We’re in a crisis.
The horrific case of Cristian Fernandez makes clear America’s need to address the rampant sexuality and violence in our country. What has happened is not “free love,” as many in the 1960’s sought, but a culture that is so sex-ridden and out of control that women, girls, boys, and even some men are paying the consequences in extreme abuse.
Twelve-year-old Cristian Fernandez was charged with beating his two-year-old half-brother to death. And before this, he had sexually abused his brother and acted out sexually in school. But Cristian was not just an abuser, he was also abused.
During his twelve years of life, Cristian was in and out of foster care starting at age two because his mother and/or grandmother left him alone. (His grandmother left him to take cocaine in a motel). His father seems non-existent. He was sexually abused by a cousin at eight, and so beaten by his stepfather one time that he ended up in the hospital. His mother was twelve when she gave birth to him after having been raped by a 25-year-old man.
This is a life destined for trouble on all levels, but the combination of sexual and violent abuse is a refrain heard over and over again in society today.
People gloried in–watched and read–Fifty Shades of Grey, and talked like it was a new way to love. From all accounts, the book and movie took sexual abuse to a new level by implying horrific behavior could be seen as normal and loving. This is what children in abused situations begin to think. They have no idea what a normal, loving relationship is. This is also what traffickers do to the girls and boys they kidnap, enslave and force into prostitution. They “prepare’ their victims for life as a prostitute by raping, beating, and threatening them. Then they are forced to watch tapes of their own rape and of others. In American society today, we are being “prepared” to accept deviant and violent sex as normal. It is not.
At some point we have to acknowledge that sexuality in America is out of control, that the pornography, the movies, even the books we read are holding up sex as some sort of god, as if life and relationships aren’t worth much or anything without it. Our hook-up culture has passed the time when we could just turn our heads. We must examine not just the results of illicit and violent sex but where our addiction to it is leading us–and what it is doing to our children.