Whitney Houston’s Biopic Reminds Us that No One Type of Person Abuses

Surprisingly, it’s only now, after the movie has been shown at Cannes, that we are learning of one of the biggest secrets of Whitney Houston’s tragic life. That she and her brother were both abused by her cousin, Dee Dee Warwick. (Dionne Warwick’s sister)

On the one hand, this story begins to fill in the blanks of some of what happened to Whitney in her lifetime. On the other it’s somewhat shocking because of the backstory we were led to believe back in the day. The one that had Whitney learning to sing in the church choir with her close, loving, musical family.

Now we have a story that includes her being abused by her cousin, a professional gospel and R&B singer, a trailblazer in her industry.

What this tells us is that there isn’t any “type” of person who abuses children. I have no doubt that Whitney, and most other children, are protected from middle-aged, socially awkward men. That’s the kind of person we’ve been told to look out for after all. But the truth is that all kinds of other people abuse children too, usually they get away with it too, because they know how to mix in better, or because they were already there, and no one would suspect.

Dee Dee Warwick fits exactly none of the stereotypes we have about child molesters. Yet here we are, 10 years after her death, learning that it’s quite possible that she was one anyway.

Don’t be naive.

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