The election campaign of Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate is far less significant politically as it is socially. The Republican position seems to have settled on that it is better to elect an “alleged” pedophile than a Democrat. That message, being sent by Republicans to the victims of child sexual abuse, is virtually the same as their perpetrator’s. Consider the following.
Most pedophiles are “alleged” only because virtually all of their victims remain silent, and even fewer pedophiles admit their crime. Those victims who break the silence suffer the very pain that all victims desperately seek to avoid for most of their lives: public exposure, shame, fear, guilt, and a profound sense of worthlessness.
Victims of childhood sexual abuse remain silent for decades (if not for their lifetime), which make prosecutions nearly impossible. This is because they remain mortally afraid children who dare not talk about it. Even as adults they stay silent. The power and control that the pedophile creates in the child is so profound that if suffocates them for life – a fear to even breathe at times. That fear is felt emotionally by that person throughout their life just as they experienced it as a child.
Some victims don’t come forward because they totally repress their memories of the event and live lives of self-destructive compulsions with little insight, unless and until triggered by some other life event. Their terror was too overwhelming for the brain to recall voluntarily. This is one reason why after the first victim comes forward, so do many others (and still more victims remain silent).
Some victims go on to live what appear to be normal lives, but not one victim remains unaffected for their life. Any public discussion of pedophilia is a “trigger” causing anxiety, panic, depression, and other aspects of the unhealable wound that is being re-opened.
Victims who survive are told by the perpetrator that they are worthless and nobody cares, they are a bad child, and they (and their family) will be harmed if they ever talk about it. The cruel message sent by Republicans who support Moore directly, or indirectly, is saying the same to the child victims as their rapist: “you are worthless (or at least you are not worth more than one vote in the Senate), if you speak up you will be publicly shamed, attacked and blamed for what happened, and it won’t matter anyway”.
The support of Republicans for Moore has already done more damage than simply re-opening the wounds of these victims, even if Moore is not elected. Their willingness to accept the “alleged” pedophile their candidate will also damage the children who will be targeted by pedophiles encouraged by a real sense of social permission – as long as Republicans can count on their vote. On cannot overstate the power of an entire Political Party accepting an “alleged” pedophile to past and future victims. We should be shamed into action by this President and Republicans who shamelessly allowed this to happen. Finally, if the response you hear to these arguments begins with the phrase “yes, but what about…” then you already understand one thing about pedophiles: how they justify their actions.