Thursday, October 19, 2006

An Insult to the Insulted

Former Rep. Mark Foley, after he resigned, blamed not only alcohol abuse but sexual abuse by a Catholic priest for his behavior. (I see, though, Susie Bright's point that 16-year-old males aren't children, have their own sex lives and can make some decisions for themselves about their sexuality, sex lives and particular sexual activities.) And in a report on WWL (Schroeder can tell you why you should hate WWL), a suddenly-clipped sound bite left the impression that there is a direct connection between experiencing childhood sexual abuse and commiting child sexual abuse--what the man truly said was that 1/3 to 2/3s of sex abusers have some kind of sexual abuse in their background. That's of abusers, not the general population of sexual abuse survivors. The majority do not repeat the abuse.

In some cases, though, abuse is repeated but it is repeated, the same abuse and behavior, not the alleged touches of a priest "repeated" as instant messages about the hotness of 16-year-old athletes. It is not like this, from Terrence Real's I Don't Want to Talk About It:
Peter reminded me of a case I supervised in which 5 British boys were lured onto a deserted beach by a local man who sodomized 2 of them while the others watched. True to the male norms of their culture, none of the boys said a word about their experience from that day forward, to anyone else or even to one another. What they did do, however, for the next 5 years or so, was take turns sodomizing one another. ... By carrying on the abuse with one another, the boys were trying to normalize it, to share the burden (76).
It is not the same. Foley's excuse is bullshit and an insult to survivors.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another reason to keep secrets. When I spoke to my daughters friends mother about my history of sexual abuse she stopped letting her child sleep over.

Thu Oct 19, 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

I've made that mistake, too. Saying too much to the wrong person (who at the time I thought was a "right person") and then that person denying what I said/revealed meant anything even though s/he is extremely different toward me. Though secrets perpetuate themselves and some rot us from the inside out, it's hard to find the right people and times to reveal to.

Fri Oct 20, 07:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Professor Zero said...

So: we should now feel sorry for Foley ... ? Because he did not do something about the alcohol abuse, and
because he is a sexual abuse victim who DID go on to abuse others, we should now say 'poor him' ... ?

And: 16 year olds may not be children, but NOBODY should have to put up with harrassment. It's not about, should they have sex ... it is about, this is harrassment!

Fri Oct 20, 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

Susie Bright's point exactly.

He knew what he was doing and did it anyway. Alcohol and abuse "made" him do jack.

Fri Oct 20, 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Erleichda! said...

I was angered when Foley immediately checked into rehab and LIVID when he said he was abused by a clergyman. Neither is an excuse, though at least the Protestant Christian lobbyists can all mutter, "Blame the dirty Catholics" to themselves as they try to sleep at night ... there's also the irony that one of "God's Own Party" is trying to deflect blame off of himself and onto a clergyman. Grrrr to hypocrisy.

And I agree -- it is an insult to survivors of sexual abuse. I have (sadly) known many survivors. None of them ended up as abusers; some were abused for the rest of their lives, but most of them have turned out fantastic.

Sat Oct 21, 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger Schroeder said...

Conveniently discarded was the personal responsibility rhetoric of right-wing Republicans.

Mon Oct 23, 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

In the Republican worldview, "responsibility" is for other people.

Mon Oct 23, 12:59:00 PM  

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