In Reply to: Jim LaMattery's contract to write Ricky's story?? posted by Huh? on April 18, 2005 at 13:24:14:
One of the real bummers for survivors of sexual abuse is the host of people who aquire benefit from the events that caused pain.
I use myself as an example: Every time someone does a "story" on Catholic clergy abuse to get "out the truth" I, and the rest of my fellow survivors, get to relive the experience. This has been happening to us for upwards of fifty years in some cases. You always hear of settlements and other supports but the sad truth is the average benefits per case is way less than the collective value others have gained. Areas of the church now are declaring bankruptcy to severe the losses to the church.
The media and the film industry made a critically acclaimed movie of what happened to us and made big gains in recognition and individual benefit. Some actors went on to major roles in other films. The great irony is there are no easy solutions to this cycle of added pain. In some ways the media is an important element in exposing abuse but not with out cost to others. I find it interesting that media reps always use the great catch all of "getting out the story" to help the survivors and to "tell the truth". In reality most media members not only are driven by getting out the "truth" but also for exposure, personal ambitions and income.
In a free society this is allowed. I have no right to expect this not to happen. I just wish people involved in telling such "stories" understood more about the emotional impact of such articles, interviews, movies and books. It is particularly painful on those survivors who have had little or no resolution, closure or justice.
I spent a career working in the area of child protection in social service and The Family abuse history is one of the most horrific examples of large scale abuse and exploitation I have seen. In my opinion The Family are worse than the pimps and hookers that we dealt with at work in regards to children at risk. The large number of victims and the overall brutality of the abuse to children's minds and bodies by Family abusers is staggering.
I am not saying that Jim has no right to write a book on Ricky. It is a free and democratic society with all the problems that such freedom entails. I just think doing so makes him a member of the media. It is now up to him how he pursues this profession. There are ethical ways and means of reporting or detailing in depth events. All we can hope is that all members of the media are constrained and act ethically in their approach to this issue.
Ricky has gone and won't be seen again in this life. It is certain that he will derive no earthly benefit from any story written about him. In Sparta when a man fell his fellow soldiers carried him home on his shield. In addition his comrades were the ones delegated to best tell the fallen friend's strory. People say Ricky was a warrior fighting a battle and I feel he should be treated in the same way. True comrades would not profit from the loss of one of their own. Others may transcribe the story to suit their own agendas but someone in the same struggle suffering the same injustice is more likely capture the reality of his life.