Posts tagged: Children

Penn State Child Sex Abuse Opinion Wrap-Up

By , November 10, 2011 6:00 pm

All forms of media are blowing up with reaction to the firing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, the rape and sex abuse charges against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, and the blind eye so many at Penn State turned to it. There’s a lot going on here: idolatry; the culture of college sports; people within institutions not holding themselves and their institutions accountable.

This story is multi-faceted with so many different angles, causes and repercussions, I wanted to put some them together to try to find some context.

First, let’s call these alleged crimes at Penn State what they are writes Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

The nomenclature surrounding “sex crimes” is already hopelessly sterile, and the media routinely refers to cases of rape and sexual assault as “sex scandals,” but that makes it no less important to call them out every time they do it.

Sandusky is not accused of “having sex” with little boys, he is accused of raping them. In our civilization, “sex” with a child is not possible, since a child cannot consent to sex. As I half-listened to the news all day today, then, and I heard repeated references to “the Penn State sex scandal,” it pissed me off. It made my blood steam a little bit, like a hot cup of coffee.

(I would apply this criticism to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn alleged sexual assault which was often referred to as a “sex scandal.”)

Many have made the connection between the cover-up at Penn State and the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child molestation. Maureen Dowd made it in her Tuesday column in the New York Times:

Like the Roman Catholic Church, Penn State is an arrogant institution hiding behind its mystique. And sports, as my former fellow sports columnist at The Washington Star, David Israel, says, is “an insular world that protects its own, and operates outside of societal norms as long as victories and cash continue to flow bountifully.” Penn State rakes in $70 million a year from its football program.

Lawrence O’Donnell also discussed the failure of institutions and the people within them with with filmmaker Michael Moore on The Last Word.

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There was a lot of reaction on Twitter last night as protesters and rioters took to the streets at Penn State in support of Paterno.
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Expectations Of Men With Children

By , January 22, 2011 3:46 pm

Lenore Skenazy writes in the Wall Street Journal about society’s tendency to think all men are predators.

She starts off with the story of Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray who rescued two children from a burning van a few weeks ago. The kids’ grandmother didn’t know who Murray was and what he was doing. (She apparently didn’t know the car was on fire either.) Before she realized what Murray was doing, she intended to punch the lieutenant governor.

See a report about the story here:

Skenazy writes:

And so it goes these days, when almost any man who has anything to do with a child can find himself suspected of being a creep. I call it “Worst-First” thinking: Gripped by pedophile panic, we jump to the very worst, even least likely, conclusion first. Then we congratulate ourselves for being so vigilant.

She writes about an Iowa daycare center that prohibits male employees to change diapers; a man who was verbally accosted by a woman in a store for carrying girls underwear until she found out he was an employee restocking the shelves; a training video that instructs British teachers it is inappropriate to have any physical contact with a student, even when showing them how to position fingers on musical instruments.

Skenazy also tells the 2002 case of bricklayer in England who thought he saw two-year-old Abigail Rae walking by herself on the side of the road. He didn’t pick her up, though, because he feared someone would think he was abducting her. So, the bricklayer left her. It turns out Rae had wandered away from her daycare center and later drowned in a nearby pond.

Part of this “Worst-First” thinking has to do with society’s expectations toward men. It’s not just that any man can be a predator. It’s that unknown men are thought to be physically and sexually aggressive at all times. We might know fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins and friends who are nurturing or caring, especially to kids, but strange men are always a threat.

While men don’t have to be tough and emotionally inaccessible to be considered “A Man,” it’s what we often expect from men we don’t know. Men aren’t necessarily expected to be gentle and caring. It’s why we congratulate men who do things for their kids that women are often expected to do. But when a man is caring or even just in contact with someone else’s kids, he’s potentially dangerous.

It’s about balance. There are certainly men (and women) who are dangerous to children. But if we continue thinking every man is a threat, then we’ll hear more tragic stories like Abigail Rae’s while becoming paranoid and fearful of half the world’s population.

Skenazy says, “We think we’re protecting our kids by treating all men as potential predators. But that’s not a society that’s safe. Just sick.”

h/t: Good Men Project

News & Opinion 9-3-10

By , September 3, 2010 5:27 pm
Man asleep in bed holding teddy bear

Single childless women under 30, who live in cities, out-earn their male counterparts. [Time]

Alright men, fees up. Do one in four of you really sleep with teddy bears when you travel? [Guardian]

An American man takes 18 months of parental leave in Sweden and talks about “child-oriented masculinity” there. [Slate]  Five months after becoming a father, this writer looks back at his fear of impending fatherhood. [All Men Are Liars]

Should kids wear “I Love Boobies” t-shirts to school to raise awareness for breast cancer? Should anyone wear them? [Mankini Revolution]

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