10.04.2006

Some Stories are Timeless



The image above is from Foley's 'Action Center' web site. Are you laughing yet?

I've been obsessing about this for a few days now, because it's a story that hits close to home. I'm particularly disturbed by these excerpts from a NY Times article from Monday:

"At the White House, Tony Snow, President Bush's press secretary, initially characterized the scandal as 'naughty e-mails,' drawing a blistering response from Democrats who said his words suggested that Republicans did not understand the gravity of the situation....

"'...The first three questions I was asked when I arrived in Peoria,' he [LaHood] said, 'were not about immigration, the war or taxes. It was, 'What are you going to do about the page program?' ...

"...The Foley case also drew criticism from conservative groups. 'It's one of the worst Congressional scandals ever,' Cliff Kincaid, editor of the conservative Accuracy in Media Report, wrote Sunday in an editorial circulated by Gopusa.com, a Republican Web site. 'A top House Republican who denounced sex predators as 'animals' stands accused of acting like one.'
At the news conference Monday night, Roth, Foley's lawyer, denied that Foley had ever had inappropriate physical contact with minors. 'Mark Foley has never, ever had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor in his life,' Roth said. 'He is absolutely, positively not a pedophile.'"
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I'm equally disturbed by some of the "Conservative" bloggers' sites wherein the bloggers accuse the Democrats of changing the definition of 'molestation' to suit their political agenda. {This link redirects to townhall.com, so you have to click on 'Hugh Witt' and scroll to October 4.}

There's so much I could say about this--so many aspects to address, but I'll just cull it all down to a personal anecdote. As usual.

My fourth (and fifth) grade history teacher, Mr. Massey, who had a daughter a year ahead of me in school, loved to fondle little girls at his desk. He'd groom us by acting like Mr. Rogers, then he'd gradually venture fatherly pats on the bottom, which eventually turned into his hands in our panties. He could pick out the girls with "issues," too, those of us whose fathers, for instance, would throw us across the room if we brought home a less than perfect report card. Or those who'd already been raped by our uncles or friends of the family. He could identify the perfectionists, the girls who were sure to ask the questions, and Mr. Massey would make sure we had them. Not one of us, though, realized there were others--until later.

Who knows how long this had been going on when I got my turn, but I know for a fact it hadn't stopped by the time my sister came along two years later. So I started talking. I told a couple of friends about my experience, and I came to find out it had happened to them also, and a couple of their friends, and so on, and so on. Finding our strength in numbers, we eventually went to our parents. We were so relieved. It would all be handled.

Here's what happened: Mr. Massey, being a fine, upstanding member of the community, churchgoing Republican, husband, and father of two, was forced to put a piece of masking tape on the floor from the outward corner of his desk to the wall. The students were instructed, "Do not cross that line or whatever happens is your own fault."

I know you think I'm making that part up, but I'm not. It was more important to protect him, his job, and his reputation, than it was to protect us. Our principal, who masterminded this plan, was the father of four girls himself, friends of mine. We had our seances at their house. His wife made me waffles on the weekends.

I guess it wasn't so bad--that little slide of the finger, and the years of shame that resulted. Or the idea we gals got that we were responsible for it. It must depend on your definition of molestation.

When I read that people want to know what's going to be done about the page program, it makes me livid. That program is NOT the problem. Those young people are NOT the problem. The problem is and always has been adults who choose to make sexual partners of children--in whatever form that activity takes.

Whether it's inappropriate touching, the sharing of explicit images or text or audio, or intercourse--if it robs a child of innocence, if it takes away their right to explore their sexuality gradually, in age-appropriate increments--it is dead wrong.

Foley's attorney can maintain that Foley "never had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor in his life," but I think asking a boy (whose mom is in the next room and who signs off the computer because he's got to go do his reading for his AP class) if he masturbates face down and where he "unloads" it is inappropriate sexual contact.

And I think dismissing this kind of behavior as just some "naughty emails" is exactly what keeps these folks in business--the teachers, clergy, scout leaders, politicians...(Men AND women--I had a perverted gym teacher, also, in the long list of my fondlers and sodomizers.) Over thirty years later, the story's still the same. Only the pervs have more hunting ground.

Frankly, I'm more interested in (and angered by) the public's response to Foley's behavior than I am in/by what he did. Pedophiles are nothing new. They aren't going to go away. They are born and made every day. Lots of them are wealthy; lots of them have power. Lots of them have families and give to charity.

When are we going to start calling them what they are and punishing them accordingly?

15 comments:

minus five said...

i'll fight mr. massey if you want me to. i'll fight anyone who does bad things to kids.

i think the part that irritates me the most is the drawing of lines. turning it into a republican vs. democrat matter. into an issue of who might control the house and senate.

it couldn't have been masterminded more perfectly. people are sitting around bitching about definitions and liberals and conservatives and whether they go to church or not. none of that matters.

they come in all shapes and sizes and from all different backgrounds. the only thing that i can see being common is the end result.

you can just add it to the list of what's wrong with our country and political system and we the people.

mamoo said...

i originally had a "500 word essay" as a comment. instead i'll say "i'm so sorry tania."

Tania Rochelle said...

Mamoo! Don't be crying over this.

I'm just on a soapbox for progress.

minus five said...

t: dang. you went off and made your mom cry. again.

tania's mom: we can fight mr. massey together if you want. your mom can even join in if she's up for it.

mamoo said...

hooray for sarah. granny and i can use the help.

Tania Rochelle said...

I think Mr. Massey died of a brain tumor, so you guys can put your fists back in your pockets.

minus five said...

tania's mom: your mom even has a walker, which can be a pretty powerful weapon. she's also pretty good at making sweet jumps off curbs. i mean, how could we lose?

minus five said...

t: does he have relatives? because we can fight them instead. i really want to use that walker.

MCALDWELLC said...

Things like this are so completely outrageous, I don't even know where to begin...it is unfathomable to me that these predators are protected by our government, their churches, a society so afraid to look at the truth...it just defys all sense of logic or what real morality is about...it is truly sickening...and the worst part of it all is that the victims are children. This is the one instance in our judicial system where I truly think something violent and graphic should be done to the guilty...guilty including those who lie and turn their heads to protect offenders.

mamoo said...

m,
someone once suggested the perfect punishment for (male)child molesters:

put him in the middle of a big room and nail his penis to a table. leave a hatchet on the table, then set fire to the room. get the drift???

Tania Rochelle said...

Every man I've ever heard say something like that (I've heard it plenty) struck me as a most possible suspect.

Remember Mike?

I'll bet Kathy does.

minus five said...

tania's mom: dang. i think there's a job waiting for you at guantanamo.

MCALDWELLC said...

I misspelled "defies"...just wanted to call myself out before the grammar police got to me.

MCALDWELLC said...

note to self: do not cross Tania's mom.

minus five said...

mary: i already busted you on that misspelling in my head when i first saw it.

and you should be more scared of me than tania's mom; i'm the one who gives out the superpower strength. her mom is a mere mortal without me.

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