My Plate

Speaking out on ‘silent crimes’

Last week the press reported that three priests, a monsignor and a Catholic school teacher are all facing criminal charges after a Philadelphia grand jury found a pattern of child sexual abuse.
Last year the Pope vowed to step up the Catholic church’s efforts to protect children from Holy Fathers who like to play “hide the communion” with little boys and girls in their parish.
Tomorrow a teacher, a principal, a father, a mother, a boyfriend, a coach, a neighbor will be in the news for crimes against children. It happens every day in some child’s life.
There are those in the straight community who believe early childhood abuse causes perfectly normal heterosexual children to turn into flaming, freaking gays when they grow up.
I personally think it’s the Tyson, hormone-laden “white meat chickens” with the 40-pound breasts and no legs to support them. Those damn chickens cause little “lisps” to develop when we are swimming around in our mama’s belly.
The truth is, there are some fucked up people out there doing some very real harm to the psyches of our children.
The majority of child molesters aren’t born that way, they are “homegrown.”
While all victims certainly do not become perpetrators, the majority of perpetrators don’t become molesters without first being victimized, usually by a family member or trusted friend of the family or an authority figure.
Maybe it has to do with the age of the child, the background of the family, genetics, early intervention, but whether or not a victim ever becomes a perpetrator does not negate the damage that sexual abuse does to children and to each of us as we become adults.
Crimes committed against children, “silent crimes,” are some of the most violent and damaging crimes ever committed. They haunt us. They chase us around corners and sneak up behind us in dreams 60 years later.
No child deserves that. No person, male or female, gay or straight, ever has or ever will deserve that.
Does it make us queer? I doubt it. Does it influence whom we will choose to love and trust someday? Maybe for a few, but for the majority of us, it just messes up our heads, our hearts and our lives, whether we go on to marry a man or woman or remain single. Lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, however we eventually identify ourselves, it messes us up.
I am one of the victims of a neighborhood good ol’ boy who used to like to grab little girl’s breasts.
There are many in the gay and straight communities who have been abused far worse than I, many who are still silent and afraid dozens and dozens of years later.
If it’s being done to you or to your children, is there a prayer in heaven to help you? If you are doing it to someone else, is there hope in hell to save you?
The answers are yes and yes.
Your redemption lies in your voice crying out through the silence, whether your voice is that of a grown-up or the small voice of a child.
If you need help, ask for it. If you are being hurt or have been hurt in the past, seek out those who can help you.
Silence is the great sealer of our fate.
There is a place for each of us in this world: a place over the rainbow and a place at the table. Meet me there for dinner at 5 p.m. will you?
Don’t worry, you’ll know me by my plate. I’ll be the one with the giant chicken breast and no leg.
Love, Lillian

Categories: Commentary
Tags: featured