Putting our children at risk

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents

Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.

As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.

Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.

With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.

The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.

Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.

His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.

It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.

If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.

Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.

In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.

Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or  money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.

Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.

Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.

Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.

The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.

But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.        

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

What’s Brewing: Census figures show Dallas has highest percentage of same-sex couples in Texas

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Dallas has the highest percentage of same-sex households of any city in Texas, according to an analysis of 2010 Census figures by the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law. Overall, same-sex couples account for 0.76 percent of households in Texas — or 67,413, the analysis shows. But in the city of Dallas, the rate is twice as high at 1.5 percent — for a total of 6,876 same-sex households. Galveston has the second-highest rate of same-sex households in the state at 1.47 percent, followed by Austin at 1.44 percent. Download the Williams Institute’s snapshot here, and stay tuned for more on the 2010 Census figures that were released this morning.

2. Almost three weeks after same-sex marriages began in New York, a solid majority of the state’s residents are comfortable with the new law, according to a poll released Wednesday. The poll found that 55 percent of New Yorkers back same-sex marriage, while 63 percent say they don’t want the law overturned. Forty-four percent said they are more likely to vote for a state senator who supported marriage equality, while only 30 percent are less likely to do so. Looks like the National Organization for Marriage is facing an uphill battle.

3. Despite widespread rioting and looting in the city this week, Manchester Pride will go on this weekend.

—  John Wright

Peter Sprigg won’t address hate group charges but will lie about same-sex households

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Photobucket Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council has yet to address the charges lodged against his group by the Southern Poverty Law Center regarding how they spread propaganda and junk science or misrepresent legitimate science to demonize the lgbt community.

But apparently he isn't too busy to continue misrepresenting legitimate science against the lgbt community.

Yesterday, a piece of his, Federal Report Confirms 'Nuclear Family' Best for Children's Health, was published in The Christian Post.

In this piece, Sprigg claims that nonpartisan groups support theories lodged by himself and FRC regarding the best households to raise children – i.e. the notion that two-parent heterosexual families are the best places to raise children as opposed to same-sex families:

 

During such debates, Family Research Council and other pro-family groups note social science evidence showing children raised by their own mother and father, who are committed to one another in a lifelong marriage, are happier (experience better mental health), healthier (have better physical health), and more prosperous (attain higher socioeconomic status) than children raised in any other household setting. For example, the non-partisan research group Child Trends summarized the evidence this way:

“Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”

We point to this evidence in support of policies which would discourage divorce, cohabitation, and out-of-wedlock pregnancies, while encouraging sexual abstinence until marriage-as well as in opposing efforts to change the fundamental definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Yet more evidence along these lines can be found in a recently published federal study on “Family Structure and Children’s Health in the United States.” The report compares health outcomes on a variety of measures by family structure. Seven different categories of “families” are identified-“nuclear,” “single-parent,” “unmarried biological or adoptive,” “blended,” “cohabiting,” “extended,” and “other.”

Like with so many other times Sprigg refers to legitimate science to quantify his theories, there are several things wrong with his citations of these studies.

The first study he cited – The Child Trends study – was published in 2002.  And it never even addressed same-sex households.
The second study he cited – The Family Structure and Children's Health in the United States study – looked at  findings from the National Health Interview Survey between the years of 2001 and 2007. And it looked at married familes vs. unmarried families. Same-sex households was not specifically mentioned. The following classifications – seven different categories of “families” are identified-“nuclear,” “single-parent,” “unmarried biological or adoptive,” “blended,” “cohabiting,” “extended,” and “other” – are extremely vague at best in dealing with same-sex households because there is no specificity.

With these two studies, Sprigg seems to be following a pattern very familiar with him, i.e. twisting legitimate science to prove his theories even when said studies don't address his theories or contradict what he is trying to prove.

Last year, he published  The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality. In this piece, he used the statements of an lgbt health organization to prove that the lgbt orientation itself is indicative of negative behaviors, i.e. depression, alcohol and drug abuse:

Even the pro-homosexual Gay& Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) acknowledges:

• “Gay men use substances at a higher rate than the general population . . .”
• “Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate . . . .”
• “ . . . [G]ay men have higher rates of alcohol dependence and abuse . . . .”
• “ . . . [G]ay men use tobacco at much higher rates than straight men . . . .”
• “Problems with body image are more common among gay men . . . and gay men are much more likely to experience an eating disorder . . . .”

The GLMA also confirms that:

• “ . . . [L]esbians may use tobacco and smoking products more often than heterosexual women use them.”
• “Alcohol use and abuse may be higher among lesbians.”
• “ . . . [L]esbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women.”

Homosexual activists generally attempt to explain these problems as results of “homophobic discrimination.” However, there is a serious problem with that theory—there is no empirical evidence that such psychological problems are greater in areas where disapproval of homosexuality is more intense.

But strange enough, the source which he cited – the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association – said that homophobia is the reason for many of these health problems. Sprigg deliberately omitted information pointing this out:

Sprigg:

“Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate . . . .”

GMLA:

Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate than in the general population. The likelihood of depression or anxiety may be greater, and the problem may be more severe for those men who remain in the closet or who do not have adequate social supports. Adolescents and young adults may be at particularly high risk of suicide because of these concerns.

Sprigg:

“ . . . [L]esbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women.

GMLA:

Research indicates that lesbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women. This may be due to added stressors in lesbian lives from discrimination. Lesbians need support from each other and from health care providers to find healthy releases, quality recreation, stress reduction, and coping techniques.

What Sprigg is doing now with these two studies regarding households raising children is simply more of the same.

It's worth mentioning that Sprigg is fastly becoming the “point man” who is called in front of state legislative committees to speak against marriage equality.

Pretty soon, the question regarding Sprigg's intentional distortion of scientific work will no longer be “how can he continue to get away with this?”

The question is going to become “how can someone professing to believe in Jesus continue to engage in such blatant deceptions?”

And “how can an organization claiming to stand up for morality and values (the Family Research Council) condone such behavior?”

Related posts:

Family Research Council has yet to come out with 'detailed response' against SPLC charges

Will the Family Research Council ever fulfill its promise and address SPLC's charges?

Same-sex couples can be effective parents, researchers find 
 
Peter Sprigg proves the Family Research Council to be a hate group (again)

Family Research Council defends itself with distorted studies . . . again
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet