Thursday, 21 May 2009

Child sexual abuse requires greater parental indignation

Where is the outrage?

Words have begun to fail me before I have finished the first paragraph but I will not relent until what is to be written is written.

I cannot muster enough righteous indignation to the lack of boiling outrage to the report about the abuse of children in Ireland and the implications to abuse all around the world vested in the bosom of the Catholic Church.

I know some abuse

My interest is simple; I was first sexually abused at 7 and then even though we lead a seemingly privileged life by Nigerian standards of having servants, cooks, gardeners, security men and drivers, that in itself bought other issues.

These were people employed by my parents or the companies my father worked for who were trusted by my parents to ensure that we were well cared for, safe and out of harm’s way.

Some of these people were sponsored even up to tertiary education level by my parents, but behind the scenes at least 3 of the male servants took sexual favours by inducement, enticement and veiled threats – between the ages of 7 and 11, I do wonder if I was a sexual deviant, a willing participant in games or an abused child in sexual activity with people at least in their 20s.

Tough but bearable

I cannot say any of the abuse was systematic, persistent or violent, but it was sustained, I welcomed my parents home, they none the wiser, the servants expressed their loyalties and things just happened.

I went to a co-educational boarding school, it was tough in terms of discipline and the regimented lifestyle, I was at one time bullied but the whole experience was hardly indelible to the extent of leaving psychological scars, I was fortunate, I was lucky.

I talk about it for the hopeful benefit of helping others walk away from those nasty events of their past but nothing I went through can compare in any manner to the things other children went through as revealed in the reports of The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse [1].

A charity camp in a church

It is sorrowfully and painfully heartrending to read of the sustained, systematic and endemic abuse [2] in Catholic-run children’s institutions in Ireland, it has taken over 8 years to fully compile this report but it has done little to assuage the pain of the victims.

I am compelled to put Concentration Camp, Christian Charity and Catholic Church side by side as synonyms of each other and until much is done to bring the perpetrators to justice, I hope that this alignment gains more momentum.

It is societal compassion that compels us to seek ways of caring for children who are orphans or seriously underprivileged and somehow in our naivety we believed that Christian Charities had volumes of the milk of human kindness to care and cater for the wellbeing of these children.

Our faith and trust in them

Even parents thought these Catholic institutions would instil both discipline and Christian conduct in their children such that many sent their children to these places.

For those children with parents, they probably suffered less but those for whom society had bequeathed the trust of parenthood and guardianship to the agents of the Catholic Church seemed to have been sentenced to hell on earth and here we were thinking they were been brought up as goodly Christian ladies and gentlemen.

The nuns and the priests terrorised the children, raped and molested many, these places were residential homes to society but the reality for the children who lived in these places was akin to concentration camps.

The children were not gassed but what they suffered is heinously unspeakable, and unfortunately, I do not see enough indignation and outrage to bring the perpetrators to justice.

This was a Christian Charity running Concentration Camps supported by the Catholic Church; reprehensible does not begin to help appreciate the situation, when shall we really lose faith and exact judgement?

Secrecy and succour to the perpetrators

These were children who had no voice, who when they spoke suffered more privation and violence than we can ever imagine and now that the atrocious acts have been exposed it is unfortunate that we see the faces of the damaged children now adults but those holy priests and nuns are given succour within the church.

Like concentration camp commandants and guards, when they have done their evil in one place and they were at the risk of exposure, the church moved them to another concentration camp where they had new children to abuse and gratify their sadistic perversion in the light of their vows of celibacy.

The Catholic Church is complicit in the abuse of the children and paying up for the abuse does not half address the way our trust, hope and faith in Christian Charity has been dashed, shattered and damaged.

Suffer the children not make the children suffer

If we as a society will do nothing about this, I would go back to where the idea of real Christian Charity to children began.

The parents brought their children to Jesus, he touched them and blessed them and the disciples saw this and began to rebuke the parents, it is there that Jesus then said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” [Luke 18:16 KJV]

The idea here is than a child enters a Christian situation to be blessed and their character, implicit trust and faith in the people who care for them is characteristic of those of seek the kingdom of God. Where a child has had this trust breached by adults gratifying their inordinate and despicable desires through persistent and systematic abuse, what we have is children made to suffer rather than children suffered to see Christian goodness.

Millstones and necks in the sea

To those people who have damaged the children, Jesus had one message to whoever has the authority to carry out the right and just action. “These little ones believe in me. It would be best for the person who causes one of them to lose faith to be drowned in the sea with a large stone hung around his neck.” [Matthew 18:6 GWT]

I find no ambiguity or equivocation in that statement, these children arrived in these residential homes with the hope that they would find succour and preparation for worthwhile lives, they found hell meted out by trusted religious figures given the responsibility for their care.

They caused these children to lose faith, in other translations, they offended the children, they caused them to stumble, they caused them to sin – for all the heinous acts committed against the children, if the least is to cause them to lose faith – lose faith in society, in Christian Charity, in mentoring, in hope and the will to live, the statement is the same.

Put a weighty millstone around their necks as one translation says and drown them in the sea. These abusers by the basic invocation of Jesus Christ do not deserve another day of oxygen, they were not to be hanged or crucified which is the punishment of the day but thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around their necks.

Only the severest punishments should suffice

It calls on any form of justice that we might have in our seemingly civilised world to address this abuse in the most exacting way, the severest punishment we can find in our law books without any recourse parole, rehabilitation or reconsideration.

I am no death penalty advocate, but if that be on the books of the countries in which the act was perpetrated then that should be the just punishment. However, I see no necks to put weighty millstones around and there is no sea in sight.

Where is the honour in the Catholic Church?

It is incumbent on the church not only to apologise and show contrition through condemnation of the acts, they should follow the Christ-like idea to its conclusion – expose these vermin and have the law take its full course.

We still hunt after Nazi criminals, more so should be hunt down child abusers, I would dare to equate their acts with those of the Nazi regime, in fact, their acts for the way it has affected the victims is probably worse.

The church must be compelled to cooperate in exposing all those involved in serious criminal activity; society must not be complacent with being blindsided by the religious entities when they harbour criminals.

Parents must speak up

Most of all, if you are a parent and are not already filled with outrage about this, I do wonder.

The children once had parents, I do not think it was the wish of their parents to leave their children orphans and in the least if they had any choice in the matter, they would have liked for society to care for their children in some loving and caring way.

If I were a parent I would want to know that if I expressly left my child in the care of anyone they were really being cared for in the way I would where I also have a choice in choosing the carer and where I can make none of the choices, I will still have those expectations.

Where children have no parents, I would be hopeful that other parents in society would offer the blanket of parent care or at least parental oversight to ensure the children are not used and abused. What has been exposed is bad enough, their sure is much abuse going on still somewhere in our neighbourhoods and it all should stop.

The children lost their childhood, it was taken from them by people we trusted would do a good job on behalf of society under the auspices of the church – if this matter ends here, we have done our humanity a great injustice and the victims a second injustice – we should be bold enough to take the scare out care.

Sources

[1] BBC NEWS | UK | Northern Ireland | Abuse report - at a glance

[2] Sex abuse 'endemic' in Catholic institutions - Telegraph

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