Abuse of power

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Neil Sinclair (Letters, 13 January) asks why so many people abuse children. One of the reasons is power.

People who have authority – teachers, social workers, ­ministers, celebrities, fathers – have power over children. Power can corrupt and when it is exercised with impunity it can corrupt deeply. Another reason is the response of and to the 
victim. As a psychologist, I have had some limited experience with victims of rape.

One girl I dealt with was treated with hostility by many of her classmates when she accused a boy of rape.

Another teenager, whom I saw on a number of occasions, on one visit burst into tears and told me she had been raped the previous day.

She then asked me one of the saddest questions I have ever been asked: “What do you think of me now?”

It is a deeply ingrained reaction for a victim to feel she may have been at fault and that she deserves to be ostracised, and this plays into the hands of abusers.

Peter O’Reilly

Aspen Avenue