Monday, August 01, 2005

Out Comes the Soapbox...

This was on for about 5 minutes today. I'm sure that to many people, it's a minor incident: A kidnapped girl was found alive and returned to her mother. Newsies tend to prefer the perpetually missing/horrendously killed endings to kidnapped-child stories, but they did run this one briefly.

Being a mom who's probably a little paranoid, I read this article from start to finish, and I have to tell you that by the end of it, I was sick to my stomach. It's a peeve of mine, as some of you know, the way the U.S. legal system treats child molestation as if it were a minor peccadillo instead of a horrific, brutal, selfish act that harms only the innocent. Terrorism, in short.

So why don't we treat it as seriously? The man who kidnapped the girl in this article had been convicted before of child molestation. He served one year, got out of jail, started dating a woman, then kidnapped and raped her daughter. In this country, he might get a whole 3 years for the second count. But the kidnapping, ah, that carries a life sentence. Can somebody please explain to me why torture (because that's what it is) is so much less offensive than the means taken to get someone into your hands for the purpose of torturing them? Well, as long as that person is a helpless, trusting child.

I think that the jail time for molesters ought to equal the sum total of all the therapy/recovery/general misery time their victims will have to spend (estimated, unless we can just hold them until everyone's feeling much better). At the minimum. You ruin someone's life, you get yours ruined. The guy in this article got his: he made the mistake of taking his victim to Mexico, and the U.S. authorities are leaving him there. Sure, he may only get 38 years instead of life, but it'll be in a Mexican prison. Hasta la vista, @$$#*!&.


lchan said...

You ruin someone's life, you get yours ruined.

Absolutely. This stuff makes me so angry I can't even think straight. We have to get really tough on anyone who hurts a child.

sallwood said...

It really says a lot to the child who suffers, doesn't it? "We are more offended at the fact that he got caught taking something that was "mine" than what he did to you." Not much in the way of validation, which is key in recovery.

Scone said...

And here's another factor that makes it worse: You're not going to get most molesters for kidnapping because they don't need to. Since most molesters are trusted by the children and their parents, they have no reason to kidnap anyone. They just carry on in the safety and privacy of their (or the child's) own home. If they get caught, they might get a little hand-slap, but then they're right out there doing it again. How they must laugh.

I won't even go into the details of how hard it is to get someone to believe you when someone in your family's inner circle is doing such a horrific thing... all they have to do is deny it, mostly. Gah! I went there after all.

sallwood said...

When I was my daughter's age, I was given the choice to prosecute or not. My mother laid out all of the sacrifices that would be made if we decided to do it, made sure I knew it would be public and everyone would know, and then said "You don't really want to suffer more than you already have, do you?" So, I agreed. I was 11. What could I do? Anyway, it took nearly 20 years to go get my own validation and stop waiting for someone(mainly, my mother,who later married him and kept up with the "You made the decision, you have to live with it, but the offender also) who wasn't going to give it to me to do so, so I could heal. 20 years. So, while acknowledged, it wasn't punished. But he has carried this and tried to make up for it. He has apologized sincerely and backed it with action. No, he isn't alone with my children, but he is a part of my life, since he remained part of the family. We all know what he did, and he knows what he did. We move on from there.