Victims of abuse deserve respect, and open minds

By

Opinion

September 24, 2018 - 11:09 AM

Last week, President Donald Trump said it appeared the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault more than 30 years ago is lying or else she would have contacted law enforcement authorities at the time.
Nothing to be afraid of, right?
We know better. It’s only been in recent times that victims — some who have held their secrets for a lifetime — are finally coming forth about having been sexually abused by Catholic clergy. In August, a grand jury in Pennsylvania found 99 priests across six dioceses guilty of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children over a period of 70 years.
One victim, Shaun Dougherty, now 48, told the jury he was abused for three years, starting at age 10. Others couldn’t endure the humiliation, and took their own lives.
“If this doesn’t start a serious debate on the elimination of the statute of limitation, there’s something seriously wrong with my fellow Pennsylvanians,” Dougherty said in his testimony.
Even though they are legally punishable, crimes of sexual abuse are kept under cover because they are painful and humiliating and their victims know, historically, the truth is not on their side.
What’s the point of coming forward if it will ruin your life?
For most victims — male and female — it takes years to gather the strength to tell their stories in the hope that they will somehow  make a difference and justice will prevail.

THIS WEEK Christine Blasey Ford is due to testify against Kavanaugh, though it may not do much good. On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — before even hearing Ms. Ford’s testimony — assured a gathering at the Values Voters Summit that Kavanaugh would be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Sunday, however, another woman, Deborah Ramirez, came forth detailing unseemly sex acts by Kavanaugh when both were freshmen at Yale.
In both instances, Kavanaugh is accused of using sex as a way to intimidate and humiliate women.
If true, these are not the qualities befitting someone who has the responsibility of deciding the laws of the land.
— Susan Lynn

 

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