April 4, 2019-
This morning, I read a news report that a recently dismissed Arizona state legislator had remarked to a fellow diner, at a recent luncheon, that, hypothetically speaking, sexual behaviour towards children, by adults, would be “part of the experience” The comments are supposedly on tape, having been streamed. Sexually activity should not be part of any child’s experience.
In all my years of working with children and teens, I have seen this mindset rear its ugly mug, time and again. It has never been part of my own mindset. Many of us, in the course of our daily work, have hugged or held our charges, boys and girls alike. It is not for our own physical or emotional gratification. The child comes up to us, is reassured that all is going to be okay and goes off again, free of any trauma.
This same ex-legislator, in a couple of instances, has minimized the extent of sex trafficking of minors. That mindset is, woefully, far more rampant in our society-and globally, than one might imagine. The judiciary is rife with men and women who pronounce themselves “disgusted” with the young people brought before them, on charges of prostitution. The implication seems to be that the poor, deprived old man who is found in the child’s/teen’s company is actually entitled, under the law, to gratification.
I am an older man, and I will pass on that entitlement, thank you. I agree with the judge who stated: “Children should be at home, with their parents.” That is why human trafficking, especially of minors, is an abomination. Children, under normal circumstances, ARE at home, particularly at night, especially after hours. This is true, even if they run away, for a bit, in fits of pique. Many runaways find their way home.
Normalcy, though, is not always on everyone’s plate. The streets abound with teens, and children, living in insecure environments. Predators smell money and power, and the hook-ups happen. The causes of the kids being away from home are almost as many as the number of young people. Generally speaking, though, it boils down to a person-parent, parent’s live-in friend, other family member not regarding a child or teen as fully human, totally worthy of respect.
Having grown up in a home, where even my deeply-flawed person was loved and cherished, with parents who blocked my running away-more than once, my deepest inclination is to love those who aren’t. I have seen adults who were battered, pummeled, sexually-assaulted as children. The resulting human being is an horrific sight. That visage underscores the vileness of the comments made by the above-mentioned ex-legislator, the judge who sentenced two teen girls to the maximum penalty, for “being aggressors” towards the man who purchased them from their pimp, and the Catholic priest who told me, during an interview in 1975, that there was “no such thing as child abuse”. Shame on all such blinkered mentalities.
I stand ready to help any victimized, trafficked human being mend and heal.