Tuesday, 7 June 2011
The Silent Child
Somewhere in the world a child is being sexually abused, or beaten, or verbally degraded. With six billion people on the planet this is a statistical certainty. It is an equally depressing fact that those most vulnerable often endure misery that defies all decent contemplation, and at the hands of those charged to protect them. As a student of human morality I am aware of the depths we can plumb, and every so often I learn of things that churn me to the core. I am presently listening to Sam Harris's latest book, The Moral Landscape, and in one chapter he recounts the case of a 9 year old boy who, for two years was subjected to his fathers sexual depravity. The boy would be bound, and a latex bag placed over his head which was taped around the neck. The father would gratify himself as he watched his son asphyxiate, only tearing the bag off when the boy turned blue and passed out. The father would then leap onto his child's chest and orally rape him. This scenario was acted out in various forms thrice weekly. Ask yourself, how does a child recover from this? How do they even function whilst living in perpetual fear?The father, incidentally, was found to have a psychopathic profile. At some level he knew the wrong he was doing, yet was able to continue without feeling remorse or guilt. As you hear this story you are likely feeling revulsion, disbelief, unable to comprehend how anybody could conduct themselves in such a way? If you have children of your own you probably want to peer into their bedroom, or even awaken them to give them a hug. Earlier this evening I was glancing through our holiday photo's, seeing my girls smiling, running, cycling, playing. Their life and vibrancy fills me with a glow that warms me even in my coldest moments. I recall when my eldest was born walking out of the maternity wing into a perfectly bright blue morning. I realized that even If I achieved nothing else in this life I had created something beautiful. I'd fathered a child. I'd never aspire to anything greater. My girls, my precious Mini Birds are my crowning glory. I don't own them; I'm just a steward for a few short years until they take flight and forge their own life story. As I write this i am aware that I can sometimes get melancholy, and I'd do well to remind myself that Joy and I have achieved the greatest miracle that a couple can. We've made some new people. I can only hope that we can give them a secure foundation, a loving home and enough affirmation to seize life by the scruff of the neck and wring every last drop of goodness from it.