In a Really Human Society There Will Be No Sexual Abuse of Children
Last week, Oscars for best picture and original screenplay were awarded to “Spotlight,” the story of journalists in Boston who exposed widespread child abuse by priests within the Catholic Church. In his Oscar acceptance speech, the producer appealed to Pope Francis to “protect the children and restore the faith.” And the Vatican newspaper praised the film, saying, “Predators do not necessarily wear ecclesiastical vestments, and pedophilia does not necessarily stem from the vow of chastity. There is still trust in the institution and in a pope who is pressing ahead with the cleaning up begun by his predecessor.”
Clearly, neither the Vatican nor the film’s producer seem to understand the root causes of the sexual abuse of children. They would have us believe that it is just a matter of “a few bad apples.” Even worse, they trust the same institution that created the problem to fix it.
Osho has spoken in great depth (see for example his book SEX MATTERS: From Sex to Superconsciousness), about how repressive attitudes toward sex and “vows of chastity” have for centuries created the same perversions the priests and popes claim to be against. With the help of that insight, we can understand that not only are these priests themselves victims of a perverse and repressive ideology – we all are. To be human is to be sexual – without sex, no human being (or any other creature for that matter) could be born. When we try to hide that truth from our children, we become co-conspirators in their exploitation and abuse.
As human beings, our unique opportunity is to embrace sex, to understand where it can lead us and how, with awareness, it can be a doorway to meditation. Only in that spirit of openness and awareness can the sexual abuse of children become a thing of the past.
Here, Osho goes to the root-cause of child abuse and offers a challenge to his listeners: Can our lovemaking be so filled with sense of the sacred, with joy and celebration, that we have no need to hide it from our children?
“Just a few days ago, someone wrote me a letter saying, “Osho, You have created a trouble” – because I had said some time ago that many people, almost the majority of people in the world, men and women both, are untrained lovers. No training has been given to them. In fact everything has been kept from them, they have been kept ignorant.
What does a virgin mean? Someone who has been kept absolutely ignorant.
“So I had said that the best way to introduce your children to love will be that while you are making love, children should be playing around. Let them be there. And in fact it is one of the most significant things, because every child sooner or later discovers what you are doing to his mother. First he thinks that this father seems to be a barbarian, doing pushups on the poor woman. He wants to kill this man, but the child is so small…so he represses the desire, and he is not even allowed to admit that he has seen it.
And the child will never be able to forgive you, that you were secretive about things. You were not open, even with him.
You talked about love, but love means many things: openness, honesty, sincerity. And about one of the most basic things in life, you kept the child absolutely unaware.
“Children are very intelligent. Every child is born with a tremendous energy of intelligence. It is the society and the education and the religion—they start destroying his intelligence, so by the time he is a young man he is just a fool. But the small children are very perceptive, you cannot deceive them. So I had said that it is perfectly good – because the child has to learn, and it is better he learns from the very beginning.
“Now this woman wrote to me, “A problem has arisen: we allowed our child to be present while we were making love; now the child wants to make love to me. He says, ‘If father can do it, why can’t I do it?’ Now we cannot say that this is sin, because if it is sin, then why is his father doing it, and why is he being allowed to commit sin?
In a really human society there will be no sexual abuse of children. Such abuse exists only because children are kept in the dark; and they are curious, very curious, “What is it all about?” Then they get caught in somebody’s net.
“But children are very understanding too. The mother, the father, both should make him understand, “This is your training to see how love is made. The time will come when you will be a young man and you will be making love – then don’t make the same mistakes that we have made.
“Make your lovemaking a deep understanding for the child. Make him also aware that he is not your age. Make the place of your lovemaking a temple, so that the child from the very beginning starts feeling love is something sacred. And if he knows everything about it, nobody can abuse him.
Now the question arises: who is responsible for sexual abuse of the child?
“You are responsible.
“You are keeping your children in darkness, and they are feeling that there is something that is being kept secret.
“They become curious; the more you hide it, the more curious they are. If it is open and is made available so the child can understand it – yes, there will be a few problems, like the child wanting to make love to the mother. The mother can hug the child, can help the child to understand: “Just look at my size and your size. Just grow up and you will find a beautiful woman, far more beautiful than me.
“The same is true about small girls. They should be made absolutely aware – not just verbally in a classroom. That does not help, they become even more curious.
Make it very honest. And when the experiment is happening every day in the house, where is the problem?
“Let your girl, your boy, be present. Let them see the beauty of it. Make the whole phenomenon as sacred as possible, and these children will always respect you because you were so honest with them, so sincere with them; you never kept anything secret from them.
“And any problems like this – boys asking to make love to their mother – can be explained to them, that they are not yet ripe. One day they will be ripe; for that day we are preparing them. And children are very receptive, very understanding.
There is sexual abuse of children because they are kept in darkness by their parents, by their teachers.
“Love is something like a sin which has to be done in darkness, and nobody is to know about it. You are doing something ugly—in your own mind it is something ugly, something that should not be done. You are not rejoicing in it.
“Rejoice! Make love a festive moment. And of course, your children have to take part in it. They can at least dance around you while you are making love, sing beautiful songs around you, play on their small guitars, drums. They can make it really festive! And they will understand that they are children and they are not of age, and soon they will get their own lovers. And if this experience has been part of their growing up, their love life will have a totally different flavor.
“So in child abuse, the person who has abused the child is only a victim of a very neurotic society. From the very childhood, every child has to be made aware of all possibilities of love, sex, and all deviations, perversions. Then there will be no sexual abuse of children.
“It is the easiest thing for the man of awareness to know what is right and what is wrong. And also he will be able to see why something wrong goes on happening: there must be roots somewhere in the culture, in the society, in the world, such that poisonous flowers go on flowering. Somebody must be taking care of those plants, watering them.
“Your priests are doing it, your politicians are doing it, your psychoanalysts are doing it, your professors are doing it – because these people live on your misery. They live on your being somewhere wrong. If you are perfectly right, they are useless.” – Osho
To read this complete talk and see all available formats of this talk:
Osho, From Death to Deathlessness, Talk #32 – Silence Is the Highest Music