Posts Tagged ‘Child abuse’

Americans are becoming better-behaved

April 2, 2015

Americans—that is, average Americans, not necessarily Hollywood stars, sports stars and the financial and governmental elite—are becoming better-behaved.

  • Homicide rates are down.
  • Domestic violence is down.
  • Child abuse is down
  • Cocaine use is down (although marijuana use is up)
  • Alcoholism is down
  • Drunk driving is down.
  • Cigarette smoking is down.
  • Illicit drug use by teenagers is down.
  • Alcohol use by teenagers is down.
  • Cigarette smoking by teenagers is down.
  • Teenage pregnancy is down.

The main exception to these trends is that Americans are slower to get married than in the past and quicker to become divorced.  But maybe it is better to be unmarried or divorced than in a bad or abusive marriage.


Woody Allen cast as a Dostoyevsky villain

February 9, 2014

Woody Allen’s ex-partner, Mia Farrow, and estranged son, Ronan Farrow, have revived accusations that he raped his seven-year-old adopted daughter, Dyan Fallow, some 21 years ago.  After having read Robert B. Weide’s analysis of the case, I think the accusations (not charges, because prosecutors never filed charges) are unproved.

woody.allen.nihilistGrace Olmstead, writing for the American Conservative, thinks he probably is guilty because this is the kind of thing that an atheistic nihilist would be likely to do.  She compared him to Dostoyevsky’s fictional Svidrigailov from Crime and Punishment who raped a mute 15=year-old girl because, as another Dostoyevsky character said, if God does not exist, all is permitted.  Other writers suspend judgment on Allen’s guilt, but say his philosophy is a justification for child abuse.

What do these writers say about the child abuse perpetrated by priests of the Roman Catholic Church, who were then protected by the church?  Were they atheists and nihilists?  I don’t think so.  I don’t think you can tell much about what people would do by the creeds to which they pay lip service.


The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast by Robert B. Weide for The Daily Beast.

Defending the Case Against Woody Allen by Grace Olmstead for the American Conservative.

Woody Allen, Nihilist by Damon Linker for This Week.  Hat tip to Rod Dreher.

UN Report Blasts Catholic Church for Systematic Child Abuse Coverup, an interview of Kirsten Sandberg, chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, on the Real News Network.

I know that there are celebrities who’ve gotten away with sexual abuse of children for years.  I also know from personal acquaintance that innocent people can be falsely accused as a byproduct of martial or child custody disputes.  Based on what I’ve read, I think that Allen’s guilt has not been established, and that he is entitled to a presumption of innocence.

Child sex abuse and the Penn State scandal

November 22, 2011

As a nation, we Americans are hyper-conscious of child sex abuse.  School teachers tell me that they are told never to take a crying child into their arms to comfort them.  Touching a child for any reason leaves you vulnerable to accusations of fondling.  During the 1980s and early 1990s, operators of day care centers went to prison on charges of “satanic child abuse” which were totally without foundation.

Yet, at the same time, real abusers of children embedded within powerful institutions seem to go unpunished.  It is an open secret that rape of men is common in many American prisons, including juvenile detention centers; an estimated one in eight detained children suffers abuse in any given year.  Roman Catholic prelates for years protected and covered up for priests who abused young boys.  And now we have the Penn State scandal

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been indicted on 40 counts of child molestation of eight underage boys on or near university property from 1994 through 2009, and high-level university officials have lost their jobs for allegedly ignoring or covering up Sandusky’s activities.  Criminal guilt is for a judge and jury to decide.  All I will say is that the facts brought to light so far indicate that the Grand Jury had good reason to indict Coach Jerry Sandusky, and that school president Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno, regardless of what they knew, didn’t know or didn’t want to know, were responsible for what went on in their domains.

I don’t know what assistant coach Mike McQueary saw Jerry Sandusky doing with a young boy in a shower, but his action—leaving the scene and reporting to higher authority—conforms pretty much to what I remember being told in corporate training about sexual harassment.  I was told that you shouldn’t intervene yourself, but should report to the human resources department or other corporate authority.  When individuals act on their own, organizations are at risk for two things they try to avoid at all costs: (1) bad publicity and (2) lawsuits.