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Codes of Silence and Child Abuse Cover-Ups: The Sick Underbelly of Institutions in the US

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, child, children, corruption, crime, culture, dishonesty, education, family, government, law, media, police, politics, religion, rights, sadness, society, violence )

- 2277 days ago -
Mark Berndt, the teacher at the center of the Miramonte scandal, is charged with at least 23 acts of lewd behavior that took place between 2005-2010, although emerging evidence suggests that he abused children as early as 1994.

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Kit B (276)
Sunday March 25, 2012, 3:34 pm

If the recent spate of news headlines about Catholic priest pedophiles and the media frenzy surrounding allegations against Jerry Sandusky and the Penn State cover-up are any indication, the United States is currently experiencing a child sex abuse epidemic. This is decidedly not the case. During the last decade, approximately 80,000 cases of child sexual abuse have been reported per annum.(i) We are not experiencing an outbreak of any kind, what the numbers indicate - and these are grossly underreported - is that child abuse is a systemic and widespread problem. The difference in perception lies in the fact that the public has shifted its gaze from individual offenders to once-trusted social institutions. The most recent case of abuse to reach the national and international media comes from one such institution, in this case Miramonte Elementary, the second-largest primary school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, located in South Central Los Angeles.

Upon hearing the news about Miramonte, I experienced what any reader would: revulsion and anger toward the perpetrators of violent crimes against innocent children. Unlike most readers, however, the story would not go away as easily once I switched to another news screen. I worked at Miramonte Elementary as a grant administrator from 2002-2004 and later returned as an academic researcher to examine the cultural climate of the school site and the plight of mothers struggling to ensure a better educational environment for their children. I have maintained close ties to members of the community ever since.

By Nathalia Jaramillo, Truthout | News Analysis

Please read full article.

Terry King (113)
Sunday March 25, 2012, 7:48 pm
In my opinion there is no one lower than someone who would abuse a position of power to harm a child. In the unlikely event that there is an afterlife, I'm sure that there is a special place in Hell for these animals!

Michael T (82)
Sunday March 25, 2012, 8:31 pm
No Child Left Behind created and added to a culture in which No Child's Behind is Left. The sickness is pervasive and few are really trying to root it out. We put another bandaid on it only gets worse and goes sideways. I feel like I am watching Fellini's Satyricon again.

Susan L (150)
Monday March 26, 2012, 1:48 am
Child abuse is, I'm sure, more under reported than they believe it to be. This is a very good article but even so, there must be more awareness and actively protect ALL children more vigorously. It's a problem that needs to be studied for effective measures of detection and apprehension of child abusers. No child is immune to being a victim and no profession should be exempt from scrutiny.

Rose Becke (141)
Monday March 26, 2012, 4:44 am
I agree with Sue D Ty Kit

Deborah L (3)
Monday March 26, 2012, 6:10 am
What an appalling state of affairs. I guess nothing is sacred in this world anymore. Not even innocent children are spared the twisted nastiness of the world at large. What a mess. So glad I personnaly don't have small children to shelter through this storm., but feel for those who do!

l L (1)
Monday March 26, 2012, 8:25 am
children are not sacred. We have alot of them missing for years.
children can't protect themselves against adults period. And a good adult must be wise when deling with children because of this.
Mnay years ago I saw a documentary about an institution. I don't remember who it was. But they had done a historical investigation of the group home (how big? i don't know) I don't recall. They found skeletons buried and in the walls of kids. Some woman ran the place. This formed my opinion as to why make people have kids? Why get in the way Of responsible people trying to be responsible for their reproductive life? Don't you see what happens to these kids? They don't deserve this? No one does.

Gillian M (218)
Monday March 26, 2012, 9:17 am
Not everyone appreciates the joys of being a parent or can enjoy the pleasures.

In some societies having a daughter is unacceptable because they cost money and time to raise, one must offer a dowry and then see them go to look after the husband's family. In some poorer cultures, such as parts of China and India, baby girls are dumped as rubbish. I read an article where the journalist was crying over a baby in a waste bin who was still warm.

In others children are regarded as workers and on studying history in the UK, children as young as 3 would be put to work and I expect that would be true in any agricultural society. In industrial areas they would be slightly older. The poorer people would be required to produce factory fodder and that is how some regarded them and the older children would be expected to look after the younger ones.

Some parents regard children as commodities to be sold into slavery or exchanged for a debt.

This article is about hidden secrets and happens because people will not believe. Although we talk about Catholic priests raping children, what we should be condemning is the secrecy and the unwillingness of the Church to allow its dirty laundry to be hidden and not giving up people who have broken their sacred vows and hurt children. It would allow people to see that their children will be safe in future and restore confidence. Not all Catholics are paedophiles all though it seems like it at the moment!

This is similar in that a highly trusted person has unobstructed access to children, a teacher. In the UK all people who work with children must have a CRB which looks into any history of criminal behaviour and with social services (unfortunately while the police records are national social services is local). It is a start. My mother was a teacher, quite some time ago. If she had to tell a child off then there had to be another teacher in the room so if it was a boy then a male teacher had to be there and a female for a girl. I am talking some 30 years ago and it was the only way to guarantee that the teacher was protected! It should be that again, no person should be in the room wih a child on their own without someone there to guarantee protection, for both the adult and the child(ren).

In many respects we now have a sad sick society, because people now look for all to be perverted and have become unwilling to allow their children the sort of freedom to go out and play, in case!


Kit B (276)
Monday March 26, 2012, 9:31 am

So from that one must assume that you, Gillian condone the behavior of these people.

LaurenBackSoon Kozen (173)
Monday March 26, 2012, 12:55 pm
Very Interesting. Thank you for posting Kit.

Vallee R (280)
Monday March 26, 2012, 1:13 pm
Seems the whole world is becoming sick - we can't fight the government supposedly - I disagree - but we can have control over those that are younger than us.

Past Member (0)
Monday March 26, 2012, 4:27 pm
what is happening to this world!

Carmen S (611)
Monday March 26, 2012, 5:25 pm
thanks Kit

Karen H (23)
Monday March 26, 2012, 7:26 pm
It's bad enough that these kids have to go through the act of abuse for how long....but in the end it is THEY that are feeling the shame, not the perpetrators. Until it is found out, these kids are feeling used, abused, ashamed, and afraid....but once it comes out they have to face people, parents, courts, it must seem to never end for them. Personally I think mandatory castration is an answer possibly to end the cycle. They seldom ever are cured of the desire and repeat.

kathy P (483)
Monday March 26, 2012, 7:48 pm
To harm a child or animal is the worst form of life. There should be laws that would be so harsh that people would think twice before hurting a child or animal.

Penny C (17)
Monday March 26, 2012, 8:12 pm
very sad indeed.

Michael T (82)
Monday March 26, 2012, 8:50 pm
Let us think here for a moment. Karenís post highlights some of the strongest issues the victims have to face in addition to the emotional, physical, psychological and social damages that occur because of the abuse they suffer from these very disturbed and sick individuals. I have always believed that the only hell that exists is the one here on earth. And once these victims find the courage to tell their stories their shame is made public and they are marked for the rest of their lives twice at the very least. Modern justice does them a disservice in attempting to make the first wrong right by the way we believe it must be done, ie., publicly.

Those of us who have been spared such an experience cannot possibly imagine the far reaching impact these travesties cause. Falling in love, acting on then that love physically will always have to pass through the doorway of their first experiences. There is no escaping the damage done. They are marked in such a fashion for the rest of their lives. What an overwhelming burden. Our world is harsh enough for being the wrong gender, the wrong race and the wrong ethnicity as it is.

Michael T (82)
Monday March 26, 2012, 8:51 pm
Let us also not forget that the wealthiest, most dominant church in the world, and other secular and non-secular organizations engaged in the care of children, has been harboring and turning a blind eye to these devastating practices, and the people that committed them for a long, long time. But I canít seem to put my finger on a higher court readily available that will prosecute them and it should be done. Such an action would put an end to it rather quickly. Even so, the wealth of this church, even if forced to make monetary amends to all so afflicted would probably still not bankrupt this not so august obscenely wealthy and powerful organization which is now attempting to tell Cuba that Marxism is a failure. Beside the fact that money, an exchange of property for stolen innocence and self-image cannot possibly make up for the damage done.

Michael T (82)
Monday March 26, 2012, 8:57 pm
I believe that there are two things we need to recognize. There is, and it seems always will be a percentage of the population that will choose to behave like this. We hit 7 billion in January of this year. Secondly, society unknowingly has become more civilized in its behavior and awareness and therefore there are supportive circles of people that facilitate these crimes coming to light. Otherwise there wouldnít be an environment conducive to these victims to come forward. I donít think that the world is truly any more screwed up than it has ever been, and sadly that is a depressing consideration. I think that because the population has increased the percentage of these sick individuals has also increased in number. Further, we now have instant forms of digital communication and therefore, we hear about it far sooner and more often than we did in the past. Were this due to a gene we could hope one day that it could be identified and switched off. But I fear it is more a behavioral choice and thus profiling may be the only way to prevent such people from assuming positions where they can act on their darker sides. And profiling is a scary thing as we as humans have proven incapable of being able to do this properly. It makes one wonder what kind of society would develop an isle inhabited by only pedophiles.

Michael T (82)
Monday March 26, 2012, 9:00 pm
I have my own personal struggle in attempting to find compassion for these disturbed and sick individuals, and I wonder if I can. But my struggle should not stand in the way of some law, some authority to punish these individuals for what they have robbed these other innocents of for the rest of their lives.

Susan L (150)
Tuesday March 27, 2012, 1:17 am
Karen H, remarkably good comment - though I doubt castration would be a deterrent.

Michael T - You have excellent insight and compassion for having "been spared such an experience" (also a kind way to express your point). Your following sentence is a profound example of knowing. Your comments offer important input on this topic.

Penny C (17)
Tuesday March 27, 2012, 1:33 am
Yikes Karen, those are pretty harsh words coming from someone who is friends with a convicted multiple child rapist...
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