Sexual abuse is nothing new to America. The history of this seemingly prestigious institution reeks of sexual and child abuse, with position holders turning a blind eye to the burgeoning phenomenon. While the pleas of victims started sounding years ago, recent revelations have left the Boy Scouts of America scrambling for bankruptcy in order to escape the piling sexual abuse cases.
The Silenced Ones
There are an estimated 12,000 victims of child abuse in this institution. Interestingly, these heart wrenching numbers came from an internal review of the Boy Scouts of America, known as the P’ files’, short for Perversion Files. This bad news falls short of the disclosure that the organization knew of the ill doings within its premises.
The Boy Scouts of America had a record of sexually abusive scout leaders that dating back around 100 years ago. It is despicable to say the least of how these names never surfaced, and the organization continued to expose young boys to villainous crimes.
The outrage isn’t only at the number of cases but at the appalling fact that the organization knew of the perpetrators yet never released their identities to the public. The debate isn’t whether they took action, they might have removed these scouts but the distressing reality remains that they never alerted the community.
Edward Pettinson has given a firsthand experience into the horrifying reality of child abuse. He narrates his story of how his Scoutmaster, who taught him skills of using a compass and lighting a campfire, subjected him to sexual abuse.
At the nascent age of 12, Pettinson was invited to the Scoutmaster’s house and lured into the façade of learning about sex and then assaulted. 4 years later, the Scoutmaster retained his position, which led to Pettinson informing his parents. When the bishop was notified of this, the Scoutmaster was removed from the position yet never reported to the police. This reflects the story of hundreds of sexual abuse victims of this organization.
The Appalling Numbers
From 1994 to 2016, there has been a rampage of sexual abuse cases perpetrated by the organization. The screening database of the institution showed a list of volunteers and scoutmasters removed, with around 7800 people dismissed due to charges of sexual abuse. While the institute claimed to be the foundation of character building for men, it was firing 1 offender in every 2 days for 100 years! However, these numbers kept increasing as these crimes never got reported.
BSA Files for Bankruptcy
The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy amidst increasing child abuse lawsuits and declining number of members. Like Pettinson, many sexual abuse victims awaited retribution in this race against time. The danger was that if the organization filed for bankruptcy, the victims would have a limited frame to file against it.
Voice for Victims
Experts believe that the numbers that have surfaced are a gross underestimation of reality since many victims were silenced or rebuked for reporting their assailants as they held influential positions within churches and schools.
The cascading numbers closely resemble the condition of another seemingly devout institution, the Catholic Church. Since both organizations claimed to offer guidance to young men, they are faced with legal and moral contempt. Like the BSA, the Catholic Church was quick to jump to its defense. The Church faced over 10, 000 accusations of clergy sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002 with pressure from those holding positions of power.
Coming forward with a sexual abuse story is never easy for the victim, and when your assailant is in authority, the task becomes even thornier. While opening up about assault won’t take away the years of trauma, it will help bring the perpetrators to the surface, so no other child has to face a similar fate. Moreover, many former scouts who had been sexually abused came forward after hearing the stories of similar victims.
Psychologists explain that the trauma for sexual abuse victims is different for men and women. While the pressure of coming forward is immense in both cases, there is an added burden of this ‘threat to masculinity’ for men. This belief that if you have been assaulted inadvertently means you could not protect yourself, it needs to be shunned.
All victims require reparation in whatever way they can. One person’s story may give another victim the strength to speak out. While these criminals have gotten away for decades, this is the time to hold them accountable for their abhorrent actions.
Call the National Injury Help at 1 (800) 214-1010 to speak to a certified sexual or clergy abuse lawyer.