No kid should ever be sexually abused, period! Men who abuse boys who are sub teens or teenagers more than likely play mind games with themselves to convince themselves that it's okay. They think, probably correctly, that every teenage boy is interested in sex, so its okay. But they fail to understand the abuse of power that is always a part of any sexual activity between a man and a boy. The man in such a relationship will rationalize it in his mind and may even forget about it if he is not caught. The young man will never forget. It will be a part of him for his entire life.
I know something about this because I was sexually molested by the father of one of my classmates when I was a teenager. The man owned a business in town and the event took place in the back room of that business when my father sent me there on an errand. It only happened once. I'm sure it could have happened again, but I made sure I was never alone in that place of business again.
I remember the event in vivid detail even now, 50 years later. I went into the shop and told the man what I needed. He said he had it in the back, and asked me to follow him. When we entered the back of the shop I was just behind him. He reached back and cupped his hand over my cock and balls and felt them through my jeans. He asked if I ever played with that thing.
I was shocked and stunned. My mind was racing but I could not think of anything to say except the truth and so I said that I did. He then asked if he could see it. Still somewhat shocked, I said okay. I remember exactly what was going through my mind as I said okay. I had been sexually active with other boys my own age for several years. In all those years, I had never seen a boy whose equipment was bigger than mine. I had seen one boy whose equipment matched mine for size. I had always wondered what an adult male cock would look like hard since I had never seen one in that state. I thought this was my chance.
He reached over and unzipped my jeans and hauled out my cock, commenting on its size. He began to stroke it. Then he stopped for a moment and took out his own cock and asked me to stroke it. I did and I was actually elated because I was bigger than he was. He stroked me until I had an orgasm. Then he began to stroke his own cock to orgasm while I watched.
With the deed done, he found what I had come to get and gave it to me. I was out the door as fast as I could go. I have to say that the sex was not what bothered me most. All the way home all I could think was that it was a very small town and everyone knew what everyone else was doing. There were few secrets. That scared the shit out of me. I knew for certain if my Dad ever found out what had just happened to me, he would kill the man. Not figuratively, but literally. In order to try to prevent that, I made a vow to myself to never speak of the event to anyone, and I hoped that he would do the same. I kept that vow and never told a soul until some 35 years later, long after the man was dead.
The physical act didn't bother me much, but it was never forgotten. I stayed away from the man, and I never spoke to him again. And until I went away to college, I worried that my Dad would find out. And I worried about what my Dad would do to him if he did. I worried that my Dad might end up in prison because of me.
It's hard to say how the young men at Penn State might be reacting to their abusive experience. I'm sure the eight of them (the last count I heard) are reacting and have reacted in different ways. Some of them probably have shaken it off and tucked it in the back of their minds. Others have probably been living with the same fear I lived with for years, that someone would find out. Fortunately, for me, that fear was never realized, but for these young men it has not only been realized, it has become a National News Story. Everyone knows! There is little doubt that these young men, once traumatized are about to have that trauma compounded on the National stage.
That makes me very concerned for these guys who are now young men. I know looking back on my own experience that had anyone found out, had it become common knowledge around town, much less common knowledge around the nation, the trauma from that would have been exponentially worse for me than the act itself. I suspect the same is true for some of these young men, and that is a tragedy too. Perhaps a bigger tragedy than what happened to them in those showers.
Frankly, I don't know the answer to this problem. The abuser, if guilty, deserves to be punished. But I hate that eight young men are going to have their worst nightmare replayed in front of the Nation. That is a real tragedy.
To me, the other tragedy is that at least two people who were made aware or became aware of the alleged abuse actually did what they were required to do under the law, but now with perfect 20/20 hindsight and with the mobs inflamed, these two people are being abused themselves by the press and by public opinion. It simply is another tragedy. The abuser and anyone who covered it up should be punished, but those who did their duty under the law should not be second guessed by an angry mob and the press which will play the story for all its worth and more with no thought to whom they may hurt.
The other thing that bothers me is that this tragedy will be used to further the bashing of gay and bisexual men though the man who committed the abuse was apparently a man living a straight live which is usually the case with abusers of boys. The event will also be used to further feed the unhealthy view of sexuality that is already rampant in the United States.
This picture was painted by Thomas Eakins around 1883. It is a well known painting of boys swimming in the "old swimming hole." The picture is a picture of boys being boys. Fast forward to the 1960's and it could have been a picture of me and my friends skinny dipping in my grandfather's pond.
It is a picture of an innocent age, an age that no longer exists. Today these young men as well as me and my friends skinny dipping in my grandfather's pond would be arrested for doing such a thing.
The reality is we have simply lost our way. We have criminalized boys being boys. In a very real way society itself is abusing boys by making them think that nudity itself is a bad thing. We have made them ashamed of their own bodies. The unhealthy picture we paint for our children sets them up for abuse. They don't feel they can talk to anyone about it if the get the feeling that someone is beginning to go to far with them.
Thomas Eakins painting is a well known classic, but if he were alive today and painted such a picture, he would likely be arrested and he would be branded a pervert. None of this is meant to imply in anyway that adult abusers of young men are not responsible for their actions and should not be punished. They should be punished! The young men whom they have abused will never be the same. Their lives and the way they see themselves is altered permanently. But society should not add to that tragedy by making young men ashamed of their bodies. We should not try to protect them from anything remotely sexual. Instead we should teach them carefully that there are abusers out there and assure them they can always talk to us if they are concerned that some adult seems to be getting too familiar with them.
That we have reached such a point in this country that young men are ashamed to talk to anyone and feel they must bear the burden of abuse alone is a tragedy. That we have made so many young men ashamed of their own bodies is also a tragedy.