In no way does a history of abuse remove the responsibility from an abuser or an exploiter, but we should all see it as a problem when children are getting their most comprehensive sex education from exploiters. When sexual exploiters are the defacto educators, victim blaming will always be at the top of the agenda, but with a spin which obscures the ugly truth.
A retired priest from Malta acknowledged today that he had intimate contact with a youthful Mark Foley that involved nudity and -- on at least one occasion -- "light touching," but denied that he and Foley had "sexual intercourse." The Rev. Anthony Mercieca, in a telephone interview with The Washington Post from the Maltese island of Gozo, said he was surprised that his long-ago interaction with Foley had become linked to the scandal that erupted last month and cost the former congressman his job .
Mercieca told the Post that issues like molestation and sexual harassment are "in the eye of the beholder," and that Foley -- who was 12 or 13 at the time -- might have interpreted some of their contact "the wrong way." Mercieca said he is currently 69, meaning he would have been close to 30 at the time he served in Foley's Florida parish. During at least one encounter with Foley, "I was a little out of myself," Mercieca said, from using tranquilizers as a result of what the Sarasota paper described as a nervous breakdown. "The whole idea is . . . that I did something that he did not like, but at the time he did not say anything."
Understanding and respecting proper boundaries will always be off the exploiter's educational agenda.
When those around the sexual exploiter join in on the victim blaming and shaming, they are teaching the victims how they should get their sexual needs met. By mimicking their defacto teachers in order to:
- Turn yourself into the child's close friend.
- Exploit the child's needs and trust.
- Find some action which you would never do to a child and call that real abuse.
- Manipulate the child and the environment you and the child share.
- Exploit in creative ways.
- Keep an eye on what the adults around you will tolerate or shrug off as a misunderstanding.
- Rationalize everything to avoid feeling guilty.
- Tell yourself that real abusers use physical violence.
- Use the child's positive feelings toward you as a weapon and as a way to feel good about yourself.
- Tell yourself that you would die before hurting a child.
Technorati tags: rape crime politics child abuse Anthony Mercieca Mark Foley