Royal Commission hears testimony of systematic abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse began its public hearings this week. The hearings are taking place in Ballartis holding long-awaited public hearings in Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. The purpose is to examine the abuse children experiences at the hands of Catholic clergy over the last few decades, particularly during the 1970s. It is not good:

Ballarat was one of the most horrific sites of abuse and it was revealed that in 1971, all male teachers and the chaplain at the St Alipius primary school were molesting children.

[Senior Counsel Assisting the Commission Gail] Furness said the royal commission would also hear from a survivor who had a photograph of his grade four class at St Alipius in the 1970s.

She said he would tell the hearing, of the 33 boys pictured, 12 had committed suicide.

That is astounding. It is shocking in part because of the severity of the impact. A third of the boys from a single class committed suicide. More troubling is that apparently all the men in positions of power in the school abused children. It also appears that many of the women at the schools knew of the abuse and did nothing to stop it. Sometimes they engaged in abuse themselves.

I find it difficult to believe that something like that could happen and no one would know about it. There are too many people, both abusers and victims, involved for this to go unheard and unseen. This is not just a cover-up by the Catholic Church. This also implicates the Australian local government. Many people had to know about this and choose to ignore it for it to get to this stage.

The stories the men share are particularly horrific, not only in their physical brutality but also in the callousness displayed by the abusers and their enablers. For example: Continue reading

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Illiberal Feminism Is Running Amok — When men disagree with illiberal feminists, a favored silencing tactic is to accuse them of “mansplaining.” The term grew out of a fairly brilliant 2008 essay by feminist writer Rebecca Solnit, who described the exquisitely annoying feeling of having a certain type of man condescendingly lecture a woman on a topic about which he knows very little—in this case Solnit’s own book.

Men Can Be Raped Too: Expert Urges Government to Recognize Male Rape — For the sake of gender equality, Jia Jian, a legal expert lecturer at the Chongqing-based Southwest University of Political Science and Law, made a proposal last Monday that the Chinese government expand the Criminal Law’s definition of rape victims in order to include males.

National support for abused men — For the first time in New Zealand, a national structure has been set up specifically to support male survivors of sexual abuse. Members from regional support groups around the country gathered at a hui in Nelson and made a commitment to the body, which would be known as the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (MSSAT).

Sexual assault cases: ‘Nirbhaya’ centres to focus on young male victims — Growing increasingly aware of molestation and sexual assault of young boys, the civic body will soon set up ‘Nirbhaya’ centres that, apart from providing medico-legal, surgical and psychological counseling to women victims, will also specifically cater to adolescent boys who have been subjected to such assaults. Continue reading

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Boys and Men Suffer Sex Abuse, Too… — My thesis here is that many more American males are victims of sexual abuse than most people know or care about. How many people would guess that, according to a recent study, twenty percent of reported incidents of sexual abuse in the active duty military involve male victims? The report admits that counting the number of male victims is a problem because many male victims of sexual abuse either remain quiet about it or call it something else (e.g., “hazing”).

Children’s panel boss abused young victim before official meetings — The victim wept as he told a jury how Daniel Ross attacked him at the panel’s Glasgow headquarters in the early 1990s. The now father-of-four recalled how Ross “groomed” him and went on to abuse him again before vital hearings. Ross, who was also a special police constable, had by this time already preyed on another vulnerable boy he met through the children’s panel and attacked a third young man.

Damages sought for boy victims of sex abuse –The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice and sought the response of the Delhi government on a plea challenging the provisions of the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme of 2011, on grounds that it discriminates against male victims of child sexual abuse. The plea has also sought enhancement in the amount of compensation given to child victims of sexual assault. Continue reading

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Diocese of Joliet will pay $4.14 million to 14 men abused as boys by pedophile priests — A suburban Chicago diocese will pay millions in a settlement with 14 men who, as children, were abused by five Roman Catholic priests. The Diocese of Joliet will fork over $4.14 million to the victims, many of whom were preteens when the abuse took place at several different churches during the 1960s through the 1980s, according to the Hurley, McKenna & Mertz law firm, which represented the victims.

Former School Police Officer Hired To Protect Students Raped 22 Boys Instead — Former Pittsburgh school police officer Robert Lellock has been arrested and charged with raping 22 male students he was hired to protect. A federal lawsuit notes that school officials should have known about the abuse, as Lellock was frequently taking boys out of the classroom to rape them in a janitor’s closet.

The hidden epidemic of male rape victims — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but the public discourse surrounding this controversial issue focuses exclusively on one gender. Unfortunately, there is a perception that rape is purely a gendered phenomenon and that it is rare for men to be sexually assaulted, particularly by women. When we look at the data, though, these assumptions are exposed as inherently flawed. Continue reading

The slippery slope of reasoning

I am not a fan of slippery slope arguments. People tend to make them when dealing with sensitive topics. If the other side cannot be convinced by a basic argument, the speaker turns to the slippery slope argument. This play on extremes is meant to show the flaws in the other side’s position. Typically, however, it only shows how invested the speaker is in a given issue.

Yet sometimes there is a validity to the argument. Case in point: Indiana’s new religious freedom law. Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law early last week. The move prompted immediate outrage over the impression that the law allows people to discriminate against gay people under the guise of protecting religious rights. If someone belongs to a religion that opposes gay marriage and refuses to serve a gay couple, say by baking a wedding cake, the law protects the religious person from being sued.

That was not, however, how the law was taken. Both sides saw it is as a wholesale allowance of general discrimination. Many on the right would deny that, claiming that businesses could not discriminate against individual gay people. Yet that is not how some supporting the law responded.  Continue reading

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Exeter football coach Anthony Mitchell jailed for raping boys — Anthony Mitchell used his position as manager of the team in the 1970s to gain access to 11 and 12-year-old boys. Mitchell, of Exeter, fed his victims drink or Mogadon sleeping pills before abusing them on overnight trips, the city’s crown court heard. His victims were prompted by the Rolf Harris and Jimmy Savile scandals to report his crimes to police.

Former Shefford boys are still fighting for justice over abuse — BACK in the 1990s I received a call from someone who had ‘a big story’. I was new to journalism so was quite excited but my more experienced, sceptical colleagues were unconvinced. ‘If it’s a cat up a tree, don’t offer to get it down for them,’ was the advice. This was the first time I met Damian Chittock and heard the story of St Francis Boys’ Home, Shefford. The home was run by the Catholic Church and the residents were mainly abandoned or orphaned boys between the ages of six and sixteen.

German prof apologizes after denying internship to male Indian due to ‘rape problem’ — A German professor has apologized for denying an internship to a male Indian student, citing India’s “rape problem” as a reason for his disqualification. It comes after Germany’s envoy wrote a scathing letter objecting to the professor’s reasoning. “I have made a mistake,” wrote biochemistry Professor Annette Beck-Sickinger of the University of Leipzig in a statement on Monday. “I sincerely apologise to everyone whose feelings I have hurt.” Continue reading

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Big increase in male sexual abuse victims contacting Warwickshire charity — A charity working with male victims of sexual assault from Coventry and Warwickshire say they have been ‘‘inundated” with new clients following a series of high profile abuse scandals. Staff at RoSA (Rape or Sexual Abuse Support Services) have provided counselling support for nearly 200 men in the last financial year – many of whom were subjected to abuse when they were younger.

Boy cross-examined by ‘sex abuser’ dad in molestation case — A Brooklyn dad accused of molesting his son acted as his own lawyer in court Wednesday — forcing the now-14-year-old to be cross-examined by him. As if taking the stand and recounting the details of his alleged abuse weren’t painful enough, the courageous youngster had to suffer the indignity of answering outrageous questions from the man he says sexually molested and beat him starting at age 8.

Chicago-Area Imam Charged With Sex Abuse at Islamic School — The longtime head of a suburban Chicago Islamic school has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman who worked there, and a civil suit filed Tuesday accuses him of abusing that employee and three teenage students. The legal actions shed light on an issue that even many Muslims say is too often pushed into the shadows within their communities. Continue reading