Bill Cosby – latest in the groups of “wholesome” entertainers that families welcomed into their homes and enjoyed for years, oblivious to the reality. Like others before, he not only denied the rumours of his sexual abuse, he attacked and belittled the victims encouraging die hard fans to turn against them and victimize them even further.
The fear of not being believed is the biggest barrier for many victims of sexual abuse. Time does no-one any healing favours here. It bolsters the idea for the perpetrator that they can act without any real consequences and it furthers the idea for the victims that they don’t matter. Justice is not just about law, it is often necessary to facilitate, or even begin, the process of healing.
I would like to single out Janice Dickinson among Bill Crosby’s victims. Who has not watched her over the years, with her out of control and often inappropriate behaviour and her eventual stint with Dr. Drew in rehab and not realized there is something really wrong with this woman? When we see people who act out like she did, we tend to discount them as people. We no longer seem to be able to look at symptoms and search for the underlying cause. It is easier to convince ourselves, some people are just like that, and to blame her. Have we become that callous we no longer see pain?
That is the problem, people are NOT just like that. They are not just born out of control, or bad. Even children born with severe physical and mental problems don’t always have to go down the road of complete chaos. The effort of nurture does have a tremendous impact for good and lack of it can have a tremendous negative impact. Abuse, in any form, scars the soul. The individual is left with a sometimes life long pursuit of trying to sort out the incident in their mind, in a way that can restore their heart back to the moment before they became a victim and no longer owned their destiny.
Sexual crimes are not over once the act ends or when the perpetrator leaves. Neither is it over when he/she is caught or convicted. Try to get the ink drop out of even a bowl of water. We are stained by our experiences and those experiences impact us on many levels. Physical damage can be healed. Emotional damage can be managed, but spiritual damage, that which scars our sense of self and safety is not something that heals or can be managed as easily as the other two. Sexual crimes penetrate that part of self that is essential to normal functioning. The damage is even worse when the victim is a child, because in addition to everything else that is taken from in, so is their innocence. They are children with interrupted childhoods. Children who get stuck in their necessary development, like a record hitting a snag and repeating a word over and over. They can’t just move on like nothing happened and they lack the ability to sort through it and make sense of it.
Over the past decade we have seen the numbers of the scary mentally unbalanced, marginalized sexual predators increase. When our boogie men look like boogie men, we take some small comfort. But when the boogie men shape shifts into parents, grandparents, school teachers, church leaders, and lately, politicians and entertainers, it is terrifying. Who do you trust? The internet is a wonderful thing, we can find out anything we want to know. We are bombarded with snippets of everything, all kinds of things vying for our attention. We choose what we read, how much we read, and whether we like it or not. If we don’t find what we are looking for, we research with different words. If you want to be convinced for something when most posts seem to be against it, keep looking, you will find someone to agree with your position. Someone said recently that we have all of this information, but no wisdom. It’s true. Another article I read awhile ago suggested that people think they are much smarter than they actually are, bolstered by their internet usage and the snippets of information blasted at us through the day. We have all this information but we fail to see the bigger picture. The bigger picture here is that sexual crimes, paedophiles, sex slavery, is not just happening at the trailer home of the town drunk; it is organized, accepted, practised by many people, and the perpetrators are protected at the highest levels BECAUSE people at the highest levels are involved.
And if it is happening everywhere, it can happen to us.
This evidence of the growing chasm that divides humanity has to be addressed. On one side you have people who are so intent on their own physical appetites that there are no limits. There are no limits because they are organized and protected by people at the highest level. Like Bill Cosby and the others they spit on their victims because the likelihood that they will be caught or ever punished in any real way is slim to none. One the other side you have the rest of us who are deemed so unimportant that we are simply to be used and consumed as they will. We are to be, used, abused, reproductively controlled, experimented upon, manipulated, sold, and eliminated according to their dictates. They count on us having relatively no power to stand against them. They know that the chasm of privilege between them and us grows wider and deeper by the moment and they can almost act without any real consequences ever being effected upon them. They don’t care about the people they hurt, and neither does anyone else who has the power to stop them. They don’t care because they also know that even though we have numbers on our side, those of us not directly involved are too busy pretending this isn’t happening to even see them as they truly are, let alone do something about it.
Just like children who pull up the covers over their heads, to escape the monster, we are foolish. Not seeing what is happening around us as adults cannot save us from these monsters, any more than mere blankets could have ever saved us as children, if the monster under our beds were real. Children using a pretend protection to save them from a pretend danger will still be safe and wake up to the next day with their lives intact. Being defenseless against real monsters does not afford the same guarantee.
How many more Bill Cosbys will it take? How many more Rolf Harrisons, Jimmy Saviles, Stephen Collins, and on and on? How many more church leaders? How many more politicians? And how long will we be blind to how impossible it is to think they acted in a vacuum? When will we stop protecting these people because it just seems too impossible to consider, to horrible to think we loved or respected someone so dark and foul? When will we listen to the victims and pay attention to all the other names that are mentioned as having been there or participated? THIS is an epidemic.