So here's my biggest problem with Penn State and bride kidnapping and many abuse cases and other crimes: people who are considered authorities often do not do anything, or they do far too little, or, worst of all, the tell the victim or witness to do the wrong thing. Victims and often people who witness crimes too, for a variety of reasons, are not able to protect themselves or those they see getting hurt. While it blows my mind that people can walk by someone who was hit by a car without doing anything, or see a child getting abused and not stop it, or ignore a woman getting beaten by her husband next door, I am not surprised that people would be confused and scared about what to do in those situations. There is plenty of research about this and even though, particularly in the case of witnesses to violent crimes, that may not be an excuse for not protecting someone else, it is our reality and difficult to change.
ways the grad assistant at Penn State who saw a child getting abused did
react in an expected way for his situation- he told several authority
figures (his dad and Paterno at least) what he saw. Of course he should
have gone to the police first, but when he didn't, those authorities
ought to have gone themselves. It is part of the responsibility of
being in authority. McQueary's father and Joe Paterno did not respond
appropriately. (This is not to say that I think McQueary shouldn't get
fired, but I think there are some extenuating circumstances there that
do not apply at all to Paterno.)
The same thing happens with bride kidnapping, although to a
different extent. Nearly always there are a variety of authority
figures involved- her parents at least, his parents, maybe some
neighbors, and often aksakals. These are all people the woman has been
told for years that she must respect and obey. Nearly always all of
those people (every.single.one) tell her that she must marry the man if
she stays the night. There is no other option. Those authority figures
do not protect her and, instead, tell her she must get married.
are many reasons why those authorities do what they do- a major
one is that, more than protecting victims, they want to protect social
or insititutional order, to put it kindly. Jerks.
We're slowly, slowly getting to a point in the US where
laws regarding authorities' reporting of child abuse will make a
difference and I hope Joe Paterno's firing will drive that home a little
better to all people in authority in the US. The legal system in
Kyrgyzstan doesn't work that way though and I'm not at all convinced
that a legal solution is best regarding ala kachuu, although it ought to
be part of a solution. But that's also another post.