Russell Glasser was pointing out on Twitter a couple of days ago that it’s not the case that “People only go to the police. They never talk about their stories in blogs or articles.” He provided examples of the contrary: of the preliminary stage (which can last years) when people and groups do indeed make claims in public without/before going to the police.
Like SNAP for instance. Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Just one item on their front page –
Abuse victims and SNAP are being attacked by lawyers for KC Bishop Robert Finn and pedophile priests. We’re fighting hard to protect the confidentiality of victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, journalists and others who come to us for help. Details available here.
That doesn’t mean all accusations are always true, obviously. It does mean it’s not automatically the case that all accusations are false until they’re ruled true by a judge or jury. It also (if you do some thinking and/or reading) points to the fact that there are often impediments to reporting the kinds of crimes that powerful people perpetrate on less powerful people. Bishops and priests; popular entertainers like Jimmy Savile; famous people like Roman Polanski*; football coaches like Jerry Sandusky; high school football players, even, like the ones in Our Guys and the ones in Steubenville.
It’s not simple. It’s not easy. Sometimes there are moral panics combined with pseudoscience like “recovered memory”; sometimes there are long histories of abuse by people who are shielded by colleagues or institutions or just general indifference. No one case is likely to be a slam-dunk either way. But it is not the case that there are only two choices: take it to the cops or stfu.
*In Polanski’s case the impediment wasn’t to reporting but to extradition after he fled the country.