The film Spotlight dramatically revealed the institutional rot in the Catholic Church. To protect its reputation the Catholic hierarchy behaved like any organization that values its continued success more than it treasures the creation of an environment in which participants can explore, imagine, and learn free from the threat of being sexually violated. It closed its eyes as the lives of those less powerful were violated. Denial, Denial, Denial was the strategy.
But the Church has no monopoly on the manipulation of the weak for the sexual satisfaction of those who, as Bill Clinton famously admitted, use others for their gratification “because I could.”
The Boston Globe has for several months investigated sexual abuse in dozens of private schools in New England. Those in positions of authority in those schools refuse to believe allegations, fail to investigate serial complaints, and protect their staff–all the while apparently obtuse to the potentially life-long disruption in the psyches of the young victims.
Power is often used for egotistical purposes. Many of us have watched “Scandal” or “House of Cards”. So we are quite familiar with fictional portrayals of the interaction between sex and power. Many of you probably saw today the nonfictional version revealed in the NYT investigation of Donald Trump’s habitual treatment of women.
But abusing children to me is in a category all its own. With abuse of children there is zero basis for claiming that there is even the smallest amount of shared responsibility.
The colleges, schools, religious organizations, and governmental agencies that hide and protect such behavioral outrages deserve a torrent of contempt.
With the control of media by large private corporations, how refreshing to see the fruits of the few remaining investigatory units in contemporary journalism. Those journalists together with documentary filmmakers permit us a tiny open window through which we can appreciate the lengths organizations will go to manufacture a compelling reputation.