Here's what the Pa. Senate missed by not passing bill for abuse survivors

By David Clohessy
Patriot News
October 23, 2018

[with video]

Backers of the much-debated civil window for abuse and cover up lawsuits just won't compromise.

So says Pennsylvania state Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati.

But, Scarnati, R-Jefferson, couldn't be more wrong.

Here's what he apparently doesn't understand: Thousands of Pennsylvania citizens including hundreds in his own district, are already leading severely compromised lives because of horrific child sex crimes that are, even now, mostly being concealed by other allegedly "responsible" adults.

Thousands who were sexually abused as kids, have compromised sexualities and severely compromised self-confidence. They are the extremely common after-effects of having been used and abused by adults who purportedly love or value us.

Thousands more have compromised careers, having dropped out of school early or avoided college or gravitated toward  jobs where frail self-esteems are less challenged. 

Thousands have compromised relationships with family and friends, by whom we feel betrayed or unsupported or who we just can't bring ourselves to trust others because our perpetrators so stunningly violated our trust at young and vulnerable ages.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimate that we "spend an average $9.3 billion per year in the U.S. due to the victimization-related costs associated with health care, child welfare, violence and crime, and a number of other expenditures, as well as productivity losses."

Thousands, especially those who were victimized by religious figures, have compromised spiritualities, marked by decades of religious estrangement and confusion, having felt abandoned by the very God who supposedly watches over people.

Thankfully, many have been able to eventually work their way back into finding or creating a religious faith for themselves.

Lest anyone accuse us of "emotional" arguments, let's turn to the scientific research.

The landmark ACE study, which was done in partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the U.S. Center for Disease Control, surveyed 17,000 people about specific sorts of traumatic "adverse childhood experiences," including sexual abuse.

It correlated that information with health histories in adulthood.

The results showed increased incidences of such childhood traumas as sexual abuse correlated with increased incidences of such things as chronic depression, cancer, alcoholism, and suicide attempts in adulthood.

And for those with higher ACE scores, there was a reduction in life expectancy by up to 20 years.

The same study shows links between higher ACE scores and increased incidence of suicide attempts, antidepressant prescriptions, and chronic depression.

So it's clear that abuse victims lead already deeply compromised lives.Let's turn now to the legislative session.

Before and during it, thousands of us have compromised with Scarnati and his ilk. We choose not to ask for an open-ended window or one spanning the length of our suffering: decades.

Though the abuses and cover ups continue today and often began before we were born, we opted to push for a window of just a couple of years. 

We compromised by not insisting that lawmakers suddenly become constitutional scholars and firmly attest to the legality of the window.

We only asked that they pass a bill, as lawmakers so often do, and leave the experts in the courts to determine whether it passes constitutional muster.

Finally, Scarnati should keep in mind that while compromise is nearly ubiquitous in politics, it's not always appropriate.



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