Saturday, December 19, 2009

Re-post from 2006 -- Child Abuse Prevention

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.

In acknowledgment thereof, we might talk about the Republican Homeland Security pedophile guy, Brian Doyle, who went sex-trolling for adolescent girl children via the internet.

We might talk about all the bruised, beaten, starved and neglected unwanted children, but we've already talked a lot about them (scroll on down).

Or we might talk about Miss America of 1958.

That would be Marilyn Van Derbur, who was the victim of child abuse. The Miss America who was incested by her own pedophile father, and who, at 69, still suffers the consequences.

Americans don't like to talk about child physical abuse, much less child sexual abuse, much less incest. We prefer to be oblivious, like the South Dakotans who support a rapist's right to breed -- even an incestuous rapist's right to breed.

That's why, as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, I think it's good to bring Miss America's story to the fore.
Her father was a rich and powerful man. His name was Francis S. Van Derbur, but his friends -- and he had many -- just called him "Van." He owned mortuaries and made himself a millionaire.

He was a socialite, a philanthropist, a renaissance man who recited poetry from memory -- and a rapist of children who violated his own daughter hundreds of times.

"Terror was my nightly blanket," Van Derbur writes in her award-winning autobiography, Miss America By Day. . .

When Van Derbur talks about child molestation, her demeanor is fierce, and her turquoise eyes burn with a natural-born warrior's zeal for battle. She rattles off shocking statistics like this: "One in six boys and one in four girls are sexually violated before the age of eighteen in this country; fourteen-year-olds comprise the greatest number of sex offenders of any age group. If those statistics don't frighten you, you are in total denial."

Or sums up the feelings of victims of child molestation like this: "We stay shamed by acting ashamed, when we have nothing to be ashamed of. Together we must say to every violator, 'The child may be mute today, but someday the child will speak her name and your name. The children will speak every single name!'"
More on Ms. Van Derbur here. More on Child Abuse Prevention Month at the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, here.