Reading about a recent criminal sex abuse trial in Medford, Oregon recently, I was stunned at what I learned. A child was asked to “demonstrate” how she was abused by her stepfather, complete with a mattress being brought into the courtroom. Now, of course, I have no right to an opinion about whether the man is guilty or not. But, as this well-written Mail Tribune editorial points out, assuming that the child was abused– which is what any judge must do in such a situation– did no one in the courtroom, judge, prosecutor, victim’s advocate, see what this was likely to do to a child who has been abused? It is the worst kind of re-creation of trauma: done in public with hostile adults standing by ready to shame the child! I don’t of course question the motive of the judge or prosecutor: I do question their judgment. It tells me how far we still have to go in helping even the legal profession understand the life-scarring impact of abuse.
What They Still Don’t Understand…
June 17, 2011