Bringing an End to Sexual Abuse Cover Ups

by Lisa Bennett, NOW Communications Director

A big, male-dominated institution is presented with evidence of sexual abuse perpetrated from within its ranks. Rather than doing all they can to report the crimes and aid victims in their pursuit of justice, leaders of the institution circle the wagons and protect their own. Maintaining the institution's vaunted reputation, which brings with it much power and riches, is prioritized over rooting out the guilty and promoting a safe environment for all.

Today the subject is the Penn State football program, but it could just as easily be the Catholic Church or the U.S. military or any institution that enjoys a faithful following. The many individuals who are the real strength of these institutions -- the players, the churchgoers, the troops -- are mostly innocent bystanders or collateral damage in these terrible scandals. The men at the top who stand to lose the most, they are the ones who tarnish these institutions through reckless acts of self preservation. Even worse than the shame they bring to the institutions they lead is the danger to countless women and children that they help to sustain, the crimes that accumulate under their watch.

Let's not fool ourselves: Sexism and patriarchy are tightly woven into these "scandals" -- without them, these heinous acts would be viewed much more critically and not allowed to fester. Silence and denial would not be an option. The privilege that has been heaped upon these men flows from a culture that continues to value men's authority and accomplishments over the rights and safety of women. Powerful men have proven time and again that they will fight fiercely to protect the elevated status from which they greatly benefit. Protecting children, meanwhile, is still considered mainly the province of women. Which begs the question, if women ran these institutions, would sexual abuse be swept under the rug to the degree that it is now?

The upside to Louis Freeh's report on Penn State that was issued today is that it holds accountable those who looked the other way while children were targeted for abuse. The best part is that people are talking about it, and if we can direct the conversation to the role that sexism and patriarchy played in these cover ups, perhaps we can change these systems in a real and profound way. We must not let the reverence our society has for such institutions stand in the way of an honest dialogue -- in fact, it is that very reverence that smothers the potential for justice and healing.

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Comment from: maxxum [Visitor]
This blog post angers me on several levels. First, anyone that harms a child purposely, in my book, is trash. Second, that you put the blame squarely on men makes me ill. Third, that you didn’t even do any real research for this post is irresponsible.

There are thousands of cases of women being involved in abuse. During lunch today on Dr. Phil the show was dedicated to mothers abusing children. In the last few years there have been very big (and public) cases of women doing some pretty messed up things. Yes, statistically, women are far less likely to do certain things, but those numbers are actually increasing while those committed by men have been going down.

I worked with kids for ten years and mentored hundreds (11y-14y), so I know a little bit about the subject. As a father, a husband, brother and mentor I can honestly say that you need to do some studying on the subject. “Cover Up’s” happen in every institution, including the home, workplace, government and so on. The reason is because people want to work it out inside that institution. I’ll bet you a thousand dollar’s that N.O.W. hasn’t reported on embarrassing internal incident(s) because it might reflect poorly on the organization.

If you think forcing men to step aside so women can rule will cure anything, you’re sadly mistaken. Women have the same capacity for making poor decisions as men do. There are thousands upon thousands of cases to prove that point, but you didn’t do any research so you might not know that. For instance, did you know that in the Navy and Army there are thousands of cases of female soldier prostitution? In Iraq there are hundreds of cases of women getting pregnant so they don’t have to serve in war zones. One woman I knew had slept with her entire unit and when caught was asked why she did it. Her answer was she just wanted to raise her unit’s morale. How about the medical problems female are having after serving on the front line (muscle, reproductive & mental)? How about the extreme high levels of women cheating on their husbands while they served in Iraq and Afghanistan? These kinds of things are not popular to report and the military doesn’t go out of its way to expose bad news.

And I’ll say it again (turning blue here)... If you’re serious about fixing ALL these problems focus on building stronger home environments with a mother and a father. The number one victim of abuse are children that are emotionally neglected and the highest segment of our society that is producing emotionally neglected kids are single parent homes.

Perhaps you should look to your own organization for some of the reasons this sort of activity will (is) be proliferated. Advocating little girls have access to Plan B (OTC), that non-parent/non-guardian’s should be able to take children across state lines for abortions and allowing little girls to have abortions without family consultation are all ‘enablers’ to secrecy. It gives children the ability to sidestep responsibility and investigation by others. It creates a whole ‘dark’ world you so passionately want to do away with.

One day I really hope N.O.W. will fight these war’s with men at their sides, not under their heel.

Imagine the possibilities...
07/13/12 @ 17:50
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Comment from: sarahoreilley [Member] Email
Maxxum--you are sooo spot on!!! I am a woman but I do detest much of what NOW stands for. it is so anit-female. NOW can not see the forest for the trees. Men have done alot of damage & more women are becoming "man like" but in reality all humanity is de-volving to an animal state again. all civilizations rise & fall. we are falling. I too have worked with abused folks from infants to adults. I have come across many women/mothers/grandmothers etc who have stuck their proverbial head in the sand while their man is abusing kids. Both are guilty! Woman dont want to lose their status anymore than the next man. It takes a truly human soul to see abuse, report it, follow thru until the victim is safe. This can take years. Meanwhile the children suffer. Men & Woman should be fighting this parasite of abuse/violence together--or it will kill us. It has gotten worse with the internet..but many a woman is behind the camera filming her kids & trafficking in humans..When humanity acts with the divine soul of humanity -only then will we move forward as a species.WOW! NOW! get real! this is why young women are not filling your ranks! you provide no hope.
08/09/12 @ 19:25
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Comment from: eldee [Member] Email
Allowing girls to access emergency contraception is needed because it is so often a male adult member of her family, or 'friend' thereof, who has raped her and made her pregnant. When such access is restricted by laws, those laws are in fact pedophile protection laws.
Females and males both can commit sexual abuse. Demonising singles mothers is misogynistic. Why not vilify the men who made them single fathers? Where are they. The patiarchial family structure has produced, I believe, the great majority of them because it teaches boys to treat girls and women as less and inferior.
The last thing is the fact that the overwhelming majority of child sexual abuse is committed by heterosexual men. There is always the 'study' cited by conservatives, which has been thoroughly discredited and was written by two nonqualified individuals at, and I apologize if I am mistaken, Regents University. The men who abused boys in that study were labelled homosexuals. They were, of course, homosodomists, not gay.
08/13/12 @ 20:14
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Comment from: another [Member] Email
I have two comments to make about this misandry.

1) Women commit more child abuse then men do.
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm10/cm10.pdf page 81 of this pdf

Men 45.2% 230,734
Women 53.6% 273,966
Unknown 1.2% 6,124
Total 510,824

2) Women do cover it up. Please take a look at Erin Pizzey. The fantastic woman who brought us the modern domestic violence shelter.


Here is a small excerpt

Erin Patria Margaret Pizzey (née Carney, born 19 February 1939) is a British family care activist and a best-selling novelist. She became internationally famous for having started one of the first[2] women's refuges (called women's shelters in the U.S.) in the modern world, Chiswick Women's Aid, in 1971,[3] the organisation known today as Refuge.[1] Pizzey has been the subject of death threats and boycotts because of her conclusion that most domestic violence is reciprocal, and that women are equally as capable of violence as men.
08/17/12 @ 16:06
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Comment from: mimi crist [Member] Email
I live in Pueblo, Co. A doctor here was molesting and raping women for years. The hospital knew and did nothing. I was one of these women. Their attorney blocked me from discovery along with the Parkview legal woman. The judge would not let me go back for discovery. The Parkview legal was married to the Pueblo County Attorney.I filed three police reports and the police destroyed them This man is now a judge. Mob rule.
12/22/12 @ 12:21
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Comment from: revspinnaker [Member] Email
Look at the recent child pornography bust. About half the perpetrators were women. I remember years ago when Ms. did a big expose on child pornography accusing it of being the most vile form of patriarchal male domination. Then Frontline revealed the biggest child pornography producer and distributor in Europe was a woman.

Thanks Sarah for mentioning co abusive mothers. Rep. Louise Bishop was the only one to bring that up at the recent Penn State Sexual Abuse Conference. Feminists have denied it flat out for decades.

Child Sexual Abuse: Towards A Feminist Professional Practice - …
http://www.cwasu.org/filedown.asp?file=CSAConfTwFemProffPract.pdf ·
01/05/13 @ 23:04
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