The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Trial by media? Give Peter Hollingworth a break > Comments

Trial by media? Give Peter Hollingworth a break : Comments

By Barbara Biggs, published 25/5/2005

Barbara Biggs argues Peter Hollingworth can help Australians on the issue of child abuse.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All
I agree.

I also called for Peter Hollingworth's resignation as GG, because I thought him trying to stay in the role sat uneasily with both his Christian values and what the public expected of the role, newly renovated by Sir William Deane. There was plenty of sanctimonious public opinion and media baying, but underneath those there were good reasons for the resignation.

But whether Peter Hollingworth should have stayed on as GG is a separate question from what he should have been doing since he resigned, and how he should be treated when he offers to do work for which he appears (at least from a distance) to be well-suited. Too few of us have time or money for charitable work. If he wants to get on with the kind of admirable work he once did with the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence, he should be encouraged to do so.

It may not be too late for him to 'get' child sexual abuse. As Biggs points out, if he's still trying to do so, he's ahead of most male leaders (and, I fear, some state child protection authorities). He's been on a steep learning curve in the past couple of years: having post-traumatic stress syndrome, as reported in the Bulletin, may make him even better able to understand the experiences of people on society's margins.

We shouldn't confuse society's normative response to child sexual abuse with descriptions of how it occurs. We can say that sex between adults and children must be prohibited in all circumstances, while still acknowledging that those circumstances can be complex, if only because so many offenders were once victims.

Because they were victims, we have to believe that at least some child sex offenders can be rehabilitated. And if we believe in their rehabilitation, surely someone who's mishandled their cases might be given another chance to do something socially useful? People who avoid him should ask themselves whether they've never made such misjudgments, or whether they were just lucky enough not to have made them under the responsibilities of high office.
Posted by Jennifer Clarke, Wednesday, 25 May 2005 1:01:39 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
His attitude that the Priests were innocent and the children guilty is standard for this Brotherhood of unnatural Love. It can never be accepted and anyone who holds it should never be allowed to have contact with children. Keith
Posted by kthrex, Wednesday, 25 May 2005 3:50:56 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
A very thought provoking article which delivers Peter H in the nicest way possible. Are you his publicist? But the fact that he still "doesn't get" abuse even after he's been stripped of his office, to me, reeks of the fact that he was rightfully sacked or whatever happened. Too many public servants are elevated beyond their level of competency umder this govt, with a nice little (big) wage et al.

The blatantcy PH used when justifying his stance when the allegations and proof were out there and aired by the media was another dry retch by the Church and the stuff they've condoned for years and covered up. Let's not hang the man, but Barbara, let's not make him out to be a much maligned guy. He has proven on track record that he has absolutely no interest in "helping Australians on the issue of child abuse" as your story is titled. Could you title your next article on how "Eskimos won't eat seals anymore, they are now farming Tofu" and are easier to subdue in the igloo?
Posted by Di, Thursday, 26 May 2005 12:23:05 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
There is no way that I will ever let Peter Hollingworth off the hook. He is responsible for psychologically imprisoning so many innocent children and young people. Hollingworth is not the victim!
Posted by kalweb, Thursday, 26 May 2005 5:52:09 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
For me it comes down to the context in which Hollingworth may offer his services. For the victims of sexual abuse it may be very difficult for a whole range of reasons for them to see Hollingworth as useful to their struggles. The media coverage and serialization of the Hollingworth issues was morally charged. Bearing this in mind he may well be in the best position now to show that child abuse is a much more complex issue than many previously realised. On the other hand he may well be the worst advocate for the rights of the abused. Is he undertaking this work because he wants absolution from the public or because he genuinely feels deeply about these issues? I donít know the answers to this question but suspect it will again depend on how the media portrays him in the long run.
If he able to assist victims then lets let him get on with it. He will have to be much more aware of the moral community which judged him, certainly much more than he has show previously. His duty of care will also be held accountable in terms of those he is attempting to help. If he shows a much more sophisticated understanding of this, I say let him help. If he does not, he may do more damage than he realizes
Posted by Rainier, Thursday, 26 May 2005 9:51:03 PM
Find out more about this user Visit this user's webpage Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Thanks for this last post - it captures the range of possibilities much better than my first one did.
Posted by Jennifer Clarke, Friday, 27 May 2005 11:38:18 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy