Saturday, February 08, 2014
( 3:56 PM ) The Rat
WHETHER OR NOT YOU'RE FOLLOWING the Woody Allen thing, this is one of the best things I've ever read on the subject of childhood sexual abuse.
In America, we are prone to theatrics. Fox News loves a good sociopathic pedophile story. Nancy Grace goes rabid Bride of Frankenstein for it, snarling updates every five minutes until some ghastly fucking shell of a man lays dead in a hailstorm of Amber Alerts and SWAT team bullets. The kids survive, and I imagine Nancy sighing with relief, stroking her ego to sleep, reassuring it there will be follow-up stories and voyeuristic interviews for years to come.
This works on television because it reinforces the notion that the sociopath pedophile is not like you or me. We watch and wonder who would be so obtuse as to let him anywhere near so much as a pet rock, let alone a child. Without fail, there is a curious aspect of elitism in the spectacle. I can't say Rupert Murdoch calls in the script himself, but I've noticed how effectively these tabloid abuse stories often provoke the smug pity of the educated urban intelligentsia as they watch the catastrophically bad judgment of their poor under-educated brethren.
The problem is, this has next to nothing to do with the sexual abuse that happens in homes.
Those of us who were abused by a family member, or a family friend, have shared banal time and space with the sort of people who molest kids. We have sat in their cars in traffic and gone to diners with them, watched them scarf cheeseburgers or try to quit smoking, need an aspirin. And mostly, they are not utter sociopaths or sadists.
We are in the paradoxical situation of being subject to pure evil and knowing from experience that its representatives are rarely pure evil themselves. No one is. We have almost certainly seen at least a flicker of innocent joy or generosity in their face. We have puzzled over this person who hurt us, and considered the fact that they too were children once. And we know that many of them were also sexually abused as children. At some point in healing, we just know that there will never be, could never be enough jails to contain this—that it would never work anyway...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:56 PM