Donate Now
Post New Topic  New Poll  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Child Sexual Abuse: "Historical" vs. "Modern" Perceptions.....

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Child Sexual Abuse: "Historical" vs. "Modern" Perceptions.....
Sans
Peer Ambassador
Member # 91788

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Sans     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Remember the scandal that took front page a couple months ago involving the American football coach, Joe Paterno, who played a key role in concealing the sexual abuse crimes committed by his assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky?

I found this editorial in the National Post today.


"As insane as it seems to we modern folk, sex abuse — even the sex abuse of children — wasn’t taken seriously as a first-order criminal act until just a few decades ago. Putting aside his cynical desire to protect the Penn State football program and a former colleague, Paterno was a product of an earlier generation that embraced such ignorant attitudes.

In 2012, we know that, short of actual murder or mutilation, sexual abuse is the worst thing you can inflict on a child. Emerging scientific research shows that abuse suffered at an early age actually alters the chemical structure of a developing brain. It often prevents victims from having healthy relationships throughout their entire life. But until just a few decades ago, none of this was widely known. And to the extent it was known, it wasn’t discussed.

Indeed, I am shocked by some of the stories I hear on this subject from my friends and relatives who are above a certain age. One of my wife’s relatives, for instance, speaks casually about the swimming classes he took as a child at the Y in St. Catharines, Ont. in the 1960s. His instructor at the time insisted that all the children swim naked — because, he claimed, the dye in their swimming suits would colour the pool water. (Some of the boys innocently asked why the female swimmers were free to wear bathing suits — whereupon the instructor claimed that those suits were made with a different, more waterproof form of dye.)

Folks found his behavior creepy, but apparently he was never fired or sanctioned. In 2012, needless to say, he’d be arrested and imprisoned — and the whole episode would be front-page news.

Another friend of mine, also a Canadian senior now living here in Toronto, tells me of his days as a high school administrator during the 1970s. In one case, a teacher was discovered with photographs of naked boys. A pretext was found for his dismissal — it turns out he’d forged some of his academic qualifications at the time he was hired — but the matter was never turned over to the police. It wasn’t something anyone even considered. They laughed about the guy when he was gone, as if he were merely an odd duck.

Joe Paterno was born in 1926 — twenty years before the two men who told me the stories described in the paragraphs above. He also was decades older than the three university officials who allegedly conspired with him to suppress the Sandusky scandal — which, to my mind, makes their actions worse, since they are creatures of a more modern era.

To the old-fashioned way of thinking, sex abuse was something you were expected to forget about when you got older — in the way that children put away old clothes. In Paterno’s formative years, there was no popular understanding of the mind as something that can be permanently wrecked by horrible childhood experiences.

Moreover, even to the extent pedophiles’ activities were seen as shameful, the shame was (wrongly) seen as something that tainted both the abuser and the abused — so what was the point in going public with it?

Sandusky’s crimes, and the effort to cover them up by Paterno and others, comprise a sad and tragic story. But they also help show us how quickly and thoroughly our attitudes to such crimes have evolved within the space of a single man’s lifetime."

The above extract was retrieved from:

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/07/23/jonathan-kay-in-ignorning-sex-abuse-paterno-was-very-much-a-creature-of-his-ignorant-era/


What do you think about the statements that this author makes in regards to the comparison of "historical" ignorant attitudes towards sexual crimes committed against children as opposed to "modern", "educated" perceptions? Do you agree or disagree with what he's saying/implying? If so, why?

[ 07-24-2012, 09:04 PM: Message edited by: Sans ]

--------------------
"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

Posts: 537 | From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sans
Peer Ambassador
Member # 91788

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Sans     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm so sorry, everyone! I should've put a "Trigger Warning" in my initial post. And now the time has lapsed for me to edit it. So, here it is:

TRIGGER WARNING!

--------------------
"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

Posts: 537 | From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
angie88
Neophyte
Member # 96244

Icon 1 posted      Profile for angie88         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi Sans,

Just felt I needed to react to this. It always bothers me to hear/read "times were like that, but now we wouldn't let it happen" when it comes to abuse. I think this is what the article's author is implying. Today, society - and medias - like to comfort themselves and say "people were sooo medieval back then but now everything's fine". But it's not.

I am in my 20s and have heard similar stories from people of my age. The difference is maybe that they knew the abuser's behavior wasn't right and that they had the right to tell someone about it. But then, in most cases, the parents and other adults didn't react. Because of what other people would say, because "it doesn't happen to US", etc.

To me, "modern" society is even worse, because we know. We have no excuse and still, some adults still blame children and let the abusers go free. The same goes for prevention: at school, we still hear a lot about the bad stranger who wants to give you candies...but what if the abuse is done by someone you should trust, i.e. a relative or school teacher /coach?

My bottom line is: children are better educated and know that they can tell an adult, that this isn't normal. The problem is, the adults not always do what they should... [Frown]

[ 07-26-2012, 07:52 AM: Message edited by: angie88 ]

Posts: 29 | Registered: Jul 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WesLuck
Activist
Member # 56822

Icon 1 posted      Profile for WesLuck     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah, I don't think it's as simple as "we did it then, we don't do it now". Maybe it is becoming better in some ways, but we do need to follow through on helping people get justice and respect when they have been abused. I think it some ways things have improved, but a lot of work still needs to be done.
Posts: 540 | From: Australia | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  New Poll  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3