Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts recently revealed that he had been horribly physically and emotionally abused (but not sexually) by several different stepfathers, repeatedly, and over years (presumably, his mother must also bear some responsibility given her failure to protect her son).
He also said that he had been very briefly fondled by a camp counselor when he was ten. Several years later, he claims to have been traumatized by being propositioned by another boy in the woods.
So guess which acts of abuse got the lion's share of coverage by our news media?
You guessed it! ALL of the major media reporting on this story ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN, NBC, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, New York Times- all lead with headlines such as "Sen. Brown Reveals He Was Sexually Abused As A Child"!
Given his own descriptions, his sexual abuse allegations are absolutely trivial compared to his abuse at the hands of his mother's various husbands or boyfriends.
How on earth could anyone (in their right mind) think that being fondled or propositioned had a greater impact on a child than physical and emotional abuse by members of his own family? Apparently, the level of common sense required to grasp this notion is now beyond the capabilities of most people.
This just tells you how far we have come in putting "sexual abuse" well before other forms of abuse in our national consciousness.
Yes, apparently, Americans do honestly believe that a boy having his genitals fondled is far more "heinous" (a word they have fallen in love with) than that same boy being beaten and emotionally tormented by his parents.
Tell me, where's the science behind that?
The answer is that you won't find it because no respected authority on the emotional well-being of children believes it.
And those authorities will also make distinctions between fondling, on one hand, and forcible penetration by violence, on the other hand, even if the government and the media automatically conflates these two very different acts.
Viewers find the combined topics of children and sex to be much more interesting as a news story than child battering. I would dare say they find it titillating; although they will be quick to proclaim their shock and outrage.
As for Senator Brown's motives in pushing America's emotional buttons, we can only speculate upon any public relations benefits he hopes to gain.
It certainly can't hurt his personal narrative or his political career, despite all the "courage" ostensibly required to bare one's soul these days in proclaiming one's childhood traumas.
Indeed, he can now be said to have established his bona fides as a defender of children; a big help in future elections.
I do have to say that I'm glad Scott Brown won that election instead of that hideous creature, Martha Coakley.
In her previous role as prosecutor in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, she destroyed the lives of innocent people in her very own day care sex abuse witch hunt. It was heartening to see her career advancement, built as it was on the destruction of others, hit an eventual brick wall.
So, it is disturbing, but not at all surprising, that her victor now weaves familiar elements of childhood sexual victimization into his publicized life story.
More disturbing yet is a public which is incapable of identifying the glaring contradictions and deranged imbalances which lie at the heart of a social policy and prejudice.
A simple fact provides the most damning evidence of all: when children are themselves increasingly being accused of child sexual abuse and losing their freedom and their futures as a result, it is becoming clear that society's stated concerns for the well-being of children have very dark and unexamined motivations having little to do with a genuine regard for their welfare.
It is long overdue that we examine the true nature of these motivations and the dubious morality shielding them from public scrutiny.