Of Lawrence Lessig, and the very real menace of child abuse in the society

For some time now, Delhites have been waking up to an almost daily news story of some sexual assault or the other on women in the city.

Now here is the story of another very real menace in the society - sexual abuse of children. I would say the effect of this menace is not only as scarring in the victims, but it has another very disturbing effect - it can confuse a person who is just about discovering the world, and trying to understand how the world works. And acts like these can crush a person for life, even though many times these victims do learn to leave their past behind and go ahead in life. But there is no denying the fact that all the victims carry a scar for life - whether they are successful later in life or not. From the article I will be referring to you later:

Within 24 hours after Hardwicke told Samuelson about being raped by the school’s cook, Hardwicke’s mother was killed in a car accident, propelling his paranoia to imponderable heights. His daughter was in the car, too, but she “walked out unscathed,” he says. “And I got to thinking later it was a metaphor for molestation. Some are killed, some are scarred, some are crippled. Others walk out untouched. It all depends where you were sitting in the car.”

And why am I suddenly talking on such a disturbing topic on my web log, where I have only been blogging obscure tech stuff and personal ramblings till date?

This is because I am still shaken from reading a very hard hitting and moving tale of the story of how the staff of a charitable institution in USA not only perpretated the most vile of acts against children, but also tried to rationalize it to their victims as a way of “helping” them!! And on top of this, I found out that one of the victims is a person who is right there at the top of the list of my most admired and respected personalities of our time - Lawrence Lessig. As the article describes Mr. Lessig …

At 43, Lessig has built a reputation as the king of Internet law and as the most important next-wave thinker on intellectual property. The author of three influential books on the intersection of law, politics, and digital technology, he’s the founder of Creative Commons, an ambitious attempt to forge an alternative to the current copyright regime. According to his mentor, the federal appellate judge Richard Posner, Lessig is “the most distinguished law professor of his generation.” He’s also a celebrity. On a West Wing episode this winter, he was featured as a character. “The Elvis of cyberlaw” is how Wired has described him.

If you are interested to know more about what happened in this case, read the following very well-written article which appeared in the May 30, 2005 issue of New York Magazine.

The Choirboy By John Heilemann

As head boy at a legendary choir school, Lawrence Lessig was repeatedly molested by the charismatic choir director, part of a horrific pattern of child abuse there. Now, as one of America’s most famous lawyers, he’s put his own past on trial to make sure such a thing never happens again.

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