Skip to content

A Closer Look

February 24, 2011

With all the controversy surrounding Senator Scott Brown’s recent claims I’d decided that not only did I not want to speculate on such a sensitive subject, but that I just didn’t know. I didn’t know why the manner and tone of his remarks bothered me. I didn’t know why they appeared at face value to be both genuine and disingenuous at once. For so many reasons I didn’t know.

With time comes fuller revelation and I’ve realized I do know a few things. I know what Sen Brown’s actions in 2010 combined with his recent remarks may say about him. In his book Against All Odds, Brown recounts a tale that’s no less tragic because of its familiarity. He shares a story in which he was sexually harassed as a child by a camp counselor.

In a 60 MINUTES interview with Lesley Stahl Brown said of the incident, “He said… ‘I will make sure that no one believes you,’ and that’s the biggest thing, when people find people like me, at that young, vulnerable age, who are, basically, lost, the thing that they have over you is they make you believe that no one will believe you.’’ That’s heartbreaking and I commend Brown for speaking so plainly about such a personal topic. As Governor Patrick and others have stated his words have the potential to lift up victims of abuse.

At the same time, his word choice and apparent understanding that silencing a victim is both simple and horrible doesn’t mesh well with his previous narratives. When stumping for Congressional candidate Jeff Perry last summer and fall sensitivity to the idea of silencing a victim didn’t appear as pressing.

It’s hard to reconcile the man who experienced first hand such childhood trauma to the politician who endorsed Perry who, in 1991, allegedly stood by as a 14-year girl was sexually assaulted by a fellow police officer. During the campaign Brown blasted both the media and the Keating Campaign for ‘dredging up’ the allegations and discounted Lisa Allen’s story again and again. At a June fundraiser Brown insisted, “Voters don’t want to hear about this. They want to get back to the issues.”

At the time I’d assumed Brown lacked sympathy for Allen’s plight, now I understand that it was empathy he lacked; something far more common and painful to watch forgotten.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: