Sandusky, Fine and Sexual Coercion: Pedophilia
Recently the public has been stunned by the alllegations of a coach molesting young men. No me. In the Late 1990's I had a student in my class who endured sexual molestation at the hands of his coach. Two hundred people signed a petition defending the teacher and coach. Why? Pedophiles are very clever in hiding their behavior. Pedophilia is insidious and more so when it involves young men. Why? Young men rarely talk about it.
Male on male molestation involves tactics that are designed to confuse, camouflage and deter possible reporting. Pedophiles can be anyone. They can be your neighbor, clergy member, teacher, coach or relative. Most victims of sexual abuse do not ‘tell’ until they are older but males have a more difficult time revealing because they often feel complicit or responsible for the act. With only a short time to engage your thinking let’s review some signs.
1. The prep (pedophilia perpetrator) will like to spend time with young people. Most pedophiles are males and people you know rather than strangers. They might place themselves in situations to bring them in contact with victims. They might have hobbies that young people like; video games, movie collections, sports interests. They like to spend times with kids and tend to describe children or teens in a positive manner. Anyone who likes to spend more time with your kids than you do should be suspect.
2. The perp needs to have a pool of children so as to gauge who they can victimize. Often the ‘party’ comes to them and they use the family gathering or their ability to attract groups of children to their league, homes or parties as a means to find a victim. They may also look to date women with children who they can prey upon. They might be playing games with the young children while the adults are off on their own. They set themselves up to attract children to them
3. Setting up the stage might involve many activities that go unnoticed. The coach, the music teacher, the guy on the corner who has the treasure trove of video games, allows kids more freedoms, or keeps an open door policy.
4. On many occasions they have a female present who either accepts this behavior, encourages or turns a blind eye. Having a woman around appears to give him legitimacy and disarm parental concerns. He may also choose to describe the target child as ‘particularly mature, gifted or worthy to disarm parents.
5. The perp chooses his victims(s) carefully. He’s not stupid. He might have a group of patriots at his home but he will set his sights on only one or two. Should he be charged he will have a group of kids or young men that will vouch that his behavior was ‘fatherly’.
6. He will pick carefully looking for a child who satisfies his sexual needs; usually it involves a fetishistic attraction for a certain type. But his best victims have lower self-esteem, few supports at home and parents who turn a blind eye. What better hatching ground that boys from disadvantage homes?
7. He will groom his targets. Pedophiles often share information on how to accomplish their molestation. Grooming involves placing himself at the center of their lives. He is special, he can provide something for them no one else can, he has resources; money, opportunity, drugs, and most of all he accepts them.
8. He moves slowly and deliberately to sexually disarm his prey. The pedophile slowly approaches sex but in a way to breech defensive walls. He may show the young person pornography that is highly sexually charged. Offer alcohol or drugs.
9. He opens the door by testing. A hand on the knee, a wrestling match. Or he may wait until the victim is relaxed or stimulated enough to proceed.
10. He uses sexual excitement as his friend. The abuser knows that he needs to place the victim in a position of feeling responsible. Often they will use drugs, alcohol or potent pornography to arouse the victim first, thereby encouraging the victim to feel responsible for the act. Often the victim feels attached to their abuser.
11. Because the victim may have a physical reaction (arousal or orgasm) they feel culpable. This adds to the guilt, embarrassment and the need to keep the incidents hidden.
The following story was about a young man I knew who suffered repeated molestation at the hands of his coach-