Six brothers in the US have been charged with sexually abusing a girl from the age of 4 until she was 15. This horrifying, decade-long crime took place in a remote area of North Carolina. Those on the outside only learned about the abuse because one of the brothers first confessed to his pastor and then to the authorities.
The list of agencies and institutions that failed in this matter is endless: the police, the church, social services, and the family of the perpetrators. The first agency that failed them is the police. The local sheriff now makes statements to the press, but the question is: where were they before?
The second institution that overlooked its duty to provide moral support is the church. The fact that one of the brothers eventually came with a confession to his pastor means that he had a church, which he presumably visited regularly. It would be interesting to go through a list of sermon topics for that church. Was it ever mentioned that it is wrong to harm another human being, that it is wrong to rape a four-year-old girl?
Educational systems and social services whose task it is to ensure quality of education also failed. The brothers and the girl victim were all home-schooled. The sheriff even quoted this fact as a justification for the brothers not knowing the full extent of the evil they were committing. Home schooling is presented in this case as an excuse for the limited knowledge and lack of moral principles imbued in the young men, who are in their late teens and twenties.
However, home schooling does not necessarily mean bad education, in the same way as a public or a private school does not automatically provide good education. Everything depends on the conditions in each particular case.
Parents can make a well thought-out choice to home-school their children, acting on considerations that are important to them. One of these reasons can be a preference for a certain educational model. Other reasons can include political, ideological, religious, or even dietary convictions. Many parents carefully prepare curriculum for their children and settle into a routine of balancing family and school life under one roof.
But let’s look at the parents of the six brothers, both of whom were charged with felony child abuse and are currently on bail. Neither of them did anything to stop their six sons as they repeatedly assaulted the girl during 10 years. One of the brothers reported to the authorities that his mother witnessed the sexual assault on at least one occasion and simply walked away.
Just think about that for a minute: a woman, a mother, walks in on her son raping a small girl and walks out again. And then does nothing.
What caused this woman to be so callous to the suffering of the child? How exactly did she and her husband raise their six sons for the whole family to find itself in a situation like this? Was the mother herself abused as a child, and had grown numb to the wrongness of such acts? Has she been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her husband, to the point that she has become too despondent and powerless to influence her husband’s or her sons’ behaviour?
In a traditional family, morals are passed down through the generations. Mothers are listened to and looked up to as carriers of societal values. A culture where women are second-class citizens produces young men who abuse little girls, fathers who do not stop their sons, mothers who cannot change the behaviour of their husband and sons. Women and girls become victims.
The abused girl has been so traumatised by the terrible experience that she could not initially speak to the authorities once the investigation started. Her life has been forever changed by this ordeal. With her psyche scarred, who knows if she will ever be able to start a healthy family of her own.
In order to have happy children who grow up in healthy families all agencies and individuals must provide support to the traditional family. Ultimately, we need to ensure that the traditional family gets the support it needs from society, including from agencies such as the police, churches, social services, and educational system. A lack of such support and encouragement can lead to disastrous consequences, as we have seen in this story. We all have to be on the lookout and do everything possible to make sure such crimes against children never happen.
Article prepared by Mike Burd