As still one more gymnast reveals sexual abuse by the Olympic Team doctor, I hear the question: “Why did she wait so long to tell?"
Perhaps you had the same thought. If I were to give the benefit of the doubt as to why that question occurs, I would offer that perhaps we ask that question with a sense of regret – that if the victim had spoken up something could have been done. Even if that were the hope, the reality is that when victims tell, either the adults or the system re-victimizes them with little consequences for the perpetrator. Honestly, I do not think that reason is what drives the question.
Here is what I think:
· The question is driven by an unspoken rule that females are responsible for being the gatekeepers of sexual activity. Not only is it her responsibility to refuse, but her responsibility to manage all fall out of the inappropriate sexual activity.
· The question is driven from a desire to remain in denial. We do not want to face the fact that trusted people, including family members are capable of objectifying females and molesting them.
· The question is driven from complacency. We sigh and think nothing can be done to end sex abuse. We sigh and think no one I know would do that, so it does not affect me.
It is the wrong question to ask! We should be asking:
· What inside a perpetrator makes him think it is okay to molest someone?
· What in our culture has created the atmosphere that breeds sex abuse?
· What or how have I inadvertently contributed to the culture?
· What can I do in myself and around me to take down this cultural norm?
We have to ask the correct question!
Only then can we create a new now!
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