Tap Dancing Around the Truth

The past few weeks of news have been full of appalling allegations of sexual impropriety.  Even an adult woman stepped forward accusing teeny-bopper Justin Bieber of fathering her baby – and in doing-so doing so put herself in the potential hot-seat for statutory rape.  Bieber handled the absurd allegations like a mature adult, and put the matter to rest as nonsense.  The accused adults in the other disgusting sexual dramas of the past week have not.

Sexual impropriety is in the news almost every day, and it wouldn’t be so surprising were it not for the power-players involved and the nature of the abuses.  No one ever expected to see the legendary Joe Paterno retired from Penn State’s Nittany Lions under such a pall of disgrace.  Inaction is Paterno’s crime, failing to take more definitive steps when confronted with a horror story of child sexual abuse.  Unrelated, but concurrent news made Herman Cain the subject of allegations for multiple cases of sexual impropriety while employed as the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.  The Cain case may be salacious, but it isn’t nearly as disturbing as what allegedly took place at Penn State.  

I suspect both cases have one thing in common: hush-ups by the human resources departments of both institutions.

Employees who work for a large institution believe ‘human resources’ is there to guide and protect them.  It’s more accurate to assume the covert mission of human resources is to protect the reputation of the institution they serve – hopefully never needing public relations to put a ‘spin’ on whatever skeletons might be hidden in the corporate closet.

I can’t find it in me to write anything humorous about either of these headline stories.  Both are tragic on too many levels to explore.   That said, generic sexual misconduct is disgusting enough – but pedophilia is beyond repulsive.  

Herman Cain’s actions are not proven, but where there’s smoke…  That said, Mr Cain’s actions don’t call into question the integrity of all CEO’s any more than it does that of every man or every black man.  It’s preposterous to assume a generalization like that.  

As a gay man, one concern I have, is the fear that charges leveled against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky might cause a backlash against the general population of gay men.  Sandusky is a pedophile, which is entirely different than being a gay man.  Looking back, people were not inclined to believe all female middle-school teachers were sex-offenders when Mary Kay LaTourneau gave birth to a child fathered by one of her students.  Clearly the immediate concern is for the victims – however, I hope people, will not, in ignorance equate the Penn Sate scandal with the mainstream gay lifestyle.

I had an experience when I was a little boy where an older teenager molested me.  I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old at the time.  Right after it happened, I went home and told my parents.  My father went to the teenager’s home and punched-out the kid’s uncle, who was raising the boy.  The teenage boy was sent to reform-school.  Now I can’t help but wonder if he was acting out of learned behavior at home.  I’ll never know.  Following the incident I experienced, my reaction was to get fat.  Prior to that experience my name used to come over the school’s PA system once a week – “Will Bill Whiting please come to the nurse’s office for underweight check.”  I still find it difficult to believe they used to do that.  I started to over-eat in an effort to get fat so as to hide myself. 

My experience when I was a boy isn’t what made me gay – and it most certainly didn’t turn me into a pedophile.  If anything, that experience left me with an extreme discomfort with sexual intimacy I’ve battled most of my life.  As an adult, I’ve fended off unwanted advances, but I was better prepared to do so.  As a child, I was not.

Herman Cain’s shenanigans were appalling, but not surprising.  Pedophilia on the other hand is an inexcusable disorder which psychiatric experts claim is incurable.  It is important to stress that pedophilia should not be confused with homosexuality.  In point of fact – most pedophiles are heterosexual.  

There seems to be an odd kind of similarity between misconduct among politicians and misconduct among sports heroes.  Too much power and not enough accountability.  But primarily what I’m left with is a sense of horror and compassion for the victims of any and all abuse.  The reputation of a corporation or a school is not worth the damage suffered by victims of sexual abuse, especially when they are children.

3 thoughts on “Tap Dancing Around the Truth

  1. The fact remains, as you so rightly point out, Bill, that pedophilia cannot be cured, any more than being gay can be cured. It just is not possible. Therefore, since they cannot be shunned as second class citizens, as so many do to homosexuals (sadly), they instead try to hide what happened. My mother remarried when I was six, the man I call my father is not, he is my adopted father. My real father had spent the first five years of my life moving his family around to escape the "angry mod" when his pedophilia was discovered. Finally, not long after I turned 5 he was arrested for molesting a 7 year old girl across the street. He was sent to a mental hospital for two years, plus two years in prison. He died in 1989. I never saw him after he just failed to come home in 1969. The fact is though, that for years before then, even though what he had done had been reported, nothing more than making him move was done.
    His children from his first marriage, and I, were living together then, but they got sent to foster homes and an orphanage while my full brother and I stayed with Mom. They were out of my life for 27 years before we reconnected. I found out from them that he was a Boy Scout troop leader at the time he died. He wasn't cured of his pedophilia, he just learned to hide it better.
    Because of the heartache and hardship my family suffered at the hands of that man, the constant moving and losing friends, the losing of family, I never forgave him and never will, the harm he did to so many.
    Because of this perspective, I feel I have the right to make a strong stand here, on Paterno. That he did not do EVERYTHING in his power to ensure that Sandusky was reported, arrested, and investigated. He was the authority figure that should have been the "Wrath of God" to fall on Sandusky's evil. Instead, he was the instrument of the cover-up. Protect the athletic department at all costs because "as we all know" athletes are the best of all of us (gag me, I hate athletes so damn much)
    Pedophiles should be incarcerated for life. There is NO place in society for that sort of activity. Preying on kids, the helpless and our future, victimizes us all in that we cannot leave our doors unlocked, let our kids walk to school or go to the mall in groups of less than 10. Their "rights" to freedom are NOT greater than the right of the children for safety. A pedophile has no rights. (I must stipulate that there would have to be strong evidence that the accused is in fact guilty for this)
    I am so angry over what my father did, that I'd swore 20 years ago, after I found out what had happened, that if I saw him, I'd kill him. Little did I know that nature had beaten me to it. I feel no remorse for his passing, I don't miss him. I do not visit his near-by grave. There is no excuse for permitting, or hiding or covering up what a pedophile does. They need to be separated from society for life for the protection of all. And that Paterno let the protection of his multi-million dollar job and the sports program be more important than those kids, being fired should be the LEAST of his worries.

  2. Holy christ, Mark – That is QUITE and amazing story. And one that needs to be shouted from the mountain tops. Right out of college I was set-up on a date with another guy who was in his early 20's but older than me. He had his teaching degree and was teaching 2nd grade.

    Friends I barely knew set me up on a date with him to see if I could make him – well – cured. I was too young to think to report him. He told me he was attracted to kids in his class, but he never divulged what/or if he might have done. I'm sure he consummated his "career". I couldn't tempt him, but was too young and stoned to register anything more than rejection and relief. I didn't like him. He was a pink and lab-rat-looking blond man who's name completely escapes me. YOUR story needs to be published. I expect to see it on your page.

  3. I might let Tigger publish it, my page I am trying to make all about alternative energy.
    I am glad my mother does not go online, she would be heart-sick to read some of what I type.

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