Lawyer’s Billboard Provokes Objections [PHIL-OSOPHY]
If you're traveling through Providence, near the iconic Big Blue Bug, you'll probably notice a Rob Levine billboard showing a young girl with a zipper over her mouth conveying the message that justice is still possible for child sex abuse, even if the violation happened 53 years ago.
The way the message is presented has drawn both applause and disapproval.
Professionals who work with victims of child abuse are not too happy with the image a child with whose mouth is covered with a closed zipper. They say it's about sensitivity and making a positive difference with the advertising, and not hurting someone unintentionally. I can see their point, but there's something else in the larger picture that I'll focus on.
This billboard, with its shock factor, is generating a lot of phone calls from victims who thought the statute of limitations in Rhode Island had passed them by. That speaks volumes to me. Living as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse is emotionally confusing, and many struggle with the pain for the rest of their lives. If a billboard can help educate us, and especially victims of abuse, then I commend Levine, who also suffered abuse as a child, for providing a legal service that can help survivors of child sexual abuse in coping with the trauma.
Sexual abuse occurs in secret, and most children are too afraid and ashamed to talk about it. Usually, survivors of abuse don't disclose the secret until years later. If through a billboard, survivors can get the message that even after 53 years justice is still relevant, then at the risk of running roughshod over sensitivity, I say throw caution to the wind.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.