Recently the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) released thousands of documents detailing sexual abuse (BIG surprise!!!) spanning from 1965 to 1985. I think it is worth pointing out that the release of the “perversion files” was not voluntarily by the BSA, but by order of the Oregon Supreme Court. The BSA fought very hard to keep these files private. Kelley Clark, the attorney representing the sexual abuse victims in suit against the BSA, commented on his blog:
First, some background. As we proved in Portland in 2010—through the introduction of over 20,000 pages of these files, representing approximately 1200 child molesters just from 1965-85—the Boy Scouts of America has long kept confidential records of child molesters and pedophiles within its ranks. Testimony in the Lewis trial was that BSA started keeping these files as early as the 1920’s and has kept them ever since. Ostensibly begun as a way to make sure that accused molesters were kept out of Scouting, it was plain from the evidence in the case that, certainly by the 1960’s and 70’s, BSA was taking active steps to keep even the existence of the files secret from the public. The fact that BSA national was keeping a list of pedophiles was something that not even many lifetime Scouts and some professional Scouters—heads of the local Boy Scout Councils—knew about. The files themselves were, and are, kept in segregated and locked filing systems at BSA headquarters. BSA never has voluntarily released the files, and has always fought tooth and nail to keep them from law enforcement, as well as from abuse victims, their parents and lawyers. (Kelley Clark 2012)
One more organization that blatantly covered up the sexual abuse of minors. However, I suggest that sexual abuse permeates all organizations, especially organizations based on authority, i. e., girl scouts, religions, armed forces, etc. I would be very surprised if anyone could find an authoritarian organization or institution that has not been plagued with sexual abuse.
Within any organization, a cover up of sexual abuse should not, under any circumstances, be tolerated. However, an open policy of disclosing and publicly announcing sex offenders is not the only, nor the best solution. I think the problem is much broader than the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, the Armed Forces, or your perverted uncle Bobby.
The problem is not because the organizations or private individuals are inherently corrupt or evil. Sexual abuse expands beyond organizations; it is problem for all societies, especially here in America. The Rape Abuse Incest National Network reports that within the United States, over 270,000 people (age 12 and over) are sexually assaulted every year. 54% of which are never reported to police.
I hinted at what I consider as part of the problem in an earlier post regarding the institutionalization of sex (for control) and marketed sex appeal (for profit). Yet, there is a graver issue underlying the problem of sexual abuse, and this is caused by what I consider our fundamental error.
The fundamental error is the ignorant perspective of who we are, and this perspective affects the dynamics of our cultural moralities. This perspective is the belief that we are “created by God, in his image” and therefor superior and distinct from all other life. If the majority of society believes in this ignorance, I argue that our morality becomes skewed and based on fantasy instead of reality.
When dogmatized, the ignorant perspective denies that we and all other life share a common ancestor; that we have evolved. Essentially, we are still primates and engrained with the natural instincts that drive us–and all other life–to copulate and replicate. Human societies are permeated with sexual abuse because our stock and trade “herd” moralities portray open sexuality as a damnable taboo. This causes people to pretend that we are above the perfectly natural and primate sexual desires.
We’re bad off when our sexual drives are repressed, worse still when our traditional society refuses to openly discuss our sexual drives and fantasies. It is undeniable that the majority of religions, especially here in Mormonland, repress the natural instinct to copulate. In the case of pedophiles and sexual offenders, I further argue that sexual repression from fallacious codes of morality prohibit open, healthy, and mature sexuality, and therefore, it is part of the reason for sexual abuse.
Perhaps part of the problem, also, is that we fantasize and have unrealistic expectations of sex and the mutual roles of healthy sexual relationships. What begins as a fantasy about rape and/or sex with a minor, may eventually lead to the acting out of the fantasy. These fantasies might be easier to alleviate if we have a culture that openly accepts sex, and one that doesn’t vilify individuals who harbor distasteful fantasies. Society should encourage open discussions about sexual feelings and fantasies, irregardless of how perverse. By encouraging open and healthy sexuality, I think it would be easier to overcome and prevent sexual abuse from occurring.
I’m not an Idealist, as I too, am part of the problem. I tend to objectify sex. I, like many other men and women, have the tendency to objective the sex potential of other attractive primates. I fantasize about sex encounters and my kinkiness is only as limited as my imagination. Furthermore, I keep most of my fantasies for affairs, one-night stands, and other debaucheries with adults secret from the one person that I should be the most open with: my wife. Yet, at least I’m aware of my fantasies and I recognize that they could be a problem. I’m attempting to talk about them and I’ll have to disclose my own perversions and fantasies with my wife… at a yet to be determined date.
At any rate, I’ve attempted to blogout what I think causes sexual abuse and provided some suggestions that may alleviate sexual frustration, repression, and abuse. I’ll recap my suggestions (and add a few more):
- Accept and admit our primate evolution.
- Never prohibit the natural impulse for sex (unless it violates the harm principle).
- Allow sexual discourse and overcome the ant-sex talk mentality.
- Encourage people, perhaps beginning after puberty, to safely explore their sexuality, but not through objectification.
- Encourage those who harbor dangerous fantasies (i.e., rape, incest, etc.) to seek help, but make it known that forced and illegal sex acts that cause harm will not be tolerated. Society must be protected from those wishing to deliberately cause harm.
- Finally, not everyone is equally attractive, so it may be necessary to allow for safe prostitution that, at the same time, strongly discourages sexual objectification (if possible).
One last note: I was a scout, but I was never harmed. To the best of my knowledge all of my scout leaders were, overall, good people. I do not have a vendetta against the BSA, but the BSA administration and leadership should have never covered up sexual abuse. Shame on you BSA.