I felt a hint of compassion for Regis Lepage wiping a tear from his eye in the Sun Journal photo (July 31). I imagine the judge felt compassion, too, because Lepage received a suspended sentence.

Then I read, in the same paper, about Brigitte Harris, who allegedly killed her stepfather to avenge abuse.

Why is it, when it comes to sexual abuse, our society finds it difficult to hold perpetrators accountable? Is it because we feel it happens only to the children of others? Is it because we cannot imagine the crime? Or, is it simply because that’s the way it’s always been?

We know that sexual abuse ruins lives; the victims are haunted by memories well into adulthood. It causes substance abuse, contributes to depression and suicide, among other horrors. We spend millions in health care trying to treat the pain. The authorities work hard to bring cases to court. Yet, when officials finally catch a perpetrator, we settle for a light sentence.

Is it really surprising to any of us, lawmakers or authorities, when victims take matters into their own hands?

Child sexual abuse is a horrible and too often secret crime. Until we remove the veil of denial and convict all perpetrators, known or unknown, rich or poor, children such as Harris, or possibly even yours or mine – will be ineffective in fighting the silent demon.

Chris White, Greene


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