In the past eight days, ABC News has filed two shocking stories about "a serious epidemic" of sexual abuse and rape of children in Kenya. Not only did the network report that "over 1,000 teachers have been fired for sexually abusing girls over the last two years," but it also relayed systemic cover-ups, police corruption, and perpetrator interference.
And while the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe have frantically and endlessly trumpeted decades-old abuse allegations in the Catholic Church from anywhere in the world, neither paper has found a single square inch to dedicate to these sickening new revelations.
ABC relayed the findings of a stunning report by the government of Kenya. ABC reported:
- "In the case of teachers, the accused and school officials often pay off the the girl's family, who is often poor, to keep the family from prosecuting."
- "The most common problem is abusers bribing police, court officials or parents."
- "Kenya's government help line says the perpetrator interferes in around 80 percent of cases."
- "Activists believe most cases of child sex abuse in Africa are not reported, and few countries even track it."
- "Studies in Swaziland and Ghana found sex abuse is widespread in schools, and news reports indicate that the problem is common throughout the continent."
- "[M]ost accused sexual abusers escape prosecution."
Just months ago, almost all major media outlets prominently reported allegations of abuse by Catholic clergy from countries such as Belgium, Norway, and Ireland. Many of the accusations targeted cases from decades ago, and in several of the cases the alleged abuser was deceased. Meanwhile, these same outlets have never prominently reported the massive reforms the Church has undertaken to rid its organization of abuse. Contemporaneous reports of a Catholic priest abusing a minor are rare, but you'd never know it from the media coverage.
Double standard? It sure looks like it.
Responding on the Kenya story, a user named 'PhilAtley' smartly remarked:
Shoot, if they'd only let those Kenyan teachers get married, they wouldn't have this problem. It's about time to get rid of mandatory celibacy for Kenyan teachers.
'PhilAtley' should get a "best comment" award. His sarcastic reply nails an oft-heard falsehood: Mandatory celibacy contributed to the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. This claim, of course, has been thoroughly debunked.
-- Dave Pierre is the author of the heralded new book, Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church.