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Where Were You?

April 6, 2017

The one question that silenced me during the movie Spotlight, “Where were you?”
Yes, where was I? Where were you? When everything is happening around us, when the victim is calling for help, where were we? Did we ignore them? Did we acting all holy and judging the victim instead of putting the blame on the perpetrator’s hands?
I am a mother of a boy, an almost two years old boy. Recently we’ve seen on the news that the police had arrested some people suspected of making and spreading of child pornography. The victim’s profile is as little as three years old. THREE YEARS OLD!

The police did arrest some people, but honestly I think it’s too few compared to the huge network that they’ve built. And more importantly, capturing a few definitely does not solve the problem.
But, do you know what is the scariest above it all?
The scariest of them all is the realization I had after watching Spotlight; if my son was one of the victims, I don’t know for sure whether I’ll go to the police or not.
I wouldn’t mind filling mountain of forms, I wouldn’t mind going back and forth the courtroom, and I also wouldn’t mind spending a fortune on good team of lawyers.
But, my child. He’s just a kid. He has just started his life. I wouldn’t want to ruin it by putting “the molested child” label on his back. He still has a long way to go.
I am more scared of the public judgement than child molesters.
The incident itself would haunt my kid forever, but the eyes of the public, would destroy him.
That’s what we do to the sexual assault victim, isn’t it? Judging them, looking at them as if they are as dirty as the criminal. No, we wouldn’t talk in front of them, of course. We are acting as if we care and we still want to be friend, but behind, we will always see (and talk about) the label on their backs.
How do you think the child molesters network could be so big? Why do you think that it is so organized? Because the police do not catch them fast enough? NO! It’s because of us! They use our so called MORALITY to protect themselves. They understand the victim's’ fear to go forward because of our judgemental society. And they use it.
Besides, who's going to trust a kid when an adult is speaking the complete opposite? A respectable, never-get-into-trouble, kind, caring, and religious adult, on top of that.
Can we please stop judging the victim and start punishing the criminal? Please?
Let’s forget the face of the victim like we forget about the perpetrator.
Let’s stop talking about the victim like we stop seeing the offender on the news.
Let’s accept the victim as a normal human being like we accept the felon back into society.
So that, if something ever happen to my kid, God forbid it, I’ll go to the police with faith that the case is going to be solved and my kid is in the safe hand of society.
“If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to abuse one.”
- Mitchell Garabedian, Spotlight (2015)
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