Fresh voices from new kids on the block: TWU scholars instantly enrich public debate

The Texas Woman’s University division of our Public Voices Fellowship program, launched merely two weeks ago today, has already given rise to numerous powerful new public voices.

TWU scholar Ellen Magnis, for one, published two pieces within the same week, both of which provided a sobering and thought-provoking perspective on the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, a case so frequently featured yet only superficially analyzed in most news media outlets.

In the Huffington Post article Monsters, Bad Guys and Perps, Ellen’s second op-ed, she shows that she is not afraid to confront the complexities of child abuse by pointing out that rather than doing the easy thing and labeling the perpetrator as a monster who exists totally outside of humanity, we should actually try to understand the real motives and causes behind these acts of sexual abuse. A step in the true road to recovery is to recognize that the perpetrator is a human being, and to see his/her hurtful acts as stemming from preventable causes.

Here is a powerful excerpt from that article:

“There are no easy answers here. We don’t really understand exactly why sexually deviant behavior occurs in our population. Humans are complicated beings with unique sets of brain chemistry and experiences. According to Dr. Jim Tanner, who studies sex offenders as part of his life’s work, perpetrators can be blocked, angry, delusional, deviant or anti-social. Tanner says it is far easier for us to demonize someone when we don’t understand their behavior. Otherwise, we have to accept that we, as human beings, have the potential to do something equally vile.”

So congratulations, Ellen, for having the courage and insight to provide this much-needed new perspective on an age-old issue! You are a real inspiration!

In other child-related issues, PVF scholar Anna M Clark published her first op-ed in the Guardian yesterday, Is pink milk the new pink slime, an exposé on the poor nutritional standards in our public school cafeterias. In this enlightening article, Anna points out that rather than serve “pink milk”–artificially flavored, super sugary beverages that barely meet federal regulations, our public schools should treat school meal nutrition as a top priority, and develop rigorous nutritional standards for that which they serve.

Anna’s vision extends beyond non-pink milk at the cafeteria. She envisions an improved cafeteria diet as the first step to transforming America into a healthier, smarter and more productive nation:

“At a time when America is expanding its waistline while slipping in educational rankings, could elevating nutrition in schools be a lever for societal transformation? Yes, and it’s already happening.”

We applaud you, Anna, for both the concrete solutions you provide and the hopes and aspirations you generate in this article for an America with healthier bodies and minds.

Other successes from our TWU fellows include:

Katie Pedigo’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act deserves passage

Patricia Davis’s Backpage in Our Backyard

and the very first TWU article published, Ellen Magnis’s The Jerry Sandusky trial and child sexual abuse’s walking-wounded

Congratulations to Ellen, Katie, Patricia and Anna for your amazing voices, as well as to Rose, Chloe and Katie O. for such a fruitful first convening!

-Xueli, PVF Intern

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