Monday, September 23, 2013

I Don't Understand

It is so deeply embedded in who I am, I have no idea how not to feel it. How not to live out of it. It both haunts me and drives me. It is core to me. "It" is the presence of injustice in our world coupled with the depth of the battle required to shift it.  It pains me to see injustice!  It rips at my heart and gut to see any destruction and disregard of people.  It rips at my soul to see so few people step up to stop it. It confounds me!  I don't understand!  How is it that we, "the people", allow any kind of disregard and destruction of others to continue? My eyes fill with tears at this moment because I don't understand! 

Last night I watched the movie "Lincoln" and wept as I saw the burden he carried about the issue of slavery.  I wept because I recognize that kind of burden.  I know the call to a burden for a disregarded people. I know the opposition he faced. I also know the cost of that burden. 

I don't understand why people aren't outraged at the presence of sex abuse in our culture.  I don't understand why we passively accept it.  I don't understand why we are comfortable with "risk management."  I don't understand why the resources I need to do the battle aren't in my grasp. 

I'm willing.  Always have been.  I've put myself in the thick of it.  I get it.  Not everyone has the stomach to be on the front lines.  But where are the troops to support those of us who are?
I don't understand.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Seating the Jury - How Can this be?

I actually went this morning in support of the family of the abuse victim.  Today the federal trial of Fr. Poandl, a priest accused of molesting a then 10 year old boy, began with the jury selection process. The courtroom appeared packed and I was glad to see the full room - thinking, finally, people are taking this seriously!  And then I realized that 70 of the people there were the potential jury pool.  As the realization dawned that maybe 20 people were here for the trial, I was perplexed:  How can this Be?  Why aren't more people here?  Why isn't there standing room only?

The procedure of screening jurors as to the ability to be "unbiased" continued and I experienced another shocking awareness.  The question was asked of the jury pool: Is there anyone here who has a framework or philosophical belief either religous, personal, etc...that would keep you from being unbiased in this trail?  Not ONE person responded yes.  I was shocked!  I said to myself, "They have to be lying or afraid to speak up!"  Surely SOMEONE in 70 people has an internal bias about sexual abuse that would impact their presence on a jury!  How can this be?  Why aren't people outraged?

A few minutes later, when the jury pool was reminded that this case involved the molestation of a 10 year old boy, and asked again about their ability to remain unbiased in light of that; 3 women raised their hands.  All had family members who were 10 year old boys. 

I have just returned from IVAT, the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma where I presented on a panel about how to prevent sex abuse.  I challenged my colleagues that it was time to rethink our approach.  I suggested that current prevention approaches have inadvertently made it an individual's responsibility to prevent sex abuse.  I suggested that we have not done a good job of making it a community problem.  (More on that in future blogs!)

And today I watched that play out in a courtroom.  As a community, not one person felt an internal reaction to nor an outrage about sexual abuse.  Only individual mothers stood up.

How can this be?