Before he died of an apparent suicide on Tuesday, Mark Salling pleaded guilty to one of the most inconceivable, abhorrent, disgusting crimes known to humankind.
The contents of the 35-year-old Glee actor’s computer and thumb drive – some 50,000 images of child exploitation material – actively propelled the cycle of child sex abuse forward, and that is unforgivable.
In defiling our world’s most vulnerable and precious lives, Salling earned a life of endlessly long days and nights in prison, far away from those he hurt, with nothing but the weight of his crimes to hold.
We can hate what he did. We can feel nauseated by it. But if you're rejoicing the death of a child sex offender, remember this: The death of Mark Salling does not make children safer.
For thousands of children here in Australia, the next assault is still just around the corner.
Between 2015 and 2016, the Australian Institute of Family Studies reported 5,559 children suffered sexual abuse - and those are just the ones who were in the position to file an official report. Given it takes, on average, more than 30 years for a child sex abuse victim to come forward, this number seems undoubtedly tiny; minuscule to what is a monumental issue.
A monumental issue that Australia has failed to quell for decades.
Our reluctance to stop child sex abuse is largely because doing so hinges on society accepting a terrifying reality: There is little credible evidence to suggest paedophiles like Mark Salling are 'made'. Rather, they are born. According to the University of Toronto's Dr James Cantor, who is renowned for leading the world's most sophisticated research in the area, a paedophile's brain exhibits physiological differences to the normal brain, something he describes as "a literal cross-wiring".