Another man in a position of power over people has shocked us with alleged abuses of that power. Why does it surprise us anymore? And why should we be surprised that since the gates have opened up on reporting these abuses, they have become a flood, with no person too powerful to prevent being swept away? These days it would be surprising to find someone who hasn’t been abusive in some way when there was a significant inequity, be it of wealth, celebrity, influence, authority or simply strength.
The same disparity that enables exploitations like this to occur also keeps them from getting exposed. This is how it has always been. Except now the balance of power has shifted. There is strength in numbers and courage inspires yet more courage. The flood is far from over and hopefully will continue until a true shift in society’s passive acceptance of this kind of behavior is finally burned away.
What should be shocking to everyone is how, with all this attention being paid to the terrorizing of adults by the powerful, there’s been barely a blip on the radar about children who have been sexually abused; due to an even more disproportionately imbalanced relationship with their abusers and resulting in far more life-destroying consequences. While we can all readily agree that it is very difficult, or nearly impossible to confront another adult who holds all the cards and your fate in his hands, why then, do our laws require children to do just that, almost immediately, or lose all access to justice for the rest of their lives?
My own experience includes sexual abuse by a club moderator at my Catholic High School in 1970 and 1971. The last thing I could contemplate at 16 was exposing what had happened to me. I just wanted it to be over so I could leave it behind after graduation. I wanted it buried and gone from my mind. How could I have known that a day would come when I would be strong enough to acknowledge the abuse and the effect on my life that it would have. How was I to know that long before the devastating effects the abuse had on me even made themselves apparent, my right to seek justice had already evaporated.
The Child Victims Act (“CVA”) is the only way to correct this very basic and deadly flaw in New York State’s justice system. Anyone who obstructs passage of the CVA, for any of the long discredited reasons we hear over and over again from politicians and lobbyists hired by the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts, and their insurance companies, are doing far more to maintain that imbalance of power for their own benefit than for the welfare and safety of children.
I’m relatively new to this cause. There are others who I am privileged to work alongside who have been fighting for the CVA more than a dozen years, since long before anyone ever heard of the #MeToo or #TimesUp movements. Where is the #KidsToo movement? How can we let a societal reckoning such as this, pass without using its momentum to also protect our children’s future and allow those adults who were sexually abused as children, to finally have access to justice?
We cannot. It’s that simple.