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A "Culture of Domination" Helps Produce Child Sex-Abuse Scandals

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Message Roger Shuler

Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

What was the top news story of 2011? My choice would be the growing list of child sex-abuse scandals, which started at Penn State and quickly grew into a story that is national and international in scope.

Why is this my No. 1 story? The death of Osama bin Laden, the earthquake/tsunami in Japan, and Arab-world unrest led the Associated Press' list of top stories. The Penn State story did not even make the AP's top 10, coming in at No. 11.

So why am I going with the child sex-abuse scandals? They are driven by what one columnist has called a "culture of domination." And that culture, I submit, drives many other stories about unrest in societies around the globe. The protests that marked the Arab spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States, for example, are efforts to strike back at the few who try to dominate the many.

Of all the words written about the child sex-abuse scandals of 2011, perhaps the most profound come from Chicago-based journalist Robert Koehler. In a piece titled "Saluting Rapists," Koehler gets to the mindset at the heart of sex-abuse scandals. And I would argue that he describes a mindset that is present in many other forms of dysfunction.

First, Koehler dispenses with terms like "abuse" and "molestation" to describe these cases. He says they are cases of rape--and the perpetrators are rapists:

Sex scandals are a media staple, of course, but in recent weeks we've been rocked by a new wave of sex abuse scandals--rape scandals--the dark, disturbing power of which, as always, lies in the likelihood that there are a lot more revelations and accusations still to come, more authority figures' reputations to be shattered, more honor-steeped traditions to be exposed as hollow.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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