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'Child-Abuse Bandwagon'

May 10, 1985

Kinsley's article reflects the attitude and awareness level that preceded the discovery of massive child sexual abuse that was reported not only in the South Bay area of Southern California but also nationwide. How much more serious must an issue be to qualify for national attention and concern by politicians, the media and the citizenry?

We repeat by rote that "children are our most precious resource," "the leaders of tomorrow" and "the backbone of our nation," but do we truly believe that when we do not acknowledge the importance and the responsibility we must all share in the protection of our children?

It is a systemic problem of far greater dimension than most, if not all, others. We have systematically discounted the feelings and concerns of children. They neither vote nor make large investments so their value to the adult world is minimal.

The judicial system, for example, has made little to no accommodation for youngsters. Cases against pedophiles who specialize in pre-verbal children are generaly dropped for lack of evidence. Courtrooms and procedures are intimidating to adults, so how does the oversized environment affect a small, powerless child?

There are many systems that have not yet met the needs of our youth. We must not wait until they are abused or harmed in some way before we consider their lives and issues as important. Child protection is one of the really great questions of government and humanity itself.

We have spent the first 200 years protecting the rights of the adult, it is time for us to acknowledge and protect the rights of children. From the ashes rises the phoenix, from the suffering of many children and families must come educational awareness, legislative changes and the expansion of child advocacy.

ETTY GARBER

Manhattan Beach

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