Two Spotlights on Spotlight

Two Spotlights on Spotlight

The film that wins Best Picture might not have been everyone’s first choice, but it will have had the most fans across the Academy.  The vote of the overall Academy chooses best picture.

I have contemplated the significance of the movie Spotlight winning the Oscar for Best Picture.  I am delighted it did.  I believe it had significant competition.  Yet for a world that really would prefer to hide from the topic of sexual assault what made this true story stand out and receive the Oscar for best picture? Perhaps it is statistics suggesting that 50-75% have been affected by sexual violence whether we know it or not.

First Spotlight: Prevalence

In my opinion the Boston Globe team that reported the story are heroes. They did it against all odds and in the face of danger. This particular story focused on Catholic pedophiles.  So, I wondered why are so many offenders in the Catholic Church or is it a myth that it happens more there? The following two sources give credence to it being a myth.  We may believe it because it has been in the news so much. It would seem there are just many within the leadership of all churches; in fact among us all.
“Some studies claim that priests in the Catholic Church may not be any more likely than other men to commit abuse.[11][15][16][17] In addition, the studies claim that the rate of abuse by priests had fallen sharply in the last twenty to thirty years, and that some 75% of the cases in the United States occurred between 1960 and 1985.[11]”  Wikipedia
“In researching the Spotlight true story, we discovered that as of 2002, the incidence of pedophilia in the Catholic Church was around 6%, which is in line with the general population (this percentage is also stated in the movie). This means that despite what some have come to believe, there is no disproportionate separation between priests and civilians when it comes to this terrible crime. The efforts by some members of the church to cover up the abuse is what makes it perhaps significantly more tragic.” -The O’Reilly Factor Phil Saviano Interview.

I added the italics.  Both from personal experience and 25+years of working with survivors churches, families, and most organizations prefer the cover-up routine (Code of Silence). There is more research available supporting this position.

Second Spotlight: Prosecution

Are Catholic priests somehow immune to prosecution?  There have been some convictions and they can be found online. It would seem they are about as protected from prosecution as the other offenders.

Like rape, child molestation is one of the most under reported crimes: only 1-10% are ever disclosed.
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

• Over 90% of child sex abuse cases presented to prosecutors do not go to trial. Over 1/2 are not charged or charges are dropped.
– National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, Volume 9 Numbers 5/6,1996

Yes, the Catholic Church has paid millions in settlements with survivors and have unconscionably protected the offending priests, yet it would seem such actions reflect the culture at large.  I don’t mean just American Culture.  Both of the two Spotlights can be shined worldwide.

Comments

  1. S. Kuhl says:

    If you only knew what went on behind those closed doors. The Code of Silence runs deep. Spotlight did a superb job for as far as they went. Who is brave enough continue to put the dots together. I have 13 years of dots, but what can I do with them. Writing and movie making are skills I lack.

  2. Hello, I really appreciate your comment. I am wondering about the closed door and connecting the dots ( a favorite concept of mine).

    Would you be willing to use what writing skills you do have? If you are interested, your story (which is very important) or whatever you have to share could help you and others. If you so chose, it could be posted as a blog, anonymously if you wish, or not. It can be edited for errors if desired, not that errors matter as much as you and your dots.

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