Posts Tagged ‘child abuse’

Child Abuse and Sinn Fein: The Courageous Witness of Mairia Cahill

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

The sexual abuse of children is akin to and inseparable from slavery, and thus sadly has molested human civilization for millennia. The past forty years have witnessed a cascade of revelations that have shaken religious, media, business, higher education, and now political organizations worldwide. As painful as have been these revelations, they can be among the most positive advances in human history if in the end they reduce the scourge of abuse. The abused ones who come forward are the heroes whom history should honor and remember.

For the past five years in Ireland, and especially the past few months, the child sex abuse accusations brought forth by the courageous and determined Mairia Cahill (born in 1981 in West Belfast), the grandniece of the former chief of staff of the IRA and herself the former National Secretary of Ogra Shinn Féin, have rocked the Sinn Fein party with greater intensity. Ms. Cahill (pronounced, caa’-hill, with emphasis on the first syllable) claimed to have been abused as a teen by an IRA member at a safe house, and to have been subjected to continual mistreatment by the IRA when she came forward with her accusations. In addition, Ms. Cahill claimed that the IRA simply “exiled” this alleged abuser south to the Republic of Ireland after forcing her to confront her alleged abuser in an IRA-staged extra-legal trial. Ms. Cahill furthermore has claimed that on numerous occasions the IRA secretly exiled sexual abusers to the south of Ireland, and perhaps executed some, and that Sinn Fein has systematically covered up these extra-legal actions for years.

Ms. Cahill has taken a growing, public role in the political arena with her accusations (you can skip to minute 4:05 for her own remarks) —

Sinn Fein for its part began first to respond, like religious and other leaders facing similar accusations, with outright denial, then an appeal for people to come forward with information, then apology, and most recently, their call for an all-Ireland “sex abuse initiative.”

Contrast the decisive statements of Sinn Fein politician Mary Lou McDonald against clergy sex abuse in 2009 —

with Ms. McDonald’s own positively “episcopal” statements about accusations of abuse late in 2014 —

In the past week, another victim claiming similar IRA abuse and coverup, Paudie McGahon, 40, came forward–

–causing a second shoe to drop for Sinn Fein.

There are numerous videos online of interviews and statements by Ms. Cahill, perhaps the longest and most dramatic being from the BBC Spotlight NI program late in 2014 —

I pray for Ms. Cahill’s safety, and for healing and even joy for her and other victims. She continues to put herself at great risk on behalf of others. Her presence of mind and spirit are indeed admirable, and are an example of the grand and good gifts that the Irish people give to the world.

Professor Liam Kennedy of Queen’s University Belfast has called for a wider inquiry into the abuse, both physical and sexual, of children by paramilitary groups, estimating five hundred such cases —

Such inquiries can contribute to what St. John Paul II called the “healing of memories.”

I offer only a theory in reflection: My theory is that the culture of abuse is historically paired with the culture of slavery. Dublin was used as a slave-trade center centuries ago by the Norse. I wonder if patterns of sexual abuse might be traced across millennia from similar ancient, slave-trading ports, which may have established patterns of sick behavior that hid within the more advanced culture that grew over such ancient ills. Abuse and organizations tending toward secrecy made and do make a deadly pair, and can perpetuate the abuse. Happily, the extraordinary witness of Ms. Cahill gives us hope that abuse is foreign to civilization, and not intrinsic to it.

For my earlier blog posts on slavery, see here.

For my earlier posts on pedophilia, see here.

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved

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Aphorism XXVIII

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

If the media thinks a celebrity happens to help them sell their wares, no matter how many times that person—

• plagiarizes
• cheats on their spouse
• sexually harasses
• uses racist, sexist, or antisemitic language
• mishandles money
• or even causes the death of an innocent person or persons

–the media will go to great lengths to rehabilitate that person’s image and keep that person around, so that person can help them sell more newspapers and more air time.

And if that person happens to agree with the media’s favorite politics of the day, no matter what that person has done short of child abuse, they are kept in the media forever.

© Copyright 2008, 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Aphorism XXIII: Our Age of Displaced Concreteness

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

We live in an age of displaced concreteness, in which words that are assigned power, usually pertaining to the past, displace our consciousness of and engagement with significant, living human suffering in the present.

I call this phenomenon displaced instead of misplaced concreteness because our own pride pushes concreteness aside for the sake of comfortable illusion.

Our age fawns on self-styled language shills instead of scientists and historians. It honors those who radicalize words instead of those who patiently seek truths. It highlights those who heat the medium of communication, instead of those who illuminate it. It takes all too seriously those who stake out new meanings for old words in order to manipulate and distort. It idolizes the famous for simply being famous, and ignores untold acts of kindness and of nurturing. It worships those who wound and alienate, instead of honoring and imitating those who heal.

For the sake of self-indulgence, we perpetuate disease. We seek to cure the sicknesses that represent constituencies and power blocks, rather than advancing the health of all through clean hydration and sanitation, beneficial nutrition, adequate exercise, and exclusive intimate relationships.

We continue to encourage the illusion that politics resolves poverty and ignorance, while passing over basic acts of committed parental love, such as prenatal care, breastfeeding, and reading daily to little children.

We argue about reparations for slavery from the past, but do not effectively intervene against present slavery and human trafficking that is on a quantum scale more massive.

We daily dissect a few hundred child abuse cases of the past, but do basically nothing comprehensive or systematic about halting the tens of thousands of child abuse cases that each new year brings.

We call those with whom we casually disagree fascists, yet we continue to collectively trade with and empower dictators as vicious as any in history.

Ours is an age of pride, that cannot countenance the overpowering meaning of suffering, so we attempt to talk it out of existence.

Ours is an unjust and cowardly age, an age of manufactured identity, and not one of revealed mercy made plain by Divine grace, by tested knowledge, and by courageous action.

© Copyright 2010, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved

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