I shared this story about former professional baseball player Mel Hall across some of the social networks last night, but the more I read it, the more I am convinced that if you want to see grooming at it’s finest, go read some of the stories included in that piece.
From a distance it might be hard to understand what those families were thinking, but read carefully, you can see kids from troubled homes being targeted by a somewhat famous, charismatic and friendly guy, who comes complete with gifts and promises of helping a kid reach their goals.
It sounds all too good to be true, and as it turned out, it was! But it does provide us with a clear example of what to look for!
Sadly, and perhaps tellingly, even when his abuser has been convicted and is serving what is likely to be the rest of his life in jail, there are still people who attack him for telling his story.
This just goes to prove that there will always be people who don’t want to hear it and don’t want to believe what is right in front of them. All the more reason for the rest of us to support people like Matt.
I’m not in Australia, obviously, but if you are, the Survivors and Mates Support Network is having a launch fundraiser on July 4th.
From their site:
Survivors & Mates Support Network (SAMSN) is a not-for-profit organisation working to increase public awareness of the effects that childhood sexual abuse can have on men in their adult lives. SAMSN employs psychologists and social workers who have experience working with male survivors to facilitate support groups for men and their families and supporters.
Any man who has suffered from the effects of child sexual assault should know it was not his fault and that healing and recovery is possible. Regardless of his ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or religion any man across Australia can contact SAMSN for support.
Follow the link above to find out more about the organization, or if you’re interested in the fundraiser, check out the invite!
Unfortunately, the rather detailed story that appeared in the Washington Post is all too familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention. Man is suffering from mental illness, possibly delusional, but refuses to get treatment. What is a family to do? The law says you can’t have someone involuntarily committed until they prove to be “a danger to themselves or others”, but how can we sit and wait for someone to prove their dangerous? Usually the proof comes when it’s too late to avoid some sort of violent act.
The story lays out a pretty good case for a change in those laws, but looking at it from the other side, and if you read any of the comments you’ll see that laid out as well, there were reasons we changed the laws regarding involuntary commitment back in the 70s. Families using mental institutions to “treat” family members who weren’t truly sick, or leaving family members in horrible conditions, institutional mistreatment, or simply abusing the “power” to commit family members to manipulate the behavior of innocent adults. Those are all, obviously, dangers to allowing any sort of involuntary commitment.
Still, when you stop to consider the number of homeless who are suffering from untreated mental illness, or stories like this one, where a family has to wait for someone to get worse before they can get them help, it’s hard not to think that we need a different standard that the current one. I don’t know what that standard is, but I’m glad to see someone having the conversation.