Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dennis Hastert, Child Molesters, Homophobia and Transphobia

Child sexual abuse is a scourge that this country tries to overlook, it's an epidemic that no one likes to talk about. Child sexual abuse became a central topic in the media and social media over the last two weeks. The nation reacted in shock when it was revealed that Dennis Hastert was a serial child molester. 

Recently former Speaker of the House was sentenced to 15 months in prison for a number of bribery charges stemming from his sexual abuse of teens when he was a wrestling coach 40 years ago.  In the aftermath of his sentencing there were a number of misconceptions about sexual abusers in general and him in particular.

A number of people, mostly on social media started referring to Hastert as a closeted gay child molester because he molested boys.  Aside from perpetuating a bigoted myth, this is wrong for a couple of reasons.  Closeted gay men and women may have illicit affairs in secret.  They may visit bath houses or adult book stores. They may carry on relationships with someone of the same sex for years.  They don't abuse children unless they are child sexual abusers.

Child sexual abusers can identify as gay, straight, bi, queer, trans or any combination in between. Sexual abuse of children, like rape is about power and control.  It's about sexual gratification but it is NOT about orientation. Child sexual abusers often abuse children of both biologic genders. In 22 years in hundreds and hundreds of cases, the split between people abusing one gender or both is about a 50/50 split.

The most important aspect of child sexual abusers is opportunity.  They most often groom and abuse children they know.  Statistics show that about three quarters of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know.  There are a few child sexual abusers who do abuse strangers but this is extremely rare. The few cases I've done with abusers assaulting kids they don't know have happened in situations like sleep overs.

This brings me to the topic of the hysteria by right wing demogogues about Trans people using the bathroom they identify with.  This is just unadulterated bigotry and hatred. It is patently false that men dress up as women to abuse girls or adult women in bathrooms. As I illustrated above, child sexual abusers don't need ruses and costumes.

Claiming that bathroom laws protect women and girls totally discounts the fact that sexual abusers can be women abusing girls or men abusing boys.  Making sure men don't dress as women to abuse 'little girls' is just code for bigotry.

Dennis Hastert's crime brought the issue of child sexual abuse back to the public eye.  It's a horrific crime that leaves the victim scarred for a lifetime. It's crime that people don't like to talk about and when they do it's important that they use facts, not myth.

Gay men and Trans people are not child sexual abusers because they are gay or trans. That myth is bigotry, not fact. Child sexual abusers are child sexual abusers. Period.

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