21 votes

Boy Scouts of America file for bankruptcy due to sex-abuse lawsuits

8 comments

  1. [6]
    Ephemere
    Link
    It seems like the BSA, and possibly other organizations are in a kind of radiation-exposure-esque walking dead state where wrongdoing in the past is going to kill them in the present and there is...

    It seems like the BSA, and possibly other organizations are in a kind of radiation-exposure-esque walking dead state where wrongdoing in the past is going to kill them in the present and there is nothing they can do about it. Though that’s perhaps glib, owning land seems quite beside the BSA’s core mission so perhaps they can go on after liquidating some of these assets to compensate victims.

    It’s a bit of a shame, the victims deserve recompense, but this does nothing to punish those in the hierarchy who shielded abusers in the past. Though I again suppose lawsuits such as these help keep youth organizations from making similar bad decisions in the future.

    Yeah. I don’t know what to think. I was a Boy Scout myself, which perhaps colors my opinions.

    8 votes
    1. [5]
      mat
      Link Parent
      I mean, do they? Is a big load of money something you deserve after being the victim of a crime? I mean maybe when it's the criminal themselves paying, or when that money can replace stolen or...

      the victims deserve recompense

      I mean, do they? Is a big load of money something you deserve after being the victim of a crime? I mean maybe when it's the criminal themselves paying, or when that money can replace stolen or damaged property - but getting a cheque won't undo the abuse and enough people suing for cash will probably end up destroying the Scouts. An organisation which I'd say is still, overall, positive and does good things for thousands of kids. Sure, the abusers need rooting out and prosecuting and scouting needs to find a way to make sure this stuff doesn't happen again, but does it deserve to be ruined with it? I find that argument more convincing when applied to the Catholic church because they're considerably more awful, but scouting?

      It's tricky. I am also unsure how I feel about this.

      Just as an aside, I found out many years after I left that my then scout leader was eventually banned from working with kids although not because of anything abuse-y he did, it just turns out that taking teenagers fishing with shotguns and out co-driving on illegal night rallies isn't OK. Never did me any harm blah blah blah health and safety gone mad etc etc etc.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        vord
        Link Parent
        I'm an Eagle scout, and I definitely agree. The BSA does tremendous good, but they are an incredibly flawed organization that suffers from sticking to tradition to a fault. Positive aspects of the...

        I'm an Eagle scout, and I definitely agree. The BSA does tremendous good, but they are an incredibly flawed organization that suffers from sticking to tradition to a fault.

        Positive aspects of the BSA;

        • Fosters interaction with nature, and builds environmentalism
        • Almost every aspect of their programs are geared towards building teamwork, leadership, fitness, and life skills that are rare in normal schooling
        • Their land ownership is largely due to the numerous campgrounds they operate for use of the scouts. When paired with their environmentalism, they take better care of them than many other campgrounds.
        • Very involved with community service. It was rare that our troop would go more than a few months without doing some sort of project for the community at large.

        These are aspects that the BSA should be commended for. They are what make it an organization worth reforming and not dismantling.

        That said, here are some major problems they need to resolve:

        • Forced religious adherence. They don't mandate a religion, but I would have been kicked out if it were discovered I was an atheist. I think this is the root of most of their other problems.
        • Obsession with respecting and not questioning authority. Likely caused by religious ties and origins of grooming for military service.
        • Abuse. When organizations foster authoritarianism, it provides easy outlets for abusers to infiltrate and perpetuate abuse. See also: the Catholic Church.
        • Sexism. While they've been making strides, it's still rampant. The Girl Scouts also suffer from this, and I think a proper merger of the two organizations would help tremendously.
        • Homophobia. Second verse, same as the first.

        These flaws are not necessarily true at all levels of the organization, as it operates on local, regional, and national levels. However, they are very prominate in the national top-level organization, so these problems propagate to the lower levels.

        15 votes
        1. [2]
          mat
          Link Parent
          Just on the religious point - I got kicked out of the Cubs (pre Scouts, not sure if it exists in the US) for asking "difficult" questions about religion, and also about why we had to wear garters...

          Just on the religious point - I got kicked out of the Cubs (pre Scouts, not sure if it exists in the US) for asking "difficult" questions about religion, and also about why we had to wear garters on our socks. I was an awkward child on that front. By the time you reach the Scouts nobody cares because it's technically Church of England which isn't so much a religion as an excuse to have tea and biscuits occasionally. We were also supposed to do stuff like salute the flag and so on but it was all a bit embarrassing and after a while my troupe just sort of stopped doing it. Building fires and going on hikes we were excellent at though.

          Blows my mind that scouting isn't non-gendered in the US. I think the UK Scouts/Guides haven't used gender as an entrance qualification for several decades.

          It's hard to know how to fix the problems you describe because as you say, a lot of this stuff is entrenched at high levels. It's almost like a new organisation needs to be created which can inherit the positive points, not to mention the land and resources, of the old one. A new "Scouts of America" or something.

          3 votes
          1. gpl
            Link Parent
            In fact, as of the last few years it is non-gendered. The official name now is Scouts BSA, and while the BSA part still means "Boy Scouts of America", the re brand was meant to emphasize it. Girls...

            Blows my mind that scouting isn't non-gendered in the US.

            In fact, as of the last few years it is non-gendered. The official name now is Scouts BSA, and while the BSA part still means "Boy Scouts of America", the re brand was meant to emphasize it. Girls can and have joined Troops as well. I think part of the reason it took so long was that there were programs meant to be equivalent but for girls, such as the Girl Scouts and to an extent Indian guides. In recent years however it became clear that those programs were simply not offering the same experiences that BSA did, either because they were mismanaged or because they had different aims altogether. Not sure if anything similar existed in the UK.

            1 vote
        2. acdw
          Link Parent
          I think a lot of the problems you mention are a function of BSA's paramilitary nature. Even before I knew about these advise allegations, I'd resolved that my children, when I have them, would be...

          I think a lot of the problems you mention are a function of BSA's paramilitary nature. Even before I knew about these advise allegations, I'd resolved that my children, when I have them, would be involved in a different scouting organization. I agree with you on all the strengths of BSA, but I think the problems are too fundamental to the fabric of the organization to try and save it.

          1 vote
  2. [2]
    Micycle_the_Bichael
    Link
    This news makes me very sad. I won't pretend that BSA is a perfect organization, it definitely is far from it. When BSA made their decision about being gay in scouts, I was heartbroken and spent...

    This news makes me very sad. I won't pretend that BSA is a perfect organization, it definitely is far from it. When BSA made their decision about being gay in scouts, I was heartbroken and spent countless hours working with my friends and family to (at least on a local level) make changes to make scouting a more open-minded and supportive place. Scouting is probably one of the most important parts of my childhood growing up and honestly is where I learned and developed almost all of my wisdom, character traits, and friendships that I hold closest. I know a lot of this is because of the quality of local leadership in my troop and OA lodge. At the same time, it is heartbreaking that to see an organization that I love so much inflict so much pain on so many people. I am thankful and happy that the victims are being heard now (even if it is many years late) and hope they get some semblance of closure, peace, and payment for the pain that's been caused. I don't have much more to say. Every part of this just sucks so hard.

    3 votes
    1. gpl
      Link Parent
      I definitely agree here. Scouting trips and meetings are some of my fondest memories growing up. Even though I'm not personally affected by many of these problematic stances, it hurts to see an...

      I definitely agree here. Scouting trips and meetings are some of my fondest memories growing up. Even though I'm not personally affected by many of these problematic stances, it hurts to see an organization that I know can give so much to people intentionally exclude and harm kids seeking those experiences. I remain hopeful that they can rightly and adequately move past this and develop into a better and more inclusive organization in the coming years.

      3 votes