Politics Biden: Declare child sexual abuse a public health emergency
3 losers and 2 winners from Biden’s first press conference
Winner: A return to normalcy. Loser: Americans still worried about the Covid-19 pandemic.A White House press corps that has been waiting impatiently for its turn to question the president directly spent about an hour peppering Biden with questions about the surge of unaccompanied minors at the US-Mexico border, how to address the threat posed by China, his thoughts on the Senate filibuster, and whether he’d run for president in 2024. (It’s his “expectation” that he will.
Last week a group of child healthsigned an urging President Biden to recognize April 8 as World Day for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Healing and Justice. The group is also calling on Biden to create a Presidential Commission to End Sexual Violence Against Children, comprised of "experts including researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and, importantly, adult survivors." The group is urging Biden to establish the new commission within the first 200 days of his administration.
The cosigners, me being one of them, are asking Biden to shine a national spotlight on a topic that has long been considered too taboo for an open discussion - child sexual abuse. We are appealing to him to set an example and start a national dialogue to change the way we talk about this public health issue. It's not an easy subject, but Biden is the right person who can lead us outside our comfort zone and begin an important conversation to dismantle the stigma that too often suppresses the issue of child sexual abuse from public view.
Biden Doesn’t Need to Be FDR or LBJ to Change America
A “Great Society” may be out of reach, but a markedly better one is possible.Unless: he’s merely passed the largest package of “temporary expedients to dampen hardship during a crisis” since…the one Donald Trump signed his own into law last year. Now, with no emergency to force the hands of his party’s moderates in the Senate, the president is poised to pass nothing of great consequence, forcing his clear-eyed progressive supporters to grapple with the likelihood that “the best of Bidenism is already in the rearview mirror.
No one wants to talk about it - no one wants to admit that child sexual abuse occurs in every community, in every state, all across the country. Until we break the silence and shame and get serious about prevention, children will continue to be harmed and the mental and physical consequences of sexual abuse will persist long into adulthood.
It demands presidential leadership and bipartisan Congressional support. Acknowledging the grave injustice endured by so many children is the first step. But making child sexual abuse prevention, care, treatment and support a national priority, and putting resources behind a comprehensive effort to prevent abuse going forward is the main goal. America's children deserve a healthy and safe future.
Joe Biden’s Presidency Has Highlighted the Rifts in the American Catholic Church
While Biden’s personal faith can’t be untangled from his politics, he also advocates policies out of step with Catholic doctrine.While Biden’s faith is deeply felt, his election has exposed divisions at the highest levels of the Catholic Church. Within days of his victory, 10 of the nation’s most powerful bishops took the extraordinary step of launching a “working group” on how to approach a Catholic President like Joe Biden. The panel met twice over Zoom, in December and January.
To keep silent about child sexual abuse gives perpetrators what they want - unobstructed permission to abuse again. According to child sexual abuse prevention advocate, where I serve as chair, an estimated will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. That statistic is likely far higher since an estimated of child sexual abuse survivors never utter a word about it. Ninety percent of sexually abused children and 60 percent are abused by someone known and trusted by their families. Experts also say that the rates of abuse are likely for children with cognitive and physical disabilities.
Too many abusers have been held unaccountable. Too many survivors have been forced to internalize misplaced feelings of guilt and been silenced by shame. And too many more will be future statistics of child sexual abuse unless we take decisive action. Until we run toward this problem - unless we talk about it in the open light of day and see leadership from our elected officials - nothing will change.
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If established, there are three areas where a Biden presidential commission intended to curb child sexual abuse can make a difference. First, it must work toward galvanizing Congressional support for the End Sexual Violence Against Children Act, proposed national legislation that would increase research and funding and expand federal incentives to strengthen state laws. Second, Biden must declare child sexual abuse a U.S. public health emergency so that the country can begin to understand its true gravity and scope. Third, it can position the U.S. to lead an international effort aimed at eradicating and preventing global child sexual abuse by making it a core part of U.S. foreign policy.
The magnitude of the problem makes it ever more unconscionable that recent legislative attempts to protect children and women from abusers have stalled due to political dysfunction in Washington. Last Congress, the U.S. House passed the(CAPTA), which would have expanded services for addressing child abuse, but the bill failed to reach the floor of the U.S. Senate. The same is true for the (VAWA), which would have authorized new programs and added new protections for survivors of domestic abuse. The bill passed the House, but the Senate never voted on it.
Child sex abuse survivors do not have a political affiliation. They reside in every red and blue state in the nation. The districts where they live are represented by Democrats and Republicans alike in Congress. How an issue as important as their health, protection and safety could be possibly viewed down partisan lines is inexcusable.
Biden can rise above and be a champion for survivors and accelerate the cause of child sexual abuse prevention light years forward by calling for bipartisan Congressional support and appointing a commission to recommend actionable solutions.
The question is, does he have the courage and conviction to do it?
Lyndon Haviland, DrPH, MPH, is chair of Darkness to Light, a child sexual abuse prevention organization, and a distinguished scholar at the CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy.
Hunter Biden vs. the Four Horsemen of the Crackocalypse .
Hunter Biden vs. the Four Horsemen of the Crackocalypse (yes, that’s in the book). That makes the book touching in many places, but unconvincing in others. The most moving writing in the book has nothing to do with politics, or even drugs, but focuses instead on Hunter’s relationship with his brother, Beau, who succumbed to brain cancer in 2015, just as his political fortunes appeared to be ascendant. Back in 1972, Hunter and Beau survived a car accident that killed their mother and sister, a catastrophe he describes with the following chilling detail: “Her head simply swings.