Various reasons have been raised as to why instances of child abuse have gone undiscovered for great lengths of time.
Sometimes, it has been because the perpetrator has high social ranking, making the victim likely to be disbelieved. In others, power distance factors have come into play. The violent guard, or bully Salvation Army officer, employed threats to silence their victims. Others were too isolated from public scrutiny, as in orphanages.
In many cases, the power over the victim was spiritual, either as being a “Man of God” or some sort of role-model figure. Sometimes victims and their families knew they could be socially ostracized by their sub-cultural community. In the last couple of examples, parents were also silenced by reverence for clergy and the church.
Recent claims against prominent members of the entertainment industry raise some new questions, which should be looked at by the Royal Commission. They are concerns which also relate to the sporting industry (see previous posting). This is because the power is to provide, or deny, great financial success to the victims. Here, parents have sometimes may have looked the other way out of a misguided sense of doing the best for their children’s futures.
The fact that many parents, and children, have dreams of the sort of success attained by Shirley Temple (pictured above), made things a lot easier for the dance instructor arrested this week on alleged paedophile offences, and for the prominent actor arrested for allegedly preying on his child actors.
The Royal Commission is charged with looking at institutional responses. This means that safe-guards are a key focus of recommendations. The entertainment industry is particularly lacking in this regard, when it comes to children, even though sexual harassment of adults in the industry would bring an immediate, strong response from many quarters.
The other concern is that there is no clearly-defined responsibility for the safe-guards, should they be developed. Over-regulation of the entertainment industry would inhibit free expression, but some control must be available to protect children.
Would the responsible body be the entertainment unions? Would it be a government responsibility through the likes of a child actors’ Ombudsman? How much responsibility should devolve on the parents? Should there be a licensing body, for child actor businesses, which then would be responsible for maintaining standards of protection?
These and many other questions need to be raised, discussed and solutions proposed, then enacted. This is rather urgent, since this is definitely one of the areas where abuses are on-going, so that victims are still being produced – right now. Is there no-one in the industry who will take the lead?
Read more here:
TOMORROW: The big man will speak
That’s all I can say
Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)