I've watched dateline NBC's "To catch a predator" and was curious enough to know what happens after the show that I looked up one of the more interesting characters, Dr. Maurice Wolin. He was the cancer doctor who got caught talking dirty to a 13 yr old decoy. I was surprised to find many comments from people who actually dislike the show and sympathize with the predators. It seems they really believe the predators' claims that they've never done this before and they would never really harm a child. You know, the typical "I just wanted to mentor him/her" response. Ask me what mentoring has to do with sending suggestive nude pictures of yourself to someone you think is 13. I mean really.
Much blogging has been done about how terrible these people are, what should be done to them, whether or not its entrapment, and so on. But I have not read anything about the responsibility of people who have been molested. I wonder if anyone else would agree with my assessment which follows.
I understand how being molested truly messes a person up and I do feel sympathy for the victims. In fact, I've actually been exposed to questionable behaviors but not so far as to do irreparable damage, so I hope this does not come off as callous. But I feel victims should be held responsible if they do not report the crime and the criminal goes on to abuse someone else. I think this could fall under the same category as someone who witnesses a crime and fails to do anything about it. Seems to me like obstruction of justice. Victims who report the crime in a timely fashion should be allowed to sue for compensation from previous victims who kept their mouths shut. If only because if they had reported the crime, the subsequent occurrence might have been prevented.
I feel strongly about this because of the correlation between being a molester and having been molested. People who don't speak out have a high likelihood of becoming perpretrators. We must encourage people to speak out and deter those who would not by holding them responsible for their inaction.
I understand that many victims feel ashamed and do not wish to confront their abusers but in truth, if they are victims, they have nothing to be ashamed of. They should not cower and fear the opinions of heartless others who may tease or berate them for having been victims. I truly have never understood why victims of sexual crimes often fail to report it. Is it really any different from getting physically assaulted? Something must be very wrong with our society if the person who has been robbed can call the police with no shame but the one who has been raped must keep quiet and be ashamed of ther own vicimization. And why is it only when sex is involved? What is this preoccupation with sex?
Why do our children fear open communication with us about sex, even when it's been forced upon them? Why are there not open conversations in schools about molestation and what children can do about it. All children have to attend school, legally. So, except for those who are home schooled, all victims of child molestation can be confronted at school. Teachers should communicate with their students that adults touching their vaginas and penises should be immediately reported. They should be told that the only way to stop an adult who is hurting them is to tell another adult, preferably their pediatrician or a school nurse. It should be put to them in a language they can understand such as "if someone is making you hurt where you pee or poo, that is very wrong. If you don't tell someone about it, they will never stop hurting you and even when they do, it will continue to hurt you in other ways for the rest of your life. Nevermind if they tell you to keep it a secret or that they will hurt your family if you tell. If someone hurts you, they are liars and you must not believe anything they say. You must tell someone if you want them to stop. It is the only way to stop them and they will try to stop you by lying so they can keep hurting you."
If this is repeated to children regularly, even through high school, I think we can make a dent in this problem. People fight for sex education in schools about condoms and homosexuality but they leave out reporting molestation. Children must be made to feel that if someone has hurt them, they have nothing to be ashamed of or fear. They must take control and report the person who hurt them so that they can be stopped.
I've always wondered what Oprah has done about the uncle who molested her. Did she report him? Does she alert children around him that they must be careful? I think it's her responsibility. If this guy is still out there, he's probably molesting other kids. And anyone who has been molested by him should be able to sue Oprah for not having had the balls to put him behind bars. Okay, that was a little harsh. But it seems to me she has moved on from what happened to her without having confronted her abuser.
Oh well, just some random ideas that I have been wrestling with lately.