Op-ed: Why Don’t Male Children Matter?



Penn State University sports mural  X560 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMNews reports have routinely emphasized the crime against Paterno’s
legacy while barely mentioning the actual victims. But Paterno should
have resigned after his grand jury testimony last year in which he
described how a distraught graduate assistant came to him saying he had
witnessed a naked 58-year-old Sandusky anally raping a 10-year-old boy
in the athletic showers.

No effort was made by anyone — not
the grad student, who is still employed by Penn State, Paterno, nor the
other men — to either rescue the boy or contact police. For nine more
years Sandusky was free to continue raping other boys.

The grand
jury report describes Sandusky, a married father of six, as a serial
predator, wooing his victims (who ranged in age from 7 to 13) with
computers, trips, football games, and other gifts, and using his role
at Penn State to manipulate the boys. Sandusky, an assistant coach at
the university for 32 years, was a professor emeritus with his own
office, phone, and free range of the athletic department. He also
started his own charity for troubled boys called the Second Mile. It is
from there that Sandusky culled many of his alleged victims. (This
morning talk show host Mark Madden told Dennis & Callahan Morning
listeners that Second Mile was being investigated for possibly
“pimping out young boys to rich donors.”)

Girls are most often
the victims of child sexual assault. When boys are assaulted, it is
likely by men like Sandusky—mentors who prey on their vulnerability and
to whom they feel loyal and thus unable to tell anyone what is
happening to them. Because boys are considered less vulnerable than
girls, when they do dare complain of abuse, often the assaults are minimized
or dismissed. In the case of older children, there is a presumption
that they are complicit in the assaults because of their budding
sexuality, much like adult women are often portrayed as complicit when
they have been raped. These cases are often represented as he said/he
said and in the hyper-masculine world of sports, the victims lose.

The Penn State case typifies this minimizing of sexual
assault of boys. Would anyone have ignored an adult man raping a little
girl in a shower? Why was this young child left defenseless and
undefended? No one came to his aid.

Tags: Commentary