Following on from my last blog when I was discussing the merits of lying, I ended up touching upon the farce known as the IICSA.
However at the same time another child sex abuse scandal was brewing when footballer Andy Woodward waived his right to anonymity to reveal that he, and to his knowledge, some other professional footballers had been sexually abused by football coach Barry Bennell. Bennell is a convicted paedophile, originally sentenced to nine years in 1998 after admitting sexual offences against six boys. Since then he's been jailed a further twice. In his own words he's described himself as a monster.
The scandal is slowly unravelling as more and more brave men are going public with their stories. Of course, with the unravelling comes more accusations, more coaches are being accused. A helpline set up to deal with the situation said that they had received 860 calls in the first week. In the first three days alone they had 60 calls.
We live in remarkable times, in times that I for one, never thought I'd see. I feel like the world is going backwards. As the far right march forward, and with the left literally just popping up their hands every so often as if to say excuse me, it feels like civilisation as we know it could go absolutely anywhere right now.
However there has also been, and sadly there will probably always be a constant - and that is child sex abuse. It's gone on forever....and will not doubt continue to go on, as it's just part of the depraved bit of human nature. We can only hope that with each passing year, more and more survivors, and indeed the perpetrators, get the help that they need.
What really hacks me off though about all of this is twofold:
1) When it was all the revelations of women being abused, the media (both 'social' and real) all really questioned the validity of the women stepping forward. Why now? Were they money grabbing? Fame hungry? The questions were relentless. One false witness out of hundred truthful ones and the 'I told you sos' were flying through the air. Easier to focus on it not happening that it really going on obviously? I mean if I said that there was a 99% chance of you being OK after an operation, you'd probably go for it wouldn't you? You wouldn't ponder the 1% for too long. Yet when the percentage of allegations proved to be truthful, everyone jumped on the tiny percentage of deluded liars, trying to jump on a band wagon. It's not even child sex abuse that this happens with. What about the rapist in the states that got an easier sentence because he was good at sports? Donald Trump has allegations coming out of his slimy ears - but it's easier to dismiss all the women as liars and opportunistic isn't it? Why is that? As each professional footballer has stepped forward he's been instantly believed? Maybe one of them is trying it on? Jumping on the band wagon? Of course that can't be right. . . yet the only difference is gender.
2) When oh when are people going to stop being surprised that it takes survivors years (if ever) to talk about it. Every time this topic comes up I read some comment or another about 'why didn't they say sooner'? I mean what the hell is wrong with people? On one hand I'm delighted that their life has been so rosy, and they are surrounded by people skipping and dancing through the daisy patch of life without a care in the world. Maybe I'm jealous, because in my world, as a teacher I've heard the same old story for decades. I've heard my friends' stories. I've seen how painful it is for somebody to say those words. I've seen the emotional turmoil, low self esteem that child sex abuse leaves them with. I've sat as a student's had a flashback and seen the pain etched on their face.
Why didn't they say sooner. . . because they couldn't. Because people like you, the people that don't want to leave the Daisy field, have missed the fact that the flowers are blooming because they've been covered with manure. Any whiff of that nonsense and you're out of there. You just want to believe that life can't be that bad.
Experts believe that we're only hitting the tip of the iceberg with child sex abuse. They also believe that we don't have the resources available to us right now to deal with the fall out.
Maybe they should simply move to another Daisy patch, and forget about what actually makes life real.
We should be celebrating ALL the brave survivors who chose to speak out. We should attempt to understand WHY people take so long....and then just celebrate the fact that they did it at all.