By Marcia Love
Trust is becoming more and more difficult to give people – especially after the recent heartbreaking and shocking instances of how it’s been abused.
There’s no more publicized case of this locally than that of Ryan Chamberlin, the 39-year-old Cabri hockey coach who pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and was sentenced in Swift Current Provincial Court yesterday to five years in jail.
Families of the children have said they must step up when the law fails. This is sadly very true in many instances.
Closing arguments were made last week in Saskatoon in the case of a former high school teacher who was charged after engaging in a relationship with a 16-year-old student. But the 29-year-old woman argues the relationship did not begin until she was no longer his teacher. Her teaching contract expired the day before she sent an explicit text to the boy. It’s now up to a judge to decide whether or not she was in a position of power at the time.
Blurry legal cases such as this aren’t as uncommon as we wish they would be.
Perpetrators are going to find ways to slip through the legal system. And when the hands of the law are bound, the responsibility unfortunately does fall solely on the parents to educate their sons and daughters and ensure they know what’s OK and what’s not.
With so many teachers, police officers and other authority figures making news for disgraceful conduct and illegal activity, I feel quite naive for having as much faith in the decency of the majority of human kind that I have. When it comes to man’s natural condition, deep down I’ve always tried to convince myself that people are inherently good. But the more life experience I gain, the more I see just how self-serving our race really is.
Some would argue people in positions of authority are no different than the rest of us and shouldn’t be held to a higher level of expectation. I disagree. It’s because of their position that we believe we can trust these people without them having to actually earn that trust the way others do.
Parents trust teachers will treat their children appropriately without even meeting them. We trust police officers will come to our aid in an emergency without even knowing their names.
So naturally anyone in a position of power should be expected to behave accordingly.
When it’s so easy for people to manipulate others and appear to be someone they’re not, no one can blame anyone for offering trust to those who don’t deserve it.
Because of this, it’s incredibly sad that one has to question everyone’s motives today, no matter what the situation. If someone knocks on your door, especially after dark, you don’t open it without first determining who it is. If you see someone on the side of the road who appears to need help or a ride, the question can flash in your mind whether or not it’s a good idea to stop. Too many horror stories have hardened us.
A well-meaning elderly man in Regina was questioned by police last week for handing out candy to children in his neighbourhood – a suspicious act nowadays indeed that kids were wise to alert authorities of. But clearly this man came from a different time when we didn’t have to be wary of kind gestures.
If only that were still the case.