Our evolved bio-logical default is as an Egalitarian social species. That default setting has been distorted by the emergent hierarchically violent culture: because we can rebalance, we must - we can work to return our cultural settings to our bio-logical default.
and to all concerned citizens, irrespective of your beliefs.
When an Institution, that has been shown to have failed miserably to meet the legal and moral duties of care to those who have been, for whatever reason, placed in it's care, which does not, above all else, place the needs of those people who as children were abused, traumatised, physically and psychologically harmed by officials of that Institution, in such manner that adversely affects the Survivors entire life times in the aftermath, and which do not and can not be deemed as adequate with regard to the prevention of further abuses, and after so many years of heart breaking requests by Survivors for honesty, accountability, empathy and justice, offers 'guidelines' such as the latest set issued by the Congregation of The Faith, that are not directly informed by the needs of those they have failed, then it becomes clear that the adverse nature of this Institution, as it stands, is a serious threat to the common well being of all those communities it is connected to and ministers to.
Be it State or Church, the same applies.
It is now time for the Irish State to act, as a humane and just Institution, to take the Vatican, the Irish Churches and The Pope, to the International Criminal Courts as part of it's own Institutional healing process, to face charges of Crimes Against Humanity.
It can do this, and admit it's own past failures, as a measure of it's courage, empathy, honesty and commitment to the well being of all citizens of the Irish State.
What is also important to note is that this applies not only to Ireland, but to many States across the World, that this is a global issue.
The first step in true reconciliation is the admission of wrongs done, acknowledgement of harms caused, full transparency and a realistic commitment to end all such practices that enabled the abuse and harm to occur.
Not so much to punish, but bring about a full accounting, to bring to an end these repugnant machinations of denial, obstruction, intimidation and power play which have typified the response to Survivors from the very first days, so many years ago, that Survivors brought their testimony before the community.
That is not to say that those who have committed serious crimes should not face the legal consequences of their actions. They must. Children have to be protected. Society has to know that our children are safe.
And, importantly, it is long past time to bring about such fundamental changes within the State and the Church as Institutions, that they might become less about Power over people, than about the well being of those people who subscribe to and fund these Institutions.
In essence this is about ensuring that the full meaning and intent of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child be fully and materially implemented without reservation.
This is the call of our times. This is the message of all great sages and spiritual teachers. This is what the future of all our children requires. This and nothing less.
Gaslighting the victimised is the Conservative fall back position.
Ms Dorries, is a Conservative MP, who has close ties with Christian Concern For Our Nation, a highly conservative group that campaigns (among other things) for 'Christian family values'. Her efforts are also supported by the Christian Legal Centre and the Christian Medical Fellowship. She misrepresents facts to claim that current sex education is not working.
She has a Bill in the House she is trying to push forwards.
Ms. Dorries has often made seriously inaccurate comments about sex abuse. She claims that teaching abstinence to girls will reduce child sexual abuse – which has outraged abuse survivors' groups.
This week, however, Dorries has gone one step further. Appearing as a guest on Channel 5's The Vanessa Show on Monday, host Vanessa Feltz suggested that teaching children they can 'say no' already happens and that it already happens in an appropriate and sensitive way. The MP replied:
"Well do you know that’s really interesting because...if a stronger just say no message was given to children in school that there might be an impact on sex abuse."
Not content with putting the onus completely on girls to take responsibility for sexual activity of others who might be more powerful that the child is in the situation, she now appears to be saying they should also be taking responsibility to prevent being abused.
A courageous Survivor wrote about some repugnant comments made by a Tory MP, Nadine Dorries, about child sex abuse, whilst promoting her particular 'Abstinence' campaign, on TV, a campaign designed to reduce teen pregnancies (part of her stated concern is the impact teen pregnancies have on girls in terms of education, job and life prospects) and old Conservative trope.
She comprehensively rebutts Mrs, Dorries comments about children saying "No!" to adult sex abusers.
"To say I am insulted that someone would insinuate that I caused my own abuse is an understatement. But this isn’t just about me, this is about everyone who isn’t able to live with the memory of what happened to them. It’s about children who even now are being abused and being blamed for their abuse: by their parents, by their abusers, by Nadine Dorries."".
The show, The Vanessa Show on Channel 5, can be viewed here, Mrs. Dorries speaks at about 19 minutes into the show. Hopefully it will be youtubed for posterity by some enterprising youtube-er.
The blogger, Vanessa, invited her respondents to write to Mrs. Dorries. So I did.
The Letter : copied to her party leader..
I watched the Vanessa Show in which you spoke eloquently about your ideas concerning sex education, and teenage pregnancy. Your concern comes across.
However, I think you have not done the depth of research in this matter, that your position as a Public Servant, paid for by the taxpayers, demands.
Eloquence is not enough when it comes to the welfare and safety of children.
You have a duty of care, Mrs. Dorries, that is both legally mandated and morally implicit.
That duty of care is to the welfare of all those affected by the work you do.
Thus it includes all living Survivors of childhood sexual abuse, it includes all those children who are today being abused, and all those who will be abused in the future, because the policies you promote will affect many, many people, and because you made some comments about sexual abuse that I must address.
That duty of care demands that you transcend your 'opinions' and deal explicitly with the facts, the material evidence.
Those who have Survived sexual assaults in their childhoods form a very large part of that dataset. Have you spoken to Survivors on this matter? Are those conversations a matter of record?
Regarding your comments which I have transcribed from the program which were as follows :
"from some of the evidence I have heard, that if a stronger 'just say no' message was given to children in school, that there might be an impact on sex abuse, because a lot of girls, when sex abuse takes place, don't realise, until later that that was a wrong thing to do ... because" .. and you continue to speak of sex being so common in Society, in marketing etc etc and do not return to this matter of 'saying no will impact sex abuse', you do nor return to the moment the child in jeopardy is in, and you talk instead of the over-sexualisation of our children, as a societal phenomenon and of how that is linked to teenage pregnancy, a point that is unproven.
I note that you made a number of comments throughout the piece that it is the girls whose futures are most impacted by falling pregnant. That suggests that teenage pregnancy is key to your position. Your primary concern. No the abuse itself.
You have used 'sex abuse' as a means to an end. To bolster your particular campaign.
That is disingenuous and it is also manipulative. How dare you behave in such fashion?
What evidence to you have to support your contention?
How do you link your campaign, which is ostensibly about telling young girls that they should say NO, as part of their conscious abstinence practice, (which I partly support : sexual activity must to be consensual, well informed, safe and fun for all concerned, and that includes saying no...) to these comments?
As a child, age 8, I was sexually assaulted. By a priest. I didn't understand what was happening, so I could not say 'no'. It was simply put just weird behaviour I did not understand, yet the abuser was in a such position of Authority in relation to me, the child that I acquiesced. He had all the power. ALL abusers do. They are adept at manipulating the situation. Check the facts. Ask Survivors.
Many Survivors have in fact said 'no!', and that has then been ignored by their abuser. This is common. Abusers do not give up easily. Some children say no and are intimidated, manipulated and even beaten by their abusers. There's this question of Authority again.
How does a child, or a young teen say 'no!' and back it up, to an advancing abuser when all the real Power in the situation lies with the ADULT abuser? When all their young lives they are taught to respond to Authority with obedience?
The other panellist mentioned the fact that many parents are embarrassed to speak of sexuality to their children, and that her organisation has programs to help parents get over that embarrassment, so that flows of communication between children and parents are more open?
What are you doing to address this really important communication gap, one which abusers are known to exploit?
And what then of children in 'care', in fostering, who might not have the kind of trusting relationship that nurturant parenting ought foster, where the child has no-one to turn to, where we know that sexual abuse is relatively common?
Mrs Dorries, I have to say that 'might have an impact' is far too vague a term to use, for someone in your position, with the responsibility you have, of a duty of care to those whom you serve.
Perhaps you don't see it that way. Perhaps it is others you serve, (ideology) or your own opinions you serve. Only you can answer that. But I tell you this, your comments do not serve Survivors or children who are in jeopardy today, tomorrow and in in the future.
You see, Mrs. Dorries, the roots of abusive behaviour are known, they are well described, and documented.. The dynamics of abuse have been studied for some time, the witness of many Survivors is a part of that dataset.
At the root is a lack of empathy. At the root are a range of situations and societal expressions of power, where societal messages that lack empathy are transmitted by thought and by deed, where the power disparity that exists between a child and an adult is abused by the adult, to meet the adults perceived needs, where the child's natural nurturant needs are not met. Part of that lack of empathy you have ably demonstrated in the comments you have made, quoted above.
Of course I do not hold you responsible for the abuse that others do. Nor do I seek to link you to it in any way.
If you are serious about preventing abuse, (which is another matter altogether than the one you are so exercised about, that of teenage pregnancy) then you must study this material.
You must dig deep, Mrs. Dorries, and you must, above all, speak to Survivors...
Here's some research that would be a good place to start. I offer this to you with respect and with the hope that you reflect on my comments.
http://www.alice-miller.com/ - Eminent Psychologist whose work or intergenerational abuse cycles across whole Societies, has helped many, many people recover from their trauma, has helped people break the cycles of abuse and prevented further abuse from occurring.
http://www.birthpsychology.com/ - the latest findings in Science, on the natural development of children from in utero, through birth, infancy and childhood, which describes in great detail, the natural expectations that all children embody, that are intrinsic, inherent and that if not met, lead to pathology.
If you don't, then I, as a Survivor, must assume that you are more concerned with imposing your personal opinion and world view, through the power invested in you as an MP, than you are with the material evidence, the facts of the matter, and that is, in my view, utterly immoral, profoundly repugnant and I am sure that it absolutely disqualifies you from office.
I look forwards to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
I will copy this email to your party leader, and publish it on my own outlets.
Regarding an editorial in the Irish Independent, dated May 12th, entitled "A New Day of Shame for Troubled Church" your opening line was as follows: "FEW institutions have taken as severe a battering as the Catholic Church"
I would like to point out that the 'battering' the Church has taken is nothing compared to the harms, assaults, batterings, humiliations that so many children have suffered for such along time.
Let it be that that is NEVER forgotten or minimised in any way, wittingly or unwittingly.
The willingness, of The Church as an Institution, and of it's officials, even still, to mask and deny, to obstruct and suppress the truth says it clearly.
The recent audit of their Child Protection process which revealed that over 290 cases were obscured from view reiterates what I am saying.
If the ethics of Jesus were at all alive in The Church, (and elsewhere) there'd be whistle blowers aplenty, bringing forth evidence so that the accounting was well under way, and Survivors would find comfort and succour in that the necessary steps towards Restorative Justice were being taken.
This letter is in response to an editorial in The Irish Independent, dated May 12th, entitled "A new day of shame for troubled church"
Irish Child Line, a charity that receives calls from distressed children, released it's figures for 2010, and quotes an average of 2,300 calls or messages per day, from children all over Ireland.
This was reported in Irish Media. It's meaning, however, has not been addressed as of yet.
I wrote the following letter to Irish Media to suggest that it must be addressed.
To The Editor,
The release of the child-line figures demonstrates, once again, that there are endemic, long term problems within Irish Society which reveal an almost cultural lack of empathy, for children, for the vulnerable, and for the distressed.
The manner in which successive Irish Governments have indemnified both itself, as The State, and the Church, with regard to the horrific abuses perpetrated within State and Church Institutions, and outside, demonstrates that lack of empathy.
The North Cork Ten case and the DPP's unwillingness to prosecute demonstrates that lack of empathy. Happily, the campaign by 'ordinary Irish Citizens' to demand that the DPP prosecute demonstrates that there are some people in Ireland whose empathy is intact.
The Christy Smith case demonstrates yet again a systemic lack of empathy in many State Institutions.
Rachel Peavoy's death, earlier this year, and the inquest into her death, and it's 'findings', reveals this systemic, institutional lack of empathy.
The 'rape' jokes by 4 Corrib Bay Shell Gardai last month, and the mistreatment of the people of Corrib Bay that has continued for so many years, reveals that lack of empathy.
The willingness of the Irish Government to force the Irish People to pay the Debts of the Gambling Bankers shows that lack of empathy.
There are people all over Ireland who will tell you, were you to give them an ear, that the beatings and humiliation they experienced in school did not, and does not strengthen their character.
And there are those who will tell you, that yes, 'it made a man of me', there are people in positions of Power who will say that their school experience of 40 years ago was character forming, and who will find it difficult to empathise with those whose experience was traumatic.
Only when honesty and empathy prevails in all institutions of Power, and thus flows forth throughout Irish Society, and is met by the same at the grass roots, will the Irish People be in a position to provide for their children a future that is decent, abundant, balanced and above all psychologically healthy.
It's a worthy cause, indeed it's the only worthy cause.
The facts are that the vast majority of abused children never tall anyone, and it is often only in adult life that they reveal what they have been through, after years of trying to just live day by day, tormented by the trauma, the shame, the self-blame .... often it is only when things have broken down to such an extent that the adult Survivor seeks 'professional help' which leads to their disclosure.
What makes it more difficult,if it wasn't already intensely difficult, for Survivors is this sense of isolation, of failure, of being judged by others,that comes from not 'performing' according to Societies messages - jobs, money, goods etc etc.....
There's also the fact that Childline says that 1/3rd of the calls went unanswered. We need more data on this. Childline should provide that data to those who can properly analyse it.
The figures will not go down until there is 100% honesty, and with that empathy, for survivors and also an understanding of the dynamics of intergenerational trauma patterning amongst the general population. This is what I am working for.
My first concern is always with the survivors, and that requires that the general population gain more understanding of the dynamics of abuse, of survival, so that the understand when Survivors 'present' symptoms that they must not judge the survivor..... when that is in place, and is deepening with Society at large, then we can deal with the full implications for those Institutions and for those who abuse children, whatever the manner or form that abuse takes.
I fear that too much attention is focussed on the institutions, be it to confront them or to protect them, and that the first duty is to make safe those who have been harmed.... I also feel strongly that there are some 'activists' whose work on the face of it appears to support Survivors, yet in reality fails to address the points I have made above, and if anything polarises the issue, driving people away from a deeper comprehension.
This worries me muchly. That is not to say that the confrontation must not proceed, but that it needs to be fully complemented by that which makes safe the survivors. It is not OK to me, at least, that Survivors are suffering whilst the arguments rage back and forth. Some will die, often by their own hand, out of sheer frustration and desperation ....
And many more will continue to live fragmented, broken, pain filled lives and this grieves me deeply.
I am in my self reasonably happy, and can to a certain degree, bear this grief, I refuse to shut myself off from it. It's there, it's real and it informs my work as much as my anger and my love....
Previously I have written a piece on the Nurturant Society, and coined the word THRIVIVAL. I have used this word in a few essays to describe a reality that I see in nature all the time. I have used it to make a distinction between the sense of 'survival' which is less than abundant, is fear based and generates unnecessary need to over control things that actually reduces the likelihood of Thriving.
A Nurturant Society is the emergent Society that by it's action nurtures life for all life, that by it's action takes an equal part in the biology of life, that by it's action enjoys the life it expresses and returns the gifts that life has bestowed upon it. Thrivival is the state of such a Society.
The movie DIRT is a stunning documentary, a profoundly nurturing expression of what is truly possible, what is within our ability to bring into being. It's about the living soil and our relationship to that living soil. It's not an ideological movie. It's a natural logic movie.
Watch it. It's amazing. See the effect working with plants and soil has on incarcerated people. See the rapidity with which soil and humans can remediate damaged lands.
DIRT : THE MOVIE
Get yer hands in the soil and help plants do what they love doing, gifting you and universe in the process.
We REALLY NEED to focus on the creation of a Nurturant Society, at every level of our Culture, starting with our own lives, and extending outwards into our communities, and we need to look at EVERY process and activity we are engaged in and really understand that if it is NOT Nurturing more life for all life, then it HAS TO GO!
It really is THAT SIMPLE. We are either nurturing life or we are not. And when we look at what we do, we have to take into consideration ALL the outcomes..... no 'externalisation' of costs. No justifying adverse 'collateral' damage because of one or two perceived benefits.
And we need to start NOW!
ALL LIFE MATTERS. There exists a viewpoint that is an expression of resignation, extreme low self esteem and profound selfishness.
It runs a bit like this :
"Nothing really matters, at the end of the day. We all live for a bit, have a few good times then die."
When we die, the materials our bodies are made of are released back to feed more life.
We give back what we have been given as a gift to those who have yet to come. We do this, and we gift life. That is the bare minimum.
It's a choice as to whether or not we take action in our day to day life to bring that gift or not, before we die and release the materials of our bodies.
Your materials will be released whether or not you like it or get it. That much is assured. Death assures us all of that.
What is not assured, and what is down to OUR CHOICE, is whether or not our actions nurture more life for all life and return the gift. It's your choice, it's my choice and yet I ask that each of us bears in mind that our choice has an affect on others, and if you chose not to, if I chose not to, then we deprive others yet to come of their access to that gift, by defaulting on the action possible in our lives.
I am not trying to lay a guilt trip on you. The Dominant Society is a pretty grim place to have been born into, and I wouldn't say to anyone DO NOT ENJOY BEING ALIVE.
I am just pointing out the REALITY. And the possibility.
When I confront the Church, the Government, the Corporations I do it to bring that gift through, and not to get revenge or to become the judge and punisher. That's not saying that I intend to let those Institutions of the hook, or that I give them an excuse or that I am going to be all soft and fluffy. It's to make it abundantly clear where I stand and what I intend. I will not back down, and neither should you!