Monday, November 28, 2011

The Dirty Little Secret about dirty little secrets.

As many people know, when I'm not cracking wise on twitter, calling sports talk or sleeping, I work as a child abuse investigator. It's work that I enjoy. There I said it, I like my job. There's something rewarding about protecting vulnerable kids and supporting families. That said, I thought it was time to talk about Penn State and Syracuse.

Child sex abusers fall into many categories. There are incestuous sex abusers who only prey on their own children and abusers who prey on teenaged children but still have adult relationships. Then there are abusers like Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine. I'd could say "alleged" and be all PC, but I'm not a journalist, so there.

Let's be clear, Sandusky and Fine are the worst kind of abusers. Authority figures who befriend vulnerable children, perhaps groom them with gifts and attention, then slowly groom them for sexual favors. I've dealt with men like this and the abuse scenario is almost like a game. How far can I get this time? Maybe a rub of the leg, or an 'accidental' touch of the penis. Each time they try more and more. If the child protests, at first they apologize, and play it off like it was a misunderstanding, but the further they get sexually with the child, the more they lay guilt on the child that the child is wrong, dirty or weird. At some point in the abuse, the child figures out that what is happening is wrong, but by then, their silence has been purchased with gifts, threats or guilt or a combination of all three.

Statistics show that the average abuser in the mold of Sandusky and Fine abuse 117 kids. 117 kids. We also know that 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused by the time they are 14. Take a minute and think about the kids you may know, or if you don't know kids, look at any group of kids at the mall. A group of 10 kids probably has 2 or 3 sex abuse victims.

I know its hard to believe. We want the bad guy to look like the bad guy. We want him to look like Robin Williams in One Hour Photo and sound like a lisping pantywaist or Tim Tebow, but they don't. They work next to you, they teach and coach your kids. Hell some of them investigate child abuse.

Be vigilant, educate your kids. If someone tells them its a secret, the should run to you as as fast as they can. No one has the right to touch their bodies except a doctor when mom or dad are there and say its okay.

The best way to combat this kind of evil is by talking about it. Admit evil men and women (another day for that post) like Sandusky and Fine exist. It may not be fun to confront, or pretty to think about, but at least it's no longer a secret.

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