9 May 2003

A role fit for Hollingworth
The Governor-General provides living proof that the myths that impeded the "discovery" and recognition of child sexual abuse still hold sway in Australia. Hollingworth made use of the first - that children are seductive - not just on ABC TV's Australian Story where he accused a then 14-year-old girl of leading the priest on, but in his statement (February 20, 2002) where he said that he did not condone a bishop's sex with a young girl "regardless of whether or not the girl was a willing participant".

The second myth used to deny the extent of child sexual abuse - that children fantasise - is beautifully ironic. For it is not the children's memories that have been found to be faulty in the Diocese of Brisbane report, but Hollingworth's: "The board finds that Dr Hollingworth's recollections are faulty, and that he had apparently reconstructed what he believed he was told, rather than recalled what in fact was said."

The third myth - that intervention inevitably causes more harm - is also apparent in Hollingworth's responses. In one letter to a child molester, he even claims it is better to leave the perpetrator in a parish because "your departure at this stage could cause unintended consequences that would make things worse for you and the church".

On a final note I am one of 20 million owners of the official website of the Governor-General of Australia. I do not want to read there a string of self-serving and misleading statements discussing this governor-general's various missteps in answering allegations of giving aid and comfort to child abusers. They are no part of his office and I would like the holder of that office to get his shit off my property.

No comments: