TED Conversations

Lorraine Garland

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Eradicating sexual abuse from hierarchical institutions like Penn State and the Catholic Church using Buddhist Precepts as training.

When a grown man walks into a locker room, sees a 10 year old boy being sodomized and doesn't act immediately to stop it because the perpetrator is his superior we have to question the Judeo-Christian society in which we live. Compassion for the boy should have prompted immediate action, as it should have in the catholic church, yet these heinous acts continue, unreported. As empathetic beings, we cannot hurt, abuse or lie to others without losing our integrity. The more we give in to fear, worries, fantasies, and desires, the more our integrity is eroded. How do we begin to cultivate empathy and train ourselves to act with integrity in the society in which we live?

+2
Share:
progress indicator
  • thumb
    Nov 21 2011: There is something that freezes in a person when they see a horrific act happening, especially when it is being committed by someone whom they otherwise respect. It is as if the brain is confused and then divides. The person who observes this behavior is abused in a way. It is traumatic and if that person takes the step, manifests the courage to do something about the horror that they have witnessed, then their entire world will shatter. Life as they know it will end. When the lives we are discussing are those of very powerful people and those people are looked upon by so many as protectors of young people then the ante has been upped even further and the consequences begin to seem impossible to manage.
    I have empathy for these people. I have been a child being abused by a person that was otherwise respected. It was inconvenient and painful to turn him to the police and the woman who knew that he was abusing me was trying to keep her family together. She turned a blind eye. I was angry for many years until I understood her pain, her side of the story. As a person who practices(the important word in this sentence is PRACTICES)the most important concepts of Christianity I have come to terms with many things in my life, the pertinent thing to this subject being forgiveness of both my perpetrator and his witness. I understand why both of them did what they did now. I believe that the Buddha would also have looked upon the offending person and loved that person. Yes, I believe in enforcing the law and outing people who take advantage of those weaker than they are for their own personal pleasure, I do. But, I also believe that in order to make it a possibility for a light to be shined on sexual abuse in a clear and shameless way then we must be willing to admit that all parties involved, the perpetrator, the victim and the witness have been scorned until now.
  • Nov 19 2011: It starts in the home with good and responsible parenting...
    • thumb
      Nov 21 2011: YES, from day one!

      And probably not in a day-care facility..
  • thumb
    Nov 21 2011: Evil exists in this world, wherever we go. Every newspaper or TV news shows this. There is no way of eradicating evil, it is a human trait passed down as hereditary tendencies.

    We have to realize, just because we have the tendency that does not mean we have to give in. To become human we have to fight and resist doing bad things. But in order to fight something we have to see it. We can't fight what we can't see. In order to decide to not do something bad we have to be able to make a choice. Yes or no. Good or bad.

    These experiences, Lorraine, show that we have freewill to do evil or do good. In fact that's why we are here, to become good people. But many have a very difficult time doing the fight.

    The danger is that whatever people believe, they see as truth and whatever people want, they see as good. A better source for knowing what is truth and what is good is outside of ourselves. We should look for a source we can trust.
  • Nov 21 2011: Hi Lorraine, how are you?
    Compassion in college football?
    Children are at, the bottom, of the food chain.
    This was covered up! (over football?)
    Penn State, should be siting on the bench.
    I will not watch college football again.
    What in the hell has happened to this country?
    Respect to you Lorraine
  • Nov 21 2011: I am realizing as I investigate this subject further that you are right Michael. I am taking a class in Zen Buddhism and was studying the precepts when this incident occurred and I think I was grasping at straws. It is so shocking that this behavior goes on but even more disturbing that people feel powerless to do anything about it.
    • thumb
      Nov 21 2011: In a way, we very much are powerless. As individuals we cannot take the law into our own hands.

      If the 'system' does not see it as something to do something about, then nothing will be done. UNLESS someone raises a stink to the media. This will broadcast it to its viewers, readers and listeners. (which way leans the balance? is that to change the world or to raise their rating?)

      This publicity CAN get things done and then it can also make the perpetrator force himself to change. Not to find a 'better' way of doing the evil, but to not even contemplate and plan it in the first place.

      We have absolutely no control over what thoughts pop into our mind. We do, however, have the choice of how we are going to react to it.
      The discouraging aspect of mental 'health' is, the 'system' sees those pop-up thoughts as ours, they're us.
      The input to our mental senses are no more ours, than what our physical senses present to us.

      The thoughts that pop up are no more ours, than the cars we see.
  • Nov 21 2011: Unfortunately, this problem has become epidemic like. It is throughout our world. It seems to me it is not the judeo-christian society but the hearts of men and women that need changing. As proof of this and to counter the idea that buhdist culture or practice would change this look no further than Thailand. It is a highly Budhist culture, rife with sexual exploitation of all kinds.We need to look for real solutions.