Terrorism does come in many forms. The September 11, 2001 tragedy changed the world and I will never forget the phone call that woke me up that morning. The call from my oldest daughter on the east coast, a freshman in college who arrived only 3 days earlier, first time away from home. "Mom, turn on the TV, something terrible has happened in New York, I'm scared, want to come home, there is going to be a terrible war. What is happening?" The fear for all was overwhelming -- no matter where you lived that day. Soon after I received the first call, Nicole called me again crying, sharing how many students in her dorm had family working in the World Trade Center towers and how college leadership implemented resources for collecting blood donations and support for those who had to leave school, to look for family members that worked in the towers. Suddenly, "terrorism" took on a new meaning.
Terrorism comes in many forms. At 8 years old, I can still remember the feelings of fear when President Kennedy was shot in Dallas and the terror in my 3rd grade teacher's face when she announced to the class "President Kennedy has been shot." Those who grew up in the 60's and 70's will never forget what followed the assassination of President Kennedy, the tragic assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. How could we not feel the pain of their families and children? For most of us, this was our first exposure to the meaning of "terrorism."
The definition of terrorism as found in Thesaurus is: intimidation, terror and terror campaign. Terrorism can take many different forms -- often disguised. As an advocate for clergy sex abuse victims and their families, the 5 year anniversary of the Boston Globe's reporting of the clergy sex abuse scandals was remembered last weekend. Together, many united in honor of those who were terrorized by clergy sex abuse crimes, 54 vigils were held throughout the country with attempts to reach out to the public and those suffering in silence.
Sadly, 5 years after the clergy sex abuse crisis erupted in Boston, no one really knows the exact number of childhood victims of sex abuse or how many parents, priests, nuns or employees were subtly or publicly punished for speaking out to protect a child. Are freedoms of speech, press and opinion guaranteed? Yes, intimidation, abuse of the judicial process and terror campaigns by legal and church leaders continue, without corrective action.
The world continues to fight the war against terrorism, yet, how many individuals, legal, government, political or religious leaders have actually taken the time to analyze the serious life long disabilities and "terror" that children and families are forced to endure, without resources, due process or justice in a court of law?
If you have difficulty understanding this analogy, a quick www.google.com search using one of the terms "clergy sex abuse - sex abuse legislation - expired statutes of limitation - mandated reporting laws -- whistleblower protections", will open your eyes to the truths about sex abuse crimes and fear of speaking out to protect others is one of the most disguised forms of "terrorism" the world faces today.
Without justice, there will never be peace. Without peace, faith and our country's laws are empty.