Who are we allowing to be around our children?
A Teacher who is prejudiced against women?
Recently I attended a conference in New Orleans with my friend Ms. B, who I just adore. This woman is so loving, generous, kind and a lot of fun. She is the mom I wished I had growing up.
We got to work the booth together and pitch what I do to the Orientation Directors and their students and we had a blast working together. I am a comedic motivational speaker and I speak on Avoiding Addictions, Sexual Assault, and Healing.
I love comedy and making people laugh. I am also fascinated by addiction in our culture and how to help people heal who have been through addiction and any kind of “sexual weirdness”. I am passionate about educating everyone so that we can stop the family patterns that have so much shame and stigma in our society.
There was another “speaker” who is also attended this event. This man is a professor at a University, has several master’s degrees and is married to a professor. He, (let’s call him “Jeffrey”), went on and on about his religious views and devotion; and he seemed to enjoy complaining about how difficult it was to practice his religion where he lived.
While I don’t agree with all of his religious points of view, I do respect someone that devoted to his culture and religion. Even though we did not have much in common, I began to view him as a goofy, out-of-touch-clownish sort of “Nutty Professor” who seemed pretty harmless.
On the second day of the conference, my friend, Jeffrey, and I got into a conversation about Sexual Assault. He said: “Well, I just don’t believe those statistics of 1 out of every 4 females is assaulted on campuses. I think the number is over-inflated.”
I said: “Oh really! I disagree. The more I am open about my story and my experiences of assault and molestation as a child and a college student, the more and more people admit that they too had an incident and know of others who did too. I think the statistic is actually higher because so many incidents go unreported due to shame and stigma around sex in this country.”
Jeffery said: “Well, it really doesn’t matter since most of those girls have been sexually active for years anyway.”
I replied: “What? So you are saying that if a young woman has already been sexually active, whether by choice or not, it doesn’t matter if she gets in a dangerous situation and finds herself having a person do something to her that makes her feel uncomfortable or that she doesn’t want done to her?”
Jeffrey said: “Well if she’s been sexually active for years…”
My friend just stood there, dumbfounded and watched the exchange between us. Later she said to him: “I hope you don’t share your point of view about this when you speak, especially to students.”
And I had to walk away because I was about to lose it.
This attitude and HIS attitude is why we are still in the dark ages about this issue. Sexual assault or inappropriateness happens all around us. Look at what just came out about Penn State where the head coach knew about another coach molesting football players in the showers for YEARS and did not very much about it. Who cares if he was the “winningest coach” of all time?
What about those poor young men who will be affected for the rest of their lives, not to mention their families and communities!
Look at the accusations toward Herman Caine. The statistics for sexual harassment in the restaurant industry are 40% and higher. Why is that acceptable?
It does not matter if a woman is sexually active or not.
A woman’s past has nothing to do with harassment or molestation at work or in a family.
I was sexually active for years before I even knew what I was doing because I was being manipulated by sick family members when I was not even a teenager yet. My parents did not protect me even though it was going on right under their noses. They were too busy dealing with their own addictions and issues. It was not by my choice to be sexually active. I had no boundaries, protection or help. I write this not so you will feel sorry for me, but so that we realize that this sort of things happens way more than we care to admit. I truly believe the only way to stop this pattern is to continue to bring it out in the open.
Adults who prey upon children are sick. Some of them can be rehabilitated and some can’t. One of the family members who molested me several times and later begged me to do it again: “Because you have no idea how good that was for me; how great it made me feel.” (His actual words to me when I was 12 years old and he was married with 2 kids of his own)
This person later went to prison for molesting his own son’s friends and thank god is on the National Sex Offenders Registry. This person continues to call my sister who has 2 small children and invite them to come stay with him and his wife. That is sick to me.
Thankfully she knows about what happened to me and would never endanger her own kids.
We have got to start talking about sexual assault, harassment, and molestation. We need to get the victims help so they don’t repeat their patterns. Studies indicate that if a man is molested or harassed he is 20 times more likely to perpetrate others when he becomes an adult.
The statistics are that 1 out of every 4 women is sexually assaulted on campuses, 1 out of every 4 women is a victim of domestic violence, and 1 out of every 4 women is molested before the age of 18. The statistics for men being molested before they are 18 is 1 out of every 6. These numbers are high and I think there are even more incidents that go unreported.
Studies indicate that shame/self hatred is directly linked with addictive and dangerous behavior. How do we heal this shame? How do we help people talk, heal, feel their feelings so they can forgive, move on and heal? I believe it starts with conversations.
I truly believe in compassion and forgiveness but we have to collectively work to end this cycle of shame, stigma, and loss. I didn’t get sober until I was 32 years old. I was so angry and full of shame about what happened to me; and about the way my family brushed me aside.
Now I have the tools and I have forgiven but not forgotten. And I can channel my anger in healthy, creative ways like writing and doing stand up comedy. I challenge you to look around Your life.
Who is teaching your kids, nieces and nephews? What is their philosophy, really? Should they even be around kids or have any influence in their communities? We have to wake up, come out of our collective coma and call people on their old fashioned, out dated “philosophies.”
I applaud the Penn State board for firing the coach and the President. I hope that they follow up and offer support to the kids who were violated. It is not acceptable, no-matter-what, to manipulate another human being who has less “power” than another person into doing things they don’t feel comfortable or right doing. And I do have to wonder if my “friend” the Nutty Professor thinks that this whole Penn State is “over-inflated” like the rest of what he thinks is “over-inflated”. Or maybe he is waking up with the rest of us. There is always hope and always help.
If you or someone you know has been assaulted or molested, please know you are not alone and that you can get help, no matter where you are. Please look up your local hotline or health and human services at your school, town or city. There are online resources and local resources for no cost or very little.
There are tons of books on sexual addiction, assault and ways to heal and get support. Please know that someone has gone through exactly what you are going through and that they made it and so can you.