Sunday, August 28, 2011

Supernova 2, Is Anyone Worth Giving Up On?

     I have heard people say that all child molesters should be shot, that they can't change and so should be taken out of the picture.  The general sentiment seems to follow this.  No one knows how to "fix" child molesters and most people acknowledge the severity of the crime with seething hate towards those who commit it.  Maybe because of this so few accept how prevalent this crime is.  I don't think people wishing death on child molesters realize they are talking about a significant percent of the grown human population, or that they are talking about some of the most well respected and prestigious people in their life.  It is hard to find solid statistics on a crime so infrequently reported.  Speaker Angela Shelton calls the hidden prevalence of sexual abuse in America an "epidemic".  According to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, child molestation is one of the most under reported crimes, with 1-10% cases reported.  They also state that "In almost half the child molestation cases, the child was the convicted sex offender's son, daughter, or relative".  In her article "Does Incest Hurt Worse Than Grief?", Cendra Lynn reported that in her work as a clinical psychologist an estimate of 50% of men as child abusers is low.  RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network states in its statistics that 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, that 15 out of 16 rapists will never spend a day in jail, and that 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.
     We like to think that rapists and child molesters are unfathomable monsters and distance ourselves from them as much as possible.  Few people can accept knowing that someone they love has committed such a crime because we call those people monsters.  And yet an overwhelming percent of our population are child abusers, child molesters, and rapists.  Of these, a significant amount, at least 25%, of perpetrators are trusted family members and friends.  Any sexual harassment, molestation or assault between family members is by definition incest.   1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, 1 in 6 men.  The high rate of victims is no less stunning than the high rate of perpetrators.  Where does this come from?  Is the human race made up primarily of heartless monsters committing unthinkable crimes?  Is the desire to rape and harm innate?  Was well over a fourth of our population "born bad", or "monstrous", or "without a conscience"?


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