I think I may have discussed it in this blog, but I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. It is something that started, at the hands of a neighbor, when I was 7 years old during the time my father was in and out of the hospital due to his terminal illness and during my mother's last pregnancy with my sixth sibling. Neither were aware or able to protect me at the time. I kept silent due to the usual threats & warnings kids in this situation hear. Like many children in such a situation, it was not the first nor last time I was exploited. Sadly there were a few men who took pictures for what I'm now sure are their 'trophy' collections. I've had a bit over 45 years to deal with it, but some things come up to remind me that it's never really "over and done with."
As a survivor I do what I can to support organizations that fight human trafficking, particularly women and child sex trafficking, because I am aware of how narrowly I avoided becoming one of its victims. One of those things that matters to me is to own it -- that is: it's my experience, I'm free to talk about it and to express my opinions about it especially when stories like the one in the clip I'm putting here on my blog today come up.
In 1964 there were no rape shield laws in my community and my name and address was published in the newspapers crime section. That made it significantly easier for other predators to target me (and my sisters) almost up to the time I was out of high school. (The official handling of my case, by APD, in 1964 was badly done with a 'blame the victim' mentality in which the police determined that I as a 7, 8, 9 year old victim had allowed the abuse with 'full knowledge and consent.' so in the end, their influence was more deeply corrupting than that of the original molester). Looking back, it was like I ran a gantlet to avoid the pervs and their tricks at times. Fortunately, between the time my initial molestation was discovered and high school, my fierce Irish-American mother had inculcated enough of a sense of self worth about my value to our family that I paid attention and learned to spot and avoid the worst predators and to extricate myself away from the subtler ones. I suppose it is fortunate the internet didn't exist back then. Maybe it's hubris, but I'm reasonably confident pictures taken of me aren't as wide spread as happens today.
I saw this report today from Anderson Cooper where over 5000 Pentagon employees were found, through Operation Flicker, to have obtained child pornography, yet the investigation has stalled and little to nothing has been done. Some of those employees are very high up in the organization.
This is beyond offensive to me. This comes across as being an institutional problem -- and if these men (and women if any) who're entrusted with our nation's military missions are turned on by kiddie porn, then we can be sure that they are NOT going to be interested in preventing rape of civilian women and children in war zones, nor interested in prosecuting it. Nor are they going to be willing to prosecute defense contractors for the same, including rape of American women overseas employed by those contractors. These people need to be investigated thoroughly, they need to be brought to trial and they need to go to jail. On release, they need to register as sex offenders and they ought never be allowed near a child again. Then we need to turn our attention to whatever the hell it is that leads anyone connected with government to think turning a blind eye on these crimes is acceptable even for a minute. They're not the kind of people I want leading this country.