Parents have every reason to be enraged by the Pell revelations

Morning Herald

March 1, 2019

By Wendy Tuohy

There is water cooler talk, and then there’s water cooler rage, and the emotions expressed by parents following the revelation Cardinal George Pell was convicted of five counts of child sexual abuse are firmly in the second category.

At the school gate, on the sidelines at sport training and around workplace coffee machines, parents have bonded over the shock, pain and fury produced by the knowledge that someone in whom so much faith and trust was invested was found guilty of sexually molesting children.

That is not to say only parents experienced these responses, but for many mothers and fathers to whom I have spoken and listened, the emotional clout of the verdict was unexpectedly sharp.

You cannot help but personalise such a finding.

The first response is primal: were that my child, and had I discovered this happened, I don’t know how I could restrain myself. It can be confronting to discover the extent to which such a base crime plays to your most-base, protective instincts.

Just as powerful is the sense of empathy for, and immense anger on behalf of, the children upon whom a crime with the potential to detonate their safe journey to adulthood has been committed.

As senior public health specialists explained this week, of all the childhood abuses with potential to alter the course of a person’s life, sexual abuse is the worst.

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