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What Was Missing in Sandusky Case? Fathers

Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of sexual abuse a week ago. Despite the verdict, important questions should continue to be asked. Why didn’t the assistant football coaches do something? Why didn’t the school administration do something? But the biggest, most pointed question is, “How in the world was Sandusky able to prey on so many young boys for so long?”

From our perspective, Sandusky would not have been able to do what he did had he not had access to so many boys growing up in father-absent homes.

Penn State Taking Positive Action on Child Sexual Abuse

On Tuesday, Roland wrote this post on the Penn State sex abuse scandal. In it, he asked what Penn State will do to address the sexual abuse of boys on their campus and elsewhere.

We are glad to report that Penn State is taking some early action. Tonight, they are hosting a live, call-in radio program to address child sexual abuse.

We applaud Penn State for taking this action. As they say in the announcement, the sexual abuse of children is underreported and more needs to be done about it.

However, a word of caution about the approach that Penn State appears to be taking. Let's be clear that these were boys who were being abused, not "children" generically. And, as Roland mentioned in his blog post, there are several special circumstances surrounding the abuse of boys (it is even more underreported and understudied than the abuse of girls, and there appear to be more complex and damaging consequences for abused boys than for abused girls).

When conversations about sexual abuse start to drift into the territory of "children," they inevitably refocus on girls and women. Indeed, notice that the experts who will be on hand to field calls from parents are from the Centre County Women’s Resource Center (not children's, let alone boys, resource center).

Again, we are not trying to minimize the severity of the abuse of anyone: woman, man, boy, or girl. But we are trying to keep this conversation focused on boys, the future fathers of our children, who often have no voice.

So, while Penn State is off to a good start with this radio program, we hope that future efforts will be more focused on what actually happened on their campus - the systematic rape and abuse of boys, an underserved group that needs more help than they are currently getting.

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