Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Abused

TRD101:The Abused

by Michael Maynard

April 6, 2006

Finally, some good news from Iraq: Jill Carroll was released from captivity. The full story of her ordeal will come out over the weeks, months and years to come as she heals emotionally and psychologically so that she will be able to recall and recount what happened to her. I was particularly saddened and sickened by the immediate response of her release by the right wingnuts who called her a traitor and other vile terms because of what she said in the last two video tapes of her released by her captors. That it has sunk that low to attack the integrity of a 28 year old female freelance journalist who was just held hostage by Iraqi insurgents for 82 days under extreme duress and other possible horrors is symptomatic of the scum involved in today’s partisan politics. To attack the integrity of a young woman who saw her translator killed immediately after her abduction is pathetic.

I greatly appreciated Senator John McCain coming to Ms. Carroll’s defense. There are those who still question McCain’s “loyalty” and courage even after hearing the accounts of the torture and treatment the Senator received in Vietnam. I can understand those who were detained with McCain having some resentment. However, I suggest that even they should know that, even with the best capture and torture training, everyone has their own unique breaking point, and they should be sympathetic knowing that McCain has to live with what he did after reaching his breaking point for the rest of his life.

Jill Carroll was not trained nor as prepared for being captured. We don’t know what was done to her at this time, but living in fear of being killed, raped and/or tortured for 82 days is horrific. Like McCain, she is going to have to live with the anguish about the videos she made for the rest of her life. Even if she wasn’t harmed physically and no form of psychological torture was used on her, she was still emotionally harmed. She was abused, a pawn of the Great Game of the politics of the Middle East.

She was abused and the memories of what happened to her in captivity will be with her for the rest of her life. In other forums, I have discussed my own dealing with abuse, and while it doesn’t compare with what Ms. Carroll went through, I still have to deal with effects of it every day. Unless you’ve been abused, in whatever form, you have no idea of its effects. We all have our own unique breaking points.

As someone who once considered (albeit very briefly) becoming a priest and previously being a devout Catholic, I have been particularly nauseated at the way the “one holy and apostolic church” has dealt with this abuse scandal. From my years of experience as a management consultant, I know that what you’re able to discover when you find illegal or fraudulent activities going on in any organization, let alone one the global size of the Catholic Church, never is able to go deep enough to uncover the full extent what happened. We will never know the extent that the Vatican and US bishops played three-priest monte to try to avoid detection of the scope of the abuse.

The Boston Globe reported, on March 31, that the Catholic Church spent $467 million in settlements, legal fees, therapy and training in 2005 in handling the ramifications from the previous abuse. The Globe article stated there were still 783 credible claims of abuse in the US in 2005 and 12,000 claims since 1950. Multiply those figures worldwide and you have an epidemic that’s not going to go away..

The Catholic Church’s response to this world-wide abuse problem under both Wojtyla and Ratzinger has been to blame the victims, cover up the Vatican’s involvement and cry poor mouth. The Catholic Church, as based in Rome, is in no danger of bankruptcy by any means. But, by law in the US, each archdiocese is legally considered a separate entity, like a foreign holding company in business. I’m not saying that the Church set up this structure deliberately, in Massachusetts, this is based on laws going back to our state’s original charter. But this structure has been awfully convenient legally for the Vatican for it to escape legal and financial culpability. To claim that the Pope didn’t know about the abuse, when the panicked Cardinal Bernard Law, then of the Boston Archdiocese, was making frequent trips to Rome for meetings is completely disingenuous. At best, if the Popes didn’t know, given the massive scale of the problem, then their executive management and moral leadership should be questioned.

The Catholic Church’s latest means of dealing with the issue, blaming gays, is as pathetic as the wingnuts questioning Jill Carroll’s character. It’s not being gay that led to the extent of the sexual abuse throughout the Catholic Church, gay men are, at worst, no more likely than heterosexual men to abuse children. There have been studies that have shown that gay men are actually less likely to be pedophiles. Meanwhile, there has been little done to show compassion for those abused, other than continuing to make them go through legal hoops and hurdles. The abused have been pushed aside as unfortunate, but necessary collateral damage, just as Jill Carroll will be.

It is the unwillingness of those in power in Washington and in Rome to recognize and deal with the reality of the problems, mostly cultural in nature, that means the abuse will continue and the future abused will suffer. Don’t blame Jill Carroll for the wrongheaded manner in which the invasion of Iraq occurred and continues to be conducted, so that she gets abducted as a political statement. Don’t blame those who have challenged the perverted and perverse culture of the Catholic hierarchy and priesthood for wanting recompense and needing closure.

Don’t blame the abused. They’ve survived. Blame the abusers.

TRD101 knows this: Wide spread organizational abuse , whether it’s abuse of power or abuse of people is directly attributable to management and the organizational culture it promotes. You don’t change the culture without changing the management.

And that is the Real Deal 101 for today, like it or not.

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© Copyright Michael Maynard, TRD101, March 2006.

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