There are huge hues and cries over the recent sexual abuse and murder of that lad, Leonard Archibald, and I do agree with the mammoth condemnation of that heinous crime.
Every time things like these happen there are always immediate emotional outbursts, then society slips back into its usual mode of docile complacency.
As the stories about young Leonard’s demise unfold, we are learning of all sorts of negligence especially by public officials. Why aren’t public officials being sanctioned and punished for these lapses?
I believe that the level of parenting and supervision of molested and abused children also needs to attract greater attention and investigation. My recent letter, in which the importance of family stability and the roles of social service agencies and the state were mentioned, is a precursor to this note.
There are always a host of related vulnerabilities in single parent situations. Reality varies broadly from theory and even some statistics. We know that fathers of many children are either voluntarily or involuntarily absent from the family, but there are also overwhelming stories of single mothers who leave children unattended and unsupervised. Some mothers understandably have to go to work, but there are countless others who leave children unattended to go partying or to participate in other frolicking activities. The resulting sad stories, tears, denial and excuses somehow seem to overshadow parental neglect and irresponsibility when horrible things occur.
Child vulnerability and sexual abuse can be significantly reduced in this country if greater parental responsibility and supervision is demanded of child custodians, as is done in countries whose policies we conveniently mimic.