The Zero to Me:
10 Years Down and a Lifetime to Go
Joel A. Dvoskin
The Zero is our way of sharing the ultimate sign of respect—truth—with anyone who is man or woman enough to come and seek it. And seek it you do, at a rate that we could never have imagined when The Zero was born.
I have no idea why people check out The Zero the first time. But I know well why they come back, at least those that do. People come back to The Zero because they can handle the truth. And the best of you don't just handle the truth, you wield it like an ax.
Some of you first came calling because you were fans of a great author. But you found no fan club, because the price of admission is steeper than any fan club in the world. In order to stay, you had to read not only about the tragedy of child abuse, but about what you can do—what you must do—to fight for our children's safety. Of course, once that truth is known, there is no more hiding from it. Either you do something to make the world a safer place for kids, or you're one of the bad guys.
Some of you came to The Zero because of the previously unspeakable things that were once done to you. I doubt that most of you knew exactly what you were looking for, and if you did I am pretty sure you didn't find it. But of all the truths one finds on The Zero, the most important one is that you are not alone. Because the worst child abusers have multiple victims, and because the victims have warriors on their side, there are more of us than there are of them. By warring against "The Secret," The Zero has taught many of its children that they are part of an army that will one day rise up and make children safe. We have no second amendment … yet, but thanks to The Zero we have PROTECT, we have famous and powerful allies, we have new laws, and collaborator judges who are running for their sick political lives.
Some of you came to The Zero because you are "professionals" and you want to help. You, too, were probably surprised when you got here. As a psychologist, I have learned that child abuse is not an illness to be diagnosed; it is a crime to be investigated. As more and more child protective workers and police investigators visit The Zero and learn its truths, my dream is that they will stop pretending that they are not on the same side. But if you are looking for simple clinical truths, The Zero may not be for you. If you want to believe that every allegation is true, or that every allegation is false, you offer nothing of value to the war. If you think that your clinical degree makes you a human lie detector, The Zero is not for you. The ammunition in the war against child abuse and neglect is not sophistry, but evidence. Protecting kids requires more than zeal; it requires hard work.
Finally, God help me, some of you came to the Zero because you do evil in the world, and you wanted to learn what your enemies were up to. So learn this: you may lurk safely in the darkness of "The Secret," but not for long. There are too many good guys, and some day soon they will find you, and expose you, and you will wither away.
I am an unrealistically optimistic person, so I surprise myself by closing on a sad note. Amid all of this self-congratulation for The Zero, I know that so far we have failed. Kids are still not safe. When more people care about cruelty against animals than cruelty toward kids, we have failed. When the National Rifle Association has more money and more members than PROTECT, we have failed. When the most dangerous place for children is their own homes, we have failed. I am glad The Zero exists, but I love it less for what it is than for what it will be.
Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP
Diplomate in Forensic Psychology
University of Arizona College of Medicine
The Zero's 10th Anniversary Gallery