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A possible irony regarding the death of Tyler Cross and Texas-SAE’s gifts to CACTYX–an abuse group fighting recantations by abuse victims

Moderator: There is a grave irony we all must consider as a wall of silence
surrounds  Sigma Alpha Epsilon pledges following
the alcohol-related death of pledge Tyler Cross, forcing law enforcement officials
in Travis County to get facts on alleged hazing from Google (using pledge emails
and web content). Supposedly, according to a warrant’s content exposed by the Daily Texan newspaper, some Texas SAE pledges in Cross’s pledge class were subjected to jolts from a cattle prod, physical hitting and drinking expectations. These allegations remain just that–merely investigations as the investigation continues.
So what’s the irony? SAE Texas’s chapter also does good work. They support
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas (CACTYX), a non-profit group that fights child abuse. I am linking to a fascinating article that tells why abused children recant or don’t tell in the first place. I have no idea if a cattle prod or coerced alcohol consumption took place the day Tyler Cross plunged to his death. If it does turn out to be true, SAE may turn out to be a textbook case for hazing researchers studying recantations and the wall of silence following hazing allegations in Greek groups:
The really useful article on recanting by abuse victims follows, along with this link to SAE’s generous gift to Cactyx as a result of its locally famous chili cookoff.

Despite the common public perception
that children will immediately run and tell
someone if they are being abused, this is
simply not the reality. There are many,
many reasons that children refrain from
telling someone what is happening to them;
some of which are part and parcel of the
inherent dynamics of the abuse syndrome
and some of which are the result of skilled
perpetrator manipulation or “grooming”.
These are complicated relationships with
which a child simply has neither experi-
ence nor ability to extricate themselves.
They often feel understandably helpless
By Allison Turkel,
APRI Senior Attorney

When is it a good day for a child to tell
someone that she/he has been sexually
abused? Especially if the abuse strikes
and many simply learn to accommodate
the abuse.
Once the abuse is disclosed—be it
purposefully or accidentally—the wheels of
the civil and criminal justice system start
rolling and the impact can be profound and
overwhelming for the child victim and their
family. Often,
the consequences
that perpetrators
warned of or
threatened about
do, in fact,
come true – the
perpetrator may
be arrested; the
child may be
removed; the
non-offending
caretaker or
siblings may
blame the child
for a change in
status; there may
be threats or
violence; they
may be embarrassed; and they are often
confronted with disbelief. The child may
attempt to put the world back the way it
was, before anyone found out – and one
way they see to do this is to retract or recant
their original report of abuse.
This behavior is often misunderstood by
adults who wish to believe that the abuse
never occurred in the first place or who
might begin to question whether the child
actually wanted the abuse to end. In fact,
the child typically does want the abuse to
end, but never imagines the consequences
of disclosure. With little or no support and

not knowing any other way to “make things
right” for everyone else, a child will resort
to saying it never happened in the first
place. Recantation should not surprise any-
one, given the pressure placed on these
young victims. These situations must be
thoroughly investigated and the temptation
to drop a case simply because the child
recants must be resisted. Our first goal must
be to put the child first—consider what his
or her needs might be—and then to contin-
ue to pursue justice.
It is only with support, respect, therapy,
love and a responsive legal system that
children can heal and the possibility of
reassertion and participation in the process
can become a possibility. The child being
able to speak about the abuse must be the
goal—thwarting the perpetrator’s efforts
to keep it a secret. This can only happen
when adults are informed and educated
about the dynamics of abuse and the chal-
lenges young victims face in finding the
courage to tell.
Why Abused Children Take It Back: Understanding Recantation
Volume 3, Number 2
Spring 2007
Allison L. Turkel,
Senior Attorney/Chief
of Training, American
Prosecutor’s Research
Institute, National
Center for Prosecution
of Child Abuse

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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