Wednesday, November 9, 2011

THE PRICE WE PAY FOR OUR DENIAL

If you have kept up with my blogs over the past two years (and are familiar with my book and website), you know my subject is always women and the many problems women face in our culture.As a male friend pointed out to me recently, promoting women as valued citizens with desirable skills has been my life’s work.

Sexism is the most visible problem women have; and as author Barbara Berg says, sexism is alive and well in today’s world. Sexism can include little boys and females of all ages, as we can see in today’s news stories.

The November 8 online edition of The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet spells it out because there is a common thread between three of the five leading stories. Certain people (here it is women and little boys) are publicly viewed and treated as objects of male sexual satisfaction. The bonus for those males seeking sexual gratification is that no one wants to face the truth. Many turn the other way.

The stunning revelation in these stories is that cultural attitudes routinely will permit the sexual objectification of certain humans.

For instance, the story of Joe Paterno’s “moral failure” as a leader concerns his “negligence in an alleged sex-abuse scandal” involving one of his coaches. As Paterno recently said, he did what he was “supposed to.” Rather than removing the offender from power, he followed cultural rules of denial and allowed an alleged sexual predator to molest little boys for years. 

We cannot excuse Paterno’s self-serving inaction but we must look at the truth as it is:  Our society encourages us to turn the other way when someone important is involved.  Paterno was highly valuable as a coach so he reportedly did all he was supposed to do at the time to stop the abuses of his assistant coach. 

Now we know his “moral failure” as a leader may have helped him win many football games but what about those little boys who were abused by his own staffer? What is more important to our society, winning football teams or the well-being of our male children?

Another lead story about Herman Cain, presidential hopeful, demonstrates what working women have known since they finally were allowed to be educated and to enter the workplace to support themselves and families. One woman accuses Cain of soliciting sex in exchange for a job. Other women have reported his sexual advances. 

The problem is these women have waited years, decades perhaps, before reporting any of this. That makes it possible this is a political move to destroy his credibility. But it is also possible these women knew no one would believe them in the past.

Frankly we have no way of knowing truth from lies in Cain’s case, but we do know two things: 

Women (and Catholic children) have failed to report sexual abuse until recent years because they were not believed or were further abused by their abusers if they talked. Every working woman knows in her heart that those sex-for-jobs tradeoffs were made by many people over the years, including men.

Second, we all know that these abused children or women were not believed because no one wanted to face the truth. It was whispered and rumored about such things (including abortions and love affairs) but never was it publicly reported or proven.

Herman Cain’s current crisis is just one more reminder that there are no heroes, no matter how directly they appeal to those who truly want to believe there are people in politics that don’t just sound good but are highly capable of delivering the promises.

Finally, there is Berlusconi…..another womanizer bites the dust because of a huge debt crisis.  Who knows?  His country, Italy, may have accepted his deviant ways from the Roman Church based there since time began if the economy had boomed instead of dying….and if the truth had not come out about priestly sex abuse.

The bottom line of all the above is that our society has permitted people (mostly males) to learn directly or through osmosis that they can get away with these things or else be held perfectly harmless. Everyone has been trained, programmed, and excused from facing the truth about sex abuse (and other types of abuse) because we are still looking for heroes who win and the perfect human leader.

There is no such thing.

10 comments:

  1. As parents, we can and should teach our children from a very early age - if something does not feel right or seem right - go to a person you can trust (and make sure there is such person for them!) and tell them. Teach children to trust their inner voices. When those figures of trust and authority (priests, rabbis, coaches, parents, teachers etc) are the sick perpetrators of harm towards our children, where are these young and innocent ones supposed to turn! And, of course, it is not only the young who suffer; so many of us (male and female) have 'submission' and 'complacency' ensnarled and ingrained in our thought processes. Raised on a diet of guilt and fear, we agree and adjust to the dominating force of unjust spouses, parents, politicians, religious leaders, governments, teachers, etc etc etc.

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  2. In this country, we have swept abuse under the rug, in general. We are just now starting to address bullying and sexual abuse. We have not gotten to verbal abuse yet, which can ruin the life of a severely criticized invalidated child. The deep wounds of sexual abuse affect the physical, emotion, and spiritual well-being of a person. The proliferation of pornography portrays sex in a degrading way and children get exposed to it BEFORE they get to the developmental age where their parents can have the discussion of the Birds and the Bees. The first exposure to things is a prototype and takes precedence over any experience that follows. Our first impression of someone or something takes 30 opposite impressions to erase the first one. For as much as we put our children first in this generation, we allow the loose "restrictions" on exposing pornography to children. This creates the LOOSE mentality that gets adopted by these children when they grow up. Taking God (morals) out of the school "loosens" a person even further. dr. Jay Carter

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  3. I just spent the better part of an hour listening to Ed Schultz and male guests having conniption fits over Paterno. Whenever I hear men yelling about this that way, I am reminded of Newt chasing Bill down Impeachment Road while cheating on his ill wife with the woman he is married to now. I just cannot trust men who get all excited about this. Especially when they yell. They remind me of the Taliban: protecting women so strictly that if they are not covered head to toe they beat them. If Hillary were to throw her headband into the race tomorrow, they would jump all over her for doing it, because they also think we should stay in our place. (Okay, sliding my veil back over my face.)

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  4. Thanks to Statuesk01,Dr. Jay Carter, and Still4Hill for commenting on the subject of the price society pays for denying the existence of sex abuse against children. All of us have been forced to pay for these relentless and never-ending abuses even when our own children are not involved. This is a corrupting influence that must be stopped immediately...our culture does not need to create more abusive actions against any human being but especially not our children.

    The worst crime of all is the projection of our own weaknesses onto someone else for punishment...such as the Gingrich/Clinton episode mentioned by still4hill! What is sick about that particular behavior by a guilty party is that this scenario is repeated hourly by those who have learned to ease their personal guilt by placing it on someone else!

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  5. Factor in the Catholic Church's 'sanction by silence' of predatory priests and we see the latent hypocrisy that pervades a world that chose to impeach Bill Clinton while ignoring the predilections of so many others in Congress ... still, few can top Newt Gingrich dumping his wife while she was hospitalized with cancer ... that takes my cake. What is most troubling about the Cain situation is that no one among the conservatives thinks this is a disqualification for Cain. Most people think he's correct in blaming the victims, their supporters and everyone but himself for this tawdry commentary; a commentary that reaffirms the presumed privilege of the rich and powerful to abuse and manipulate women and the weak. Yet Rick Parry displays a lack if intelligence and he's presumed to have killed his candidacy. What does this say about us as a nation and as people?

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  6. To continue, the "students" at Penn State rioted last night because the trustees of the university fired a revered football coach on the cusp of a big game. They are deafening in their silence about the victims of the sexual abuse that should be making theoir stomachs turn. I wonder how many students at Penn State take ethics courses? Have we become so preoccupied with sports that we are willing and, worse, able to overlook the exploitation of trusting, unsuspecting children to further our sports obsession? That's a rhetorical question, of course, as we all know the answer.

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  7. Those rioters have one thing in mind and that is a winning team. The ethics of their protesting the removal of the winning coach is not a consideration to many people because we have learned to demand and expect a WIN! Those poor little boys, just like female rape victims, are ignored because they are losers, not winners, in the eyes of the crowd. Disgusting!

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  8. Who can picture themselves walking in on a grown person sodomizing a child and not rip the bastard off the victim. When does instinct fail to take charge?

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  9. First, thank you for sharing this blog with us and your efforts to keep us aware of the ways in which women are being cheated out of life. The instances of sexual-abuse-denial you mentioned are minute as this issue is a global in comparison. Yet we rarely hear the global outcry for justice. Meanwhile, we suffer from many psychological dysfunctions because of acts of abuse perpetrated upon us as youths and females. I dedicate the following poem "Cheater-Repeater" to all people in all walks of life who choose not to speak outon known injustices and abuse, in hopes that they will be inspired to do what is humanly right.

    Are you a Repeater or Just a Cheater
    Regurgitating all the Stupor
    Are you a Teacher-Repeater
    Repeating to young Children
    The exact same things you were told
    Then, failing them if they act too bold
    Why not be a Free-Thinker or A Motivator
    Encouraging the children
    To do what they are good for
    Are you a Doctor-Repeater
    Who gives his patients chemically altered
    Generic Drugs passed by the FDA
    Refilling those prescriptions every single day
    Why not be a Value Creator or A Value Producer
    Creating and Producing Natural
    Products and information
    For better health that can cure a Nation
    Are you a Lawyer-Repeater
    Re-enforcing the outdated repeated laws
    Keeping up the status quo of the BAR HUMBUG
    Why not be a Protector
    A Defender Of true Human Rights for the Future
    Don’t Be a Repeater Or a Cheater
    For In truth you are really a Creator
    Stand up and be an imancipator
    Speak the truth!

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  10. Thanks Melba for your creativity in problem solving! And to all the responders, my sincere thanks for taking time to show how much you care.

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