Spotlight, the most important film to see, shows how, in 2002, a group of journalists at The Boston Globe revealed how hundreds of children had been abused by Catholic priests in the Boston area. It was the first major newspaper reporting on clerical abuse in the US. It shocked the nation, indeed the world, and brought to public attention the protection of abusers by senior clerics and the silencing of victims and their families by the church and its lawyers.
It took two outsiders – new editor Baron, who was from out of town and Jewish; and Garabedian, an Armenian – to see the seriousness of the issue and to take steps to bring the sexual abuse of children to the clear light of day . So how is it that good men knew and did nothing, as the Globe reporters conceded, ‘we published the story then buried it.’
Part of the answer is that most men do not want to stand out from the crowd; to break ranks and, many suck at whistle-blowing. And this can be a good thing. Men are stronger together. They have each other’s backs. The problem lies when they band together to conceal abuse; to look the other way; to keep the code of silence.
The ‘good news’ is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Our training helps bystanders to effectively and safely call each other out; to confront abuses when they occur. Our workshops offer skill-building opportunities – helping men and women to a point of having many options for action with only one wrong answer – and that is ‘to do nothing.’