To fight passivity, we must know what to be aware of what to look out for. Child molesters are master manipulators. Often they also have a group of advocates that surround them as well. These advocates are often very good people who are extremely gullible and are likely too trusting as they won’t verify what they have been told by one who would harm a child. These individuals are the “useful idiots” of a child predator. In order to know what to look for, we need to look for the tactics that the molesters and their advocates use.
One very common tactic used is gaslighting. This tactic gets its name from a 1944 movie “Gaslight” starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. In this movie Boyer’s character attempts to drive Bergman’s character insane. The tactic involves modifying evidence or falsifying information to cause one to doubt his or her own recollection of the story.
- Compartmentalization of data
Does this sound like something common? Patrick J Kennedy in his book “A Common Struggle” shared some insight to what the late Senator Ted Kennedy, his father and arguably the patriarch of the Kennedy family at that time, had to say when Patrick’s addictions were out of control by his own admission.
“I saw a picture of the car, and I don’t know why they’re making such a a big deal of this. It looked to me like it was only a little fendah bendah.” Patrick Kennedy went on to state, ‘Very old-school. No ‘How are you doing?’ Just “a little fendah bendah” (or, for those not raised in New England, “fender bender”). In fact, that’s pretty much how he suggested I play it with the press and the public.’
Do you see how Ted Kennedy began to frame an event that happened to his adult son? Within a few sentences one can find, denial, minimization, and domination. A narrative was being formulated to put the family as a whole in a good light, but not his son, Patrick’s health. Powerful political families and families down any street in America are professionals at saying nothing.
Saying nothing is passivity in disguise and it is making a mess out of a lot of things including the statistics on child abuse in America today. We must become aware of the tactics that those who would harm our children use or those who would advocate for them. By learning these tactics we become better watchmen.