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

Family Research Council defends itself with distorted studies . . . again

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

It's a regular comedy of errors with the Family Research Council.

In the organization's zeal to defend itself from the charges of being an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, it continues to make huge missteps.

And the latest just happened yesterday.

Now SPLC contends that FRC – and other so-called morality groups – either deliberately rely on junk science, distort legitimate science, or push propaganda to make the lgbt community seem like the dreaded “other” out to destroy American values.

FRC contends that SPLC is unfairly attacking them because they stand against gay marriage even though SPLC has made it clear that this isn't the case.

FRC spokesman Peter Sprigg, who has gone on record wanting gays and lesbians exported out of the United States and  “homosexual acts” to be made illegal, said the following about SPLC's charges in a blog post yesterday:

For the record, FRC believes that every human being, including those who experience same-sex attractions and those who engage in homosexual conduct, is created in the image of God and is loved by Him. How this qualifies as “hate” is a mystery.

We will be preparing a more detailed response to Cohen’s charge that FRC spreads “falsehoods” in our well-documented research, which does show that certain harms are associated with homosexual conduct. Those wishing to examine that research in the meantime can refer to the FRC book Getting It Straight: What the Research Shows About Homosexuality or to our recent pamphlet, The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.

For Sprigg's information, I have done just that several times in the past and have found a bunch of errors in both works he cited.

I've talked about these errors in several blog posts, but they bear repeating.

Let's look at the brochure The Top Ten Myths of Homosexuality.

At first glance, Ten Myths looks legitimate. However, a more intensive look reveals it to be a mishmash of inaccurate theories, cherry-picked work, and studies taken out of context created to justify homophobia

The following are just a few of the problems with Ten Myths:

1. Ten Myths repeats the lie that the Robert Spitzer study proves that homosexuality is changeable, excluding the fact that Spitzer has said on more than one occasion that his research was being distorted.

2. Ten Myths utilizes the work of  the organization National Association for  Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The website Truth Wins Out calls NARTH  a discredited “ex-gay” fringe organization that peddles fraudulent “cures” for homosexuality.

According to Truth Wins Out, several NARTH members have been embroiled in controversies including:

Gerald Schoenwolf, PhD, a member of NARTH’ “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a piece on the group’s website that seemed to justify slavery

NARTH psychiatrist Joseph Berger, MD, another member of its “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a paper encouraging students to “ridicule” gender variant children.

Also, according to Truth Wins Out:

NARTH’ co-founder, Joesph Nicolosi encourages male clients to become more masculine by drinking Gatorade and referring to friends as “dude”. NARTH therapists have been known to practice rubber band therapy, where a gay client is made to wear a rubber band and snap it on his wrist when sexually stimulated. It is a mild form of aversion therapy meant to “snap” the client out of the moment of attraction. NARTH members have also been known to practice “touch therapy”, where a client sits in the therapist’ lap for up to an hour, while the therapist caresses him.

Earlier this year, another member of NARTH, George Rekers, resigned from the organization after caught coming from a vacation overseas with a “rentboy.”

3. Ten Myths pushes the inaccuracy that a man who molests a boy is automatically gay even though the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Child Psychiatrists and the Child Welfare League of America, all say that the homosexuality and pedophilia are not linked.

Now let's look at FRC's other book, Getting It Straight.

In chapter 4 – Is Homosexuality a Health Risk, there is this passage (pg. 88):

A study of 3,365 high school students published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found: “Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure male students were 6.50 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than heterosexual male students. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure female students were 2.02 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than their heterosexual female peers.”

Robert Garofalo, et al, “Sexual Orientation and Risk of Suicide Attempts among a Representative Sample of Youth,” Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 153 (May 1999): 490.


In 1998, Garofalo complained that FRC and several other religious right groups was distorting his research. According to him, the groups omitted a crucial part of his findings (i.e. gay teens engage in negative behavior – suicide attempts – when faced with abuse from a homophobic society). Interestingly enough, when Garofalo complained, then FRC staff member Robert Knight questioned his credibility. (Boston doctor says ads distorted his work on gays, The Boston Globe, August 4, 1998 )

Then there is this passage in the same chapter on pg. 89:

A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on the mortality rates of homosexuals concluded that they have a significantly reduced life expectancy:

• “In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age twenty for gay and bisexual men is eight to twenty years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged twenty years will not reach their sixty-fifth birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.”

In 2001, the researchers of this study complained that their work was being distorted by organizations like FRC.

Chapter 5 of Getting it Straight, Do Homosexual Parents Pose a Risk to Children, is interesting in that except for a few alterations (i.e. rearranging of text) it is identical to Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children at Risk – one of the studies FRC removed from its webpage claiming that it contained “outdated sources.”

By that same token, chapter 6 of Getting It Straight, Is There a Link Between Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse? is a total rehash of Homosexuality and Child Abuse, yet another study that FRC removed from its page for having “outdated sources.”

What's interesting about Homosexuality and Child Abuse is that a researcher cited in it, Nicholas Groth, sent a letter to FRC in 2002 complaining about how his work was being distorted to prove that gays molest children at a higher number that heterosexuals – something that his work found not to be true.

However, despite his complaint , Groth's work is still cited in Getting It Straight (pg. 123):

Another study found that “some authors now believe that boys may be sexually abused as commonly as girls (Groth, 1978; O’Brien, 1980).”

The irony of all of this is that the title of Sprigg's blog post is called SPLC Equates FRC to Neo-Nazis—So Who’s “Demonizing” Whom?

Based upon Sprigg's shoddy work, created to demonize lgbts and pushed by FRC,  that is a very good question to ask, but not to SPLC.

The question should be asked of Sprigg and FRC.

Hat tip to Goodasyou.org

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—  admin