Child abuse shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere. But when it’s in the public eye, it’s even more important to address it.
That’s why we can’t let it slide in celebrity cases, even when the abusers seem apologetic.
Take the case of NFL player Adrian Peterson. The pro football running back — one of the league’s biggest stars — was charged in September 2014 with reckless or negligent injury to a child after using a “switch” on his 4-year-old in a way that were said to have caused dozens of bleeding welts that, even days later when photographed by police, were obviously very painful and abusive.
He took a plea deal in the case and missed most of the 2014 season. He’s back on the field this year, though and about to head into the playoffs with his team, the Minnesota Vikings.
We shouldn’t stop talking about child abuse just because a public figure has been brought to justice.
Professional athletes are held to a higher standard on things like this because they’re looked up to by young and old as heroes of sorts. But heroes need to be very careful in that role.
Any abuse is serious; the pain doesn’t end when the bruises fade and wounds heal. But in Peterson’s case, we really shouldn’t forget.
While the football player says he’s changed how he disciplines his son, he still maintains he did nothing wrong in interviews even now. He blames culture and his upbringing instead.
The cartoon below, written and illustrated by a survivor, lays bare the reality for abused children in a way that really strikes home.
The illustrator and author, Scott Stantis, was inspired to create this after hearing the news in 2014 about Peterson and some of the responses to the case tried to paint his abuse as cultural.
I love, love, love this quote from the cartoon essay below about that:
“If your ‘culture’ advocates for men knocking women unconscious or tearing open the skin of a child, then your culture is corroded and needs to disappear.”