Other Abuse (Or: Setting the Scene)

Psychological, spiritual, and systems abuse do not directly fall under the terms of reference of the Royal Commission. As was detailed in yesterday’s posting, organisations will be happy to have these issues excluded in order to suffer less damage to their reputations. Again, it is important to reduce this cloaking of wrong-doing as much as possible.

For them to be considered, they must have a linkage to sexual abuses. The clear link that can be established is that they often set the scene for sexual abuse and make it much more likely to happen. Given that the Royal Commission is primarily charged with looking at institutional responses with a view to reducing incidents of sexual abuse, this becomes an important component in trying to reduce future incidents.

Psychological abuses can have an effect on victim compliance with the sexual abuse. Similarly, spiritual abuse serves as a protection for the abuser. For example, the victim is told that he or she will go to hell if anyone is told about the abuse. Extending this line further, if there is a system in place that increases vulnerability, e.g. unsupervised access to children, then this too should become part of the commission’s deliberations.

There is no real point in going into more detail on this aspect of the commission. What is most important is that there be a general awareness that sexual abuse does not occur in isolation from other forms of abuse. To claim otherwise is to pursue a discredited “either- or” argument as has been demonstrated in an earlier posting. The “either-or” argument, whenever it arises during the commission’s deliberations, should be vigorously challenged.

TOMORROW: Intrafamilial abuse and foster care

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)


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