Sunday, May 20, 2012

How Do We Stop child Abuse and how is it related to bully behaviour?

Someone has written this in support of victims but it is only tongue in cheek support and I will show you why.

(These are my personal opinions only- others may think very differently. They are not meant to contradict or challenge any rabbinic ruling, and are based on my academic training and work with people associated with abuse)

I would not want a person who is abused going to this person for counseling because I believe this person could do more harm than good.  No academic training can prepare and allow a person to empathize with a survivor of abuse. You need experienced and competent counselors to deal sensitively and professionally with victims, not some anal bureaucrat with a psychology degree stuck up their butt.

Regarding alleged sexual abuse in our community, people frequently ask what I could do IF...

a) the victim is a friend or family member of mine, it is my obligation to support that person by positively asserting that he is in no way to blame, he always deserved full protection, he is entitled to complete care, acceptance and help and he has the right to fully exercise all options open to him as a citizen of Australia...

Quite comic really when you think about it. It is about human rights one would hope and just not citizens of Australia. It is about every person in this world's right to an abuse free childhood.
The best and only way to validate the victim’s feelings of being abused and to alleviate the shame is to go to the police and have the matter investigated by the proper authorities like any other crime and the perpetrator dealt with appropriate to his or her age and situation. The perpetrator relies on the victims’ shame and disgust with what they have been forced to do to hide his or her crimes. If this tactic fails they will then try to disparage the victims’ mental state and say that the victim misunderstood or has exaggerated the events. So the first physical overpowering and the sexual violation is then followed by a psychological overpowering of the victim leading him or her to doubt his or her sanity and events as they happened. In other words, sexual abusers of children are the worst sorts of bullies because they pick on vulnerable children who they can dominate and twist and manipulate. In other words the physical and sexual abuse is further compounded by mental torture as the perpetrator performs in such a way as to make the victim feel that ‘somehow it is my fault’.

b) the offender is a friend or family member of mine, it is my obligation to support him however I can to have the courage to act honorably throughout whatever processes occur, do whatever he can to make amends and to take whatever steps that might be required to ensure that he does not re-offend...

Interesting statement that apart from the grammatical errors. I would prefer to say that is it the obligation of the community and the family and friends of a perpetrator of abuse, especially one who abused/s children to acknowledge the wrongness of his or her actions and to work towards potential rehabilitation and to honestly acknowledge the pain of the victims and bear responsibility for it, even if it means incarceration for a period of time. Defaming the victims and their families is not bearing responsibility or acknowledging the pain caused to victims.

c) others blame the victim, it is my obligation to explain to them that children are always powerless when faced with the terrifying demands of any adult-even more one that the child thinks has authority, that all adults are responsible for guaranteeing the safety of children ahead of other concerns, including concerns such as protecting the 'good name' of institutions, wider family groups or communities... and stand up against those who might want to stigmatise the innocent family members of either victim or perpetrator.

It is a common ploy in any crime of this sort, rape, or child abuse or even assault. ‘I was provoked’, ‘she or he seduced me’ because of the social stigma attached to being a perpetrator of such a crime.  Rape and child abuse is very much about power and for perpetrators there is an almost aphrodisiac effect,  if they get away with delegitimizing the victim.  I speak from bitter experience that is a long time ago now, 23 rd August 1977 when I went through a rather unpleasant experience which marked my life for quite some years and I can still remember my mother saying, ‘Oh dear, you must have done something to provoke the man. Anyway it’s over and done with now. Have a Valium and calm down. You will soon forget all about it in time. Just learn a lesson from the experience.’ For just under two years, in a small country town I endured the taunting of that man and his mates. It stopped when I left town never to return thank G-D.  I thank G-D for allowing me to have that experience because while it was difficult to come to terms with for quite some years, it has enhanced my understanding of how the perpetrators think and behave.  However if rape happens at a later stage in one’s life, it is easier to deal with than child abuse. The child is often confused. For a rape victim it is the attitude of others that is the problem and that is why rape victims don’t want to talk about the stigma of rape as it is seen as somehow you ‘deserved it.’ For child abuse there is not that excuse so the abusers fall back on the vulnerability of the child and the fact that the child will not be believed against an adult who is lying. It is very hard to trap abusers into admitting that they did do what they did. They know and understand the social stigma attached and that is why they choose to force their attentions onto helpless children. For them, they have everything to lose if they are discovered and they play on the feelings of friends and family alike who do not want to believe that a person in whom they placed such trust has betrayed them. Apart from the sense of power it gives them, they want to have control over whether the child is believed or not.

It is so easy for people in positions of authority to prioritise the 'good name' of an organisation and, frequently unintentionally, act in way that devalues the reasons it exists in the first place. A religious community exists to espouse the values of that religion- not to hide bad behavior so that others will be tricked into thinking those activities do not happen.

All organizations do not like bad publicity and that is why they are so careful to hide and to support the perpetrator as a paragon of goodness and virtue rather than own their duty of care in two main areas of abuse

a)      Child abuse

b)      Bullying

They seek to cover their culpability and disown any responsibility for the matter. That is why these things keep occurring because abusers get positive payback and support. I do not agree with emotional support being provided to abusers. Their families, yes, because I think they are secondary victims. The primary victims are the abused and their immediate families. Then you have secondary victims who are the family of the abuser. They have done nothing wrong, yet they suffer incredible guilt. Imagine if you are the family, good people of a person who is abusive and a criminal. How do you feel especially if you are the mother of such a person? You feel sick at heart and you feel that somehow you have failed in raising your child to be a mentsch.  That is a pain that does not go away for the rest of your life.

A community that has protecting children as a core value has the obligation to learn as much as possible about how to ensure children are safe and to learn as much as possible about how to know if there is danger and how to remove that danger. That same community should also feel responsible to learn all it can about what is needed for individuals to heal and to provide those conditions to bring about healing. To attempt to 'protect' an institution by failing to do these things is an insult to the people and the values that set it up in the first place.

This is politically correct bullshit and I will show you why.  Those who protect an institution are doing the institution no favours. Eventually the walls will crumple if you chip away at the foundations on which your institution was built. Especially if it was built to educate and protect its clientele. The most appropriate course of action is outright renovation. Completely gutting the inside where the plaster is rotted  and crumbling away. You don't patch and smatch and hide behind a fresh coat of paint. You strip the wall down right to the bricks and redo the plastering so that it is fresh and new and all the old plaster has been ripped out and all the leaks are fixed. 
 Corrupt principals breed corrupted principles. Especially ones that perjure themselves. Unfortunately we do not have a fifth ammendment in Australia. a person could say, no comment but then he or she risks being accused of hindering the process of justice and police inquiry.
Any community that does not protect and correct their children is at risk of failing as a community. Children are vulnerable and they are our future.  It is through our children we build steps for the future. they hold our vision for the future to come.  It is up to us to ensure that they do not have exposure to things that will corrupt and cripple their perceptions of life, sexuality and their relationships with others.  Clear guidelines need to be laid out and followed. Children need consistency and routine. A parent needs to care enough to put their needs second to that of the child. Once you have a child, your life is not your own.

We live in a very 'me' orientated society and one in which parents feel they are owed something. As a parent you are owed nothing except respect.  In fact, when you have children you have to be prepared to put your pleasures in life aside to support and protect your child from danger.  I am prepared to die for my child and to protect him or any child for that matter from invasion or violation by an abuser. Once you have been abused or violated by someone you get a gut instinct for an abuser and the only thing that prevents you falling victim to further abuse is lifelong celibacy because unfortunately the types of people attracted to you are abusive. They have an instinct for people who are likely to accept abuse as much as those who have been abused tend towards being taken in by the abusive behaviours and feel sorry for the 'abusers'. Stockholm syndrome. The abused starts to shift his or her perspective on a situation to include elements of the abuser's flawed perceptions.

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