Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why We Need To Talk About It

We got a post from a listener Sunday night on our WOSH Facebook page.  The listener was "offended" that Bill Cunningham was using the word "rape" on the air repeatedly while discussing the Penn State scandal.  That listener believes such a word should not be used--and that "their (sic) is other stuff to talk about" besides that.

And that is exactly why we need to be talking about that.

First off, the use of the word "rape".  If you read the grand jury presentment you would agree that "rape" is certainly a proper description of the acts that were allegedly witnessed by Michael McQueary--and that "rape" is probably one of the least offensive ways to describe it.  Perhaps that listener would prefer the terms that Jerry Sandusky and his attorney are using in their "media blitz": "horseplay" or "just fooling around in the shower".  That in NO way diminishes the nature of the alleged offenses--and I'm sure makes all sexual assault victims feel like we really sympathize with their plight.

And as far as the complaint about such topics being discussed on the radio--that is the very attitude that allowed an institution like Penn State or Catholic Church to keep such alleged abuses under wraps for so long.  I can imagine the meeting McQueary and his father had with Joe Paterno the day after the 2002 "shower incident". 

"Coach I saw Jerry having sex with a boy in the shower last night.  The boy was pinned against the wall and Jerry was....."
"Aw, geez Michael, I don't need to hear about that stuff.  I'll talk to the Athletic Director and we'll get this straightened out.  Now don't talk about that stuff ever again.  You hear me?"

And right there, the policy is set: Coach Paterno (and everyone else at Penn State) doesn't want to hear about the molestation of children in his football facility.  Out of sight--out of mind. 

On a related note, I hope you were able to tear yourself away from the Packers game last night to watch Jerry Sandusky and his attorney on NBC's Rock Center With Brian Williams.  Bob Costas asked Sandusky pointed questions about the allegations against him.  Sandusky's answers sounded like 75% of the suspect statements I read in child sexual assault criminal complaints:  they are willing to admit to everything that is alleged--up to the point where it becomes a criminal act.  "Yes I showered with boys, yes I touched their legs, yes I hugged them, maybe my genitals bumped up against them but I didn't have any sexual contact with them!"  And the simple yes or no question of "Are you sexually attracted to young boys?" got a rambling twenty-second answer that ended with "I just enjoy being with children."

So make the decision listeners--are we going to talk about the serial molestation of children with the tacit knowledge of a public institution--or are we going to continue to turn away from it because it "makes us uncomfortable"?

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