November 21, 2011

I’m Really Angry about Creepy Guys

I’m REALLY angry at how one really sick guy can change the world in so many horrible ways. Jerry Sandusky's perversion, in truth, has damaged the lives of millions of people. He’s has become the Bernie Madoff of pedophiles. If you can stand to even think about all this for just a little longer, try on the following:

The obvious is the depth of the damage to the souls of all the young boys he abused, including his own foster son (one of five). They are men today whose lives and the lives of their families, are now filled with dark corners, churning emotions, hidden pain, and destructive shame. The horror of living with an abuser in your life, even after the abuse has stopped, is really incomprehensible to me.

Then there are the many layers of competent, dedicated, and otherwise good people at Penn State who lost it and made horrible and morally inexplicable decisions to not intervene and protect young boys. People who should have immediately taken physical and legal action against this perverted man and done what we all know was the right thing to do. Instead, they hid in denial hoping to insulate their institution from the necessary and inevitable consequences. Now they, and all the people around them, must try to find a way to cope with the tragic consequences of what they did and didn’t do.

Imagine all the students at Penn State and young people all around the world, looking for guidance from adults. All of these young people who, yet again, have to see adults in large institutions behaving shamefully and letting them down by modeling unethical, selfish, and dishonest behavior.

To the list of those hurt, add all the parents of young males everywhere. They now must wonder if they can trust any youth-serving group, mentoring organization, coaches, male teachers, scoutmasters, the men in their religious institutions, and even the men in their neighborhood. It represents a huge tear in the fabric of community trust.
Of course we have to include Men, as a class,
getting kicked in the balls just because they have them.
Of course we have to include Men, as a class, getting kicked in the balls just because they have them. Because the pedophile creeps we hear about are men, now all men are suddenly suspect. Good men who want to show up for young males now have to hold back, or make sure they have a woman with them when they are around boys to avoid indictment. Now there is another reason for men to not trust other men in general, and certainly not trust them with their sons.

I’m glad this guy has been stopped and will certainly be punished. I'm glad a whole school community, and maybe the world, will get a chance to look in the ethical mirror. But I’m angry at the media, first, because of its relentless hunger for the next sordid detail. Secondly, I’m really angry the media never gives us a counter-point profile of all the men who have made life-giving and often life-saving differences in boys’ lives. Most men can remember guys who showed up for them, but we rarely hear a story about all the gifts they brought and those who today continue to bring into young male lives.

And then there are the hundreds of thousands of lost boys. Young males without fathers or involved male relatives, boys in foster care, in juvenile detention or jail, all the boys who are lost and severely under male-nourished who now will have an even smaller chance of finding a male ally, advocate, or mentor to help them on their journey to manhood. Because of the sick creeps, the really good men who might have shown up for these lost boys must now have even more courage to withstand the insinuation that if they want to help a young male, it might be because they are pedophiles.

Yes, I’m sad and angry at how one very sick man can do so much damage. I'm sad a public and functional definition of a solid, mature, responsible, and generative "good man" is now getting harder to see in the world around us. Yes, I’m Really Angry that calling men to be man-makers in the lives of all our boys just got a whole lot harder.

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  1. Well Said Earl - I will share this with the ManKind Project Journal. Blessings.

  2. I agree with your post 100% Earl. I, too, am a former youth coach and it makes me sick to see how this whole story is unfolding. I just watched a show on ESPN called "Outside The Lines," and they did a much more insightful, in depth piece on the Penn State scandal.

    Now there is another story of the same ilk regarding a Syracuse assistant basketball coach that has been gaining steam this last week.

    It is a good world out there. However, a few sick individuals ruin it for the rest of us.



  3. Tim W.8:56 AM

    Great post, Earl! I just read an interesting article in the NY Times commenting on the role of homophobia in not reporting this child sexual abuse earlier. If he had been caught raping 10 year old girls, this would much more likely have been reported to the police.

  4. How many Good Men have considered is they are an Allie of abusers, or if their views and actions protect kids?

    The PSU and Syracuse stories are nothing new. They just have media opening up a very large can of worms. Anger is the dominant emotion right now, but it’s how that is focused that makes all the difference.

    If people want to reclaim the situation, then there are many ways to do it. It does not mean having to get laws changed, but that would be very useful. It does not mean excluding yourself and other men from the lives of children. It does mean educating yourself and people around you to the risks, how to recognize issues and how to react.

    Kids do not respond well to anger – so one thing is “Can The Anger” and use it wisely. If kids see angry parents over this issue, then the kids are unlikely to tell such a parent of things that trouble them.

    Who would the Kids talk to – The angry male figures or the ones who are nice and give them money, gifts and who speak very quietly and reassuringly?

    Angry men make themselves allies to pedophiles and enable them! Which is better – be an Allie to kids, or those who seek to abuse the kids?

    I have heard some adults saying how am I supposed to react? That is their choice – they can let rip in front of Kids and scare the bejesus out of the kids – or the adult can take the anger to somewhere private and deal with it as a personal issue.

    Abusers seek private and quite situations to commit abuse and they whisper in young ears. Parents who are publicly angry in front of kids set the wrong example.

    Make sure that as a good man you are aware how your views and anger can be driving your kids towards an abuser. Make sure you are not at fault in being an Unwitting Allie to that which you find repugnant!

  5. Tom B.9:33 AM

    As a counselor in a residential setting for adolescent males, I can tell you how this all has affected the way we are required to conduct business.

    One on one counseling - I'm not allowed to have 1:1's without having my office door open. In fact, we're not allowed to ever be in an office with a client where either the door is open or another staff member be present.

    Transport - If I'm taking a client to the doctors appointment or any off campus transport, I must have another staff with me.

    Screening a client - even when all I need the client to is empty his pockets, I have to have another staff with me.

    Escorting clients - Can't use the elevator without another staff, cant go up one of the stairwells unless I have another staff accompany me.

    Makes life a little difficult sometimes especially if I'm dealing with a crisis.

    Putting my other hat on ..... As a CCD teacher, I have 13 6th graders. I have to have my class room door open at all times, even when the maintenance is vacuuming outside the classroom door.

    Why? Because of morons like Sandusky.


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