October 24, 2006
The news has been abuzz lately with coverage and commentary on the Mark Foley scandal. Foley resigned from the House of Representatives last month after the release of sexually explicit messages he had sent to teenage congressional pages. After the news broke, Foley’s lawyer then announced that Foley is gay, is now in treatment for alcoholism, and had been molested by a priest when he was 13 years old. The priest, who now lives in Gozo, Malta, has admitted there were incidents of fondling and nudity between the two but says it was not sexual in nature.
Those who are abused as children often perpetuate this behavior as adults. We unwittingly recreate the wounds of childhood in an attempt to heal them. What I am concerned about though, in this situation, is whether the behavior is deemed more repugnant because Foley is homosexual. I wonder how much flack there would be if Foley had been accused of writing sexually suggestive emails to 16 to 21-year-old girls and women. I suspect it would have been a different scenario.
What I also find of concern is that Foley’s behavior went unchecked for his 12 years in Congress. He formed friendships with pages that later lead to online flirtations. His colleagues looked the other way and the pages never reported him because they did not want to make a powerful enemy. This happens far too often in life. We see something happening that we know is wrong but we don’t speak out. We are afraid of being wrong or of causing a dramatic scene or of being accused that we may have contributed to the situation. Silence seems easier. But silence is not easier in the long run. Instead, it is that desire to keep quiet that wounds our bodies and spirits in the long run.
Sometimes using your voice to speak against someone can be so difficult, especially if you deem that person to be a friend or you are afraid there may be repercussions from your actions. However, the truth always comes out. It has to, so that the healing process can begin. When you find yourself in situations when you are not certain if you should speak out or keep quiet, turn to your own inner guidance for the answer.