By Paul Peavy, MS, LMHC
I hear a whole talk lately about ways to seek revenge against Jerry Sandusky at Penn State for his alleged sexual abuse of children. Now, Bernie Fine of Syracuse also faces charges of sexual abuse. People are mad, as well they should be. But I believe it’s more appropriate to discuss prevention.
I heard one male teacher say he is thinking of getting a T-shirt with his security clearance on it. While people try to make sense of how to spot a pedophile, the truth is that getting an official security background clearance from law enforcement simply means a person has not been caught, arrested and convicted of a crime.
So the question is, what could you as you as a sports event planner do to prevent child sexual abuse?
The only solution I can think of is to create a policy whereby no child is left alone with a single adult. To me, that means there should be two adults whenever a child needs a ride home. Two adults when the child needs medical attention. A child can go to the bathroom by himself. A child cannot go to the bathroom with only one adult.
Does this sound radical? Does this sound too expensive? Not to me, when I’ve seen the cost. If you have been sexually abused and you have worked through it and are cruising through life just fine, I applaud your strength and perseverance.
As a psychotherapist, I have seen the lifelong scar sexual abuse leaves on people who continue to guess emotionally at whom they should trust, whom to become intimate with—and just what that all means.
I have even seen child sexual abuse affect the hard wiring of the victim’s brain forever. Again, to those who have bravely overcome this I applaud you, but I hope you respect that I am simply trying point out the severity and the human expense of this problem.
Since I have always been such a sports nut, I cannot imagine that there is a bigger imbalance of power than a kid hanging out with a sports figure or person in authority who could help him achieve his dream of playing in the “bigs.” So, something has to be done to keep predators from being able to have such free access. From what I know, abusers prefer to act alone in a very isolated environment, but this access could be significantly limited with a two-adult-with-a-single child policy.
It’s time we stopped looking backward in anger and started looking forward in taking responsibility of the young lives we’ve been entrusted with.
What are your ideas on this topic? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.