitzvot of Benai Noah (non Jews) is about setting up courts of justice., G-D expects us to show compassion and also to have commonsense. Being a Jew is about being G-D fearing and to have some sense of justice yourself and commonsense and not be so blind that we ignore the spiritual needs of the children in our effort to save the soul of an individual who may have already forfeited his soul to other gods.

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