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

Seriously cool ‘It gets better’ (music) video

NSFW




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

If You Don’t Take Johnny Weir Seriously Yet, His First Single Certainly Won’t Convince You To

If Johnny Weir is going to remain with us as a pop culture sensation, then he needs to provide a soundtrack. Enter "Dirty Love," the skater's first single. And, perhaps, his reality show's new opening notes. (Apparently it's written by Lucian, who's behind RuPaul's "Cover Girl"?) It's just the first installment of Weir's second coming; the book drops in January.


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Queerty

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Audio: Dr. Laura condemns ‘absurd discrimination’ of gays. Yes, seriously.

On today’s radio show, the oft-controversial (to say the least), oft-gay-angering (to say the very least) host actually led with a four minute rebuke of the flawed policy:



*AUDIO SOURCE: Dr. Laura — 12/2/10 [DrLaura.com]

The pig that just flew by our window has yet to offer his thoughts.




Good As You

—  admin

Dan Savage is seriously not happy with the White House

I’m pretty sure this is in response to White House adviser Valerie Jarrett’s speech at the ironically-named HRC “No Excuses” dinner. You’ll recall that during that speech Jarrett plagiarized Dan’s “it gets better” campaign name, and didn’t even bother telling people that the phrase came from an anti-bullying campaign, let alone that Dan created it. In essence, she chose words over deeds. She could have helped the cause of bullying immensely by actually talking about Dan’s campaign, rather than simply plagiarizing its name, but instead she went for the sound bite over substance.  That’s the unfortunate metaphor for so much in this administration.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Santorum 2012. He’s seriously considering it.

Santorum for President.

That’s what he’s thinking:

In an interview with The Daily Caller, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said he’s actively cultivating donors, staff and supporters so he’ll be in a position to run for president in 2012 as a Republican if he decides to do so by early next year.

“I’m going through the process of what someone who is seriously considering running would do,” Santorum said by phone, “in order for when the time comes to decide, I’m in a position that I have a choice.”

Santorum—who was elected to the Senate in 1994 but left in 2006 after losing his seat—said he plans to make a decision on a presidential bid by either the end of this year, or the beginning of 2011.

Now, Ricky’s got some hurdles to overcome. Like the thrashing he took on Election Day in 2006. AMERICAblog did an hour-by-hour countdown til the polls closed at 8:00 in Pennsylvania. Check out our 8:00 PM post here.

The latest polling on same-sex marriage is going to make it harder for Santorum to base his campaign on hating the gays. Might help get him the GOP nomination (they still hate gays), but Ricky wants to be President. Gay marriage has been one of Ricky’s favorite subjects for years. Remember this infamous gem from 2003?:

Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that’s what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —

AP: I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was going to talk about “man on dog” with a United States senator, it’s sort of freaking me out.

SANTORUM: And that’s sort of where we are in today’s world, unfortunately. The idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we’re seeing it in our society.

AP: Sorry, I just never expected to talk about that when I came over here to interview you. Would a President Santorum eliminate a right to privacy — you don’t agree with it?

SANTORUM: I’ve been very clear about that. The right to privacy is a right that was created in a law that set forth a (ban on) rights to limit individual passions. And I don’t agree with that. So I would make the argument that with President, or Senator or Congressman or whoever Santorum, I would put it back to where it is, the democratic process. If New York doesn’t want sodomy laws, if the people of New York want abortion, fine. I mean, I wouldn’t agree with it, but that’s their right. But I don’t agree with the Supreme Court coming in.

Think of the fun we’ll have with this campaign.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright