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

N.C. Pol Sticks to “Predators” Remark

Mecklenburg County commissioner Bill James x390 (fair) | ADVOCATE.COMNorth Carolina politician Bill James is not backing down from his statement that gay people are “sexual predators.”
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James Stands by Remarks That ‘Homosexuals are Sexual Predators’

Mecklenburg County (NC)  Commissioner Bill James is standing by remarks he made in an email to colleagues following the Senate's vote approving repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, in which he said "Homosexuals are sexual predators."

Reports the Charlotte Observer: James

"People are entitled to their opinion, and that includes me," James said Thursday. "I don't expect people to (always) agree with me. It's a political discussion and I wouldn't have raised it on my own, but Jennifer (Roberts) decided to wade in on it."

The County Commission chair expressed reluctance about punishing James for the comments, even though James has bashed gays before:

But Jennifer Roberts, chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, said Thursday she hasn't talked to commissioners about what action, if any, the board should take.

"The challenge is everyone recognizes that it's inappropriate language," Roberts said. "This is a repeat performance and I just don't know if it helps or hurts the end goal by making any kind of formal statement."

In related news, James has also sent out a letter saying that gays prey on young men at YMCAs.

The next question is, when will we see James in a Larry Craig or George Rekers situation? Travelers, keep your eyes peeled.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

NC: County Commissioner Bill James in email to colleagues – gays are ‘sexual predators’

There he goes again. Billanal probeJames, a notorious anti-gay Republican Mecklenburg County Commissioner who likes to send out anti-gay screeds from his official email address, is trying to wrap up 2010 with a big finish.

Matt Comer of QNotes reports that James’s latest missive was sent to his colleagues after LGBT-ally County Commissioner Chair Jennifer Roberts requested that the commission send a letter of thanks to U.S. Reps. Larry Kissell (D) and Mel Watt (D) and U.S. Sens. Richard Burr (R) and Kay Hagan (D) for their votes to repeal DADT.

Homosexuals are sexual predators,” James wrote in one email from string of three between county board members, Roberts and County Manager Harry Jones, and provided by James to qnotes. “Allowing homosexuals to serve in the US military with the endorsement of the Mecklenburg County Commission ignores a host of serious problems related to maintaining US military readiness and effectiveness not the least of which is the current Democrat plan to allow homosexuals (male and female) to share showers with those they are attracted to.”

James added, “The US Government would not allow Hetero men and women to share showers and other personal facilities yet the leading homosexual in Congress (Barney Frank) thinks it is OK for homosexuals to do so allowing enlisted men and women to fall prey to higher ranking or more powerful homosexuals who ogle them (or worse).”

It should be noted that James has some harsh criticism for Burr, the conservative Republican who surprised almost everyone by voting for repeal. James in the email:

“I suspect Richard Burr will pay a high electoral price for his actions but whether it boots him from office next time is unknown. I know I won’t be supporting him even if he does have an R after his name.”

As far as NC is concerned, since the midterms has resulted in the first GOP-dominated state legislature since Reconstruction, James is hot to let the incoming Republicans he wants a social agenda pushed that includes a ban on adoptions by gay couples, prohibition on domestic partner benefits and raising from the dead again a marriage amendment.

We go way back with homobigot James, who is in a conservative district where he often ran unopposed. His long outrageous e-diatribes of homophobia are hard to top.

Below the fold, some classic Bill James for your entertainment.
Matt Comer brought up this racist, homophobic embarrassment that was caught on camera.

During debate last December on domestic partner benefits for county employees, James leaned over to his Democratic colleague, Vilma Leake, and called her son a “homo.” Leake’s son died from AIDS in the 1990s.


When Leake heard that, she replied: “Don’t make me hurt you. Don’t do that to me. Don’t talk to me about my son.”

He refused to apologize, saying “It is akin to someone whose son is an alcoholic and died from the disease, using his death from drinking as justification to have the taxpayers pay for more booze.”

But wait, there’s more. The following reveals a lot about what passes through the mind of Bill James. Again, this was sent to his fellow commissioners as an official communication.

From: Commissioner Bill James

To: =emails deleted=

Sent: Friday, April 29, 2005 8:56 AM

Subject: Perversity is not diversity

You really think that a pool of people (homosexuals) where 45% of them eat feces from the rear end of another male is “normal”? If you do, you are frankly nuts.

A lifestyle where one of their past times is buying gerbils and hamsters from the pet store and cramming them up their rears in an activity called feltching? A group of people who like to urinate on their partners and call them “golden showers”? Where one of the honored members of the Gay Alliance is an organization called the “Man-Boy Love Association” that promotes sex with underage boys?

That behavior is worthy of protection? That behavior is worthy to be taught in our schools? to our children? You are one sick “Independent, white, married-heterosexual, presbyterian” if you do.

The stat’s below are unimpeachable. I intend on talking about each and every one of these “behaviors” if this sorted subject comes up. I am lining up speakers including Doctors and Nurses to talk about these in gruesome detail. And these are the behaviors that Parks Helms wants to “insure”?

Attached is a wav file with a Charlotte news account of one of those “feltching” accounts gone wrong. I will play it from the BOCC dais if this comes up.

BTW, he loves answering emails about his views if you want to drop him a line:

Contact Commissioner James:

Wjames@carolina.rr.com

The Best of Bill James:
* NC: Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James refuses to apologize for his ‘homo’ comments
* CharMeck homo-bigot will not STFU
* CharMeck County Board meets tonight; wingnuts are coming out
* NC’s precious homobigot Bill James rises again
* I wasn’t kidding when I said the NC wingnuts are sick
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Letters • 07.30.10

Perception of weakness

In the article “Letter criticizes FBI’s handling of Terlingua attack,” (Dallas Voice, July 23), the Rev. Stephen Sprinkle of Brite Divinity School makes a very profound statement.

He said, regarding the victim of the attack, “I think he was targeted because he was perceived as weak and vulnerable.” He went on to elaborate that what mattered was the “perception” that the victim was “different.”

This is strikingly familiar to the story, several months ago now, of two men attacked in the Oak Lawn area by those wielding baseball bats (“Community outraged over assault,” Dallas Voice, May 21).

It was the “perception” of their vulnerability that more than likely made them the target of those who attacked them. But something made them stand out in the minds of their attackers.

It is the perception of being vulnerable that is really the issue here. It does not matter so much if someone is perceived to be “gay” so much as they are perceived to be “prey.” What was it that made them stand out in the predator’s/predators’ mind(s)?

The more we ask these questions of ourselves, the more we initiate those skill sets that allow us to think like a predator instead of prey.

A person’s gender, age, race, religion or sexual orientation are really superfluous to the issue at hand. What matters is the “perception” of vulnerability — period.

And there isn’t always safety in numbers. As the two men attacked recently will attest, four attackers still outnumber two victims, let alone if they have weapons.

I just spoke to a man in Uptown last week, late 20s and very physically fit, who was attacked by two men while on business in Atlanta. His level of fitness afforded him nothing when faced with two assailants when he was admittedly a bit “tipsy” leaving a nightclub, separated from his two friends and distracted by the new female friend he had just met inside. His two assailants knew he was vulnerable for several reasons.

Until we all ask those internal questions that only the individual can ask and then seek out the advice and training to help us fill in those gaps of vulnerability, the stories involving predator and prey will continue to be a recurring theme in our print and news media.

Jeff McKissack, speaker/instructor
DefenseByDesign.com

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 30, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

‘Kids’ is a genuine popular hit

OK, this is pretty cool: The top grossing film at the box office last week was the second full weekend of Inception, which took in more than $42 million on 3,792 screens. That’s a lot, obviously. Second for the weekend was the debut of Salt, on 3,612 screens, with $36 mil. It goes on — from No. 3 Despicable Me (3,600 locales) to No. 10, Predators (1,846 screens) at about $3 million.

And then there’s No. 11: The Kids Are All Right. The gay-themed film, which we reviewed last week, took in about $2.6 million. But here’s the big news: It did so on 201 screens. Yep, less than a 10th of most of the films in the top 10. In the case of Predators, which has been in release the same length of time, that’s a per-screen average of about 10 times more for Kids. Per screen, it even beat Inception by a comfortable margin — $4,300 versus about $3,700.

Now, I’m not saying Kids is in the running to replace the big blockbusters as the top movie of the summer. (Kids has so far grossed about $5 million — the top film of the year, Toy Story 3, has made $380 million.) But I am saying there’s a lot of support out there for gay-interest movies that aren’t about oversexed twinks or 20-something lesbians getting it on behind their boyfriends’ backs. It’s a move toward normalcy that I like.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Queer Clip: Predators

Noland (Laurence Fishburne, right) reveals to Royce (Adrien Brody) some of the secrets of living on an alien world – and amidst alien Predators.

You don’t to gory sci-fi movies expecting much gay content. Odd, really, considering that, as with comic books, gay boys make up a sizeable portion of the sci-fi market. So as I slogged through the hundred-or-so minutes of Predators, I didn’t really expect to learn that the killer creatures who hunt man for sport were secretly involved in caring same-sex relationships. (Even if I did, it would be so like Hollywood to make the villains gay.)

Then, about an hour in, I was startled awake — and not by an alien jumping from the shadows. Laurence Fishburne turns up as a nutso survivor, someone who evaded the predators on their game-preserve planet for 10 seasons.

“Is this where you live?” one of the newcomers asks.

“No, it’s my summer home,” he snaps back. “I winter in the South of France. The schools are better and the men are so fine.” Or words to that effect.

Wh-h-hat??! Did Laurence Fishburne just out his character in a macho massacre movie? It certainly seemed so.

Ultimately, that’s hardly enough to be me to recommend a movie of no redeeming qualities. But then, if you go to something called Predators, you probably get what you deserve.

And you do. Building on the original 1987 Arnold Schwarznegger film, the predators have stolen eight vicious earthlings (among them Adrien Brody and Topher Grace) as worthy prey for their bloodsport, and as the motley assemblage of politically correct and ethnically diverse folks get picked off, it becomes a game of “who will die next.”

There are no surprises. But there are decent special effects, albeit in service to a mindless suffer timekiller. “How was it?” someone asked me. “It’s a Predator movie,” I responded.

That’s all you need to know. That, and how fine the men are in the South of France. At least according to Laurence Fishburne.
2 stars

— Arnold Wayne Jones

—  Michael Stephens