How Should We Talk to Boys About Sexual Abuse?
June 12, 2012, 3:21 pm
New York Times By KJ DELL’ANTONIA
Have you talked with your sons and daughters about the Jerry Sandusky case, and if you have, what did you say? Opening arguments in the trial against Mr. Sandusky, along with Amos Kamil’s New York Times Magazine story this weekend about sexual abuse at the Horace Mann School in New York City, have me revisiting what I’ve said to my children — in particular, my oldest son.
“When I was at Horace Mann,” Mr. Kamil wrote, giving a little back story on the 6th Floor blog, “all of these stories were swirling around us. Some of it was rumor, some of it was conjecture, some of it was latent homophobia.” Thirty years and more after the fact, the young men at the center of some of those stories shared them with Mr. Kamil (although he writes that young women, too, suffered at the hands of the teachers and administration at Horace Mann, those aren’t the stories he tells).
It’s the “latent homophobia” Mr. Kamil describes that leaves me wondering if saying the same things to my son as I do to my daughter about sexual abuse is enough. I can talk about inappropriate touching, I can talk about it being fine to leave anyone and anywhere that makes them uncomfortable. I can talk about how if they come to me, at any time, I will believe them, and I will protect them.
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