Sadly again another case of abuse and people knowing what was going on but nothing was done, has emerged. Another incident where the people at the top of the organisation knew what was happening but did nothing about it. Perhaps ‘did’ is the wrong word: they did something and were not listened to, or were not able to – afraid for their careers, reputations and families.
Hillsborough, News of the World, The Libor are some of these types of scenarios played out in the last few months. Thankfully it seems that the world in 2012 is less tolerant than it once was of young girls being abused. The culture has changed. Some of these situations have been ongoing for 10-20 years. It takes that long for a culture to change and then catch up with itself.
Vienna in 1900 was similar. Men were men: a world dominated and shaped by men for men. A rigid social structure, a sexually fired culture capped, (go on a course!) a taboo on sex, and live in female domestic servants set the scene. In this environment Freud created his theories of the mind, realising that “hysteria” in his female patients might be the trauma of sexual abuse. But he couldn’t quite put it like this. It was not acceptable, he would not be believed and hurt. His ideas would not pass the social mores of the period, nor the keen eye of the medical establishment where science was sanctified as an evidence based approach.
No evidence – no go.
At the heart of both these scenarios is the worth of women and young girls. Or is it?
If young boys were being abused would anything different have happened?
Perhaps the dynamics of abuse are not about gender but power. Having power might include being able to create a culture that covers up whatever has been done and avoid scrutiny. There are many examples of men and women who have power, and come to expect that power affords you privileges and benefits that are unimaginable to the everyday person. Most respect this power but “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”
This abuse of power creates the need for a dogged press, good at ferreting out powerful peoples’ misdemeanors yet comes with the exposing of celebrities and their relationships as entertainment.
It is human nature not to want to expose ourselves to threat and danger. We have to be confident that there is some reward to being open and speaking up: to be believed, to be taken seriously, and not be hurt.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2012
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.