I had a neck-snapping moment this past weekend. I was painting trim in the family room and the TV was on to a rerun channel. The 1980’s show “Family Ties” was on.
I wasn’t paying much attention until I realized that sexual abuse of a minor was a theme in this episode. The older daughter (Mallory?, they said she was 17) was suddenly alone in the room with a long time family friend and coworker of the father (Uncle Alex??). The man made a subtle pass at her (long hard hug and behind grab) and she discussed it later with Michael J Fox (who convinced her she must have misunderstood). But then it happened again when the man held her and kissed her against her will. (clearly a progessive grooming behavior, per the Virtus training program)
She told the family who confronted the man and the WHOLE thing ended with the man making excuses about feeling weird since his divorce and he agreed to go see a therapist!!! Nobody even DISCUSSED calling the cops! They made a flaccid attempt to address the problem not recognizing that such men will typically go prey on someone else. They essentially enabled him to prey again. All presented in that ‘this is what you should do’ style the show is famous for.
Does this sound familiar?? The catholic bishops have received a lot of (deserved) heat for considering priest sex abuse a personal sin and scandalous failing, but NOT a criminal matter. But our culture as a WHOLE was making the same mistake until recently and this cultural evidence from the 1980’s illustrates it.
Hopefully we’ve ALL learned since then that sexual abuse of a minor is a CRIMINAL matter, not one to simply refer someone to counseling for! Call the cops!