Penn State: Child sex abuse is not new, and it's not rare

November 18, 2011

Sexually perverted adults are found in all walks of life, not merely college football programs. That the recent Penn State tragedy occurred around a sport with a reputation for machismo and tough men is a coincidence. This sort of criminal behavior has taken place in religious institutions, service organizations like the Boy Scouts, community recreation programs, public schools, and even in families.

It has been suggested in the press that those who were aware of this behavior and did not stop it immediately or report it to the police used poor judgment. I beg to differ. They were accessories. Poor judgment is what my junior high school bus driver showed on the last day of the school year when he refused to let the girls off the bus until they kissed him. That was in the early 1950s. Now it would undoubtedly mean the end of his job, and rightly so.

Some say that if the alleged crimes were true, why didn't the boys come forward immediately? For some reason, kids just do not confront adults in positions of authority.

When I was a college freshman, my PE course included a "Health and Hygiene" unit. When we got to the section on "posture," the instructor — a taciturn, middle-aged woman in a baseball cap — had an interesting approach. Each young woman in the class (one at a time) was required to pose nude before Ms. D. and her camera, showing our best posture. Pleas to wear underwear fell on deaf ears. We were assured that individual silhouettes would not be recognized when we critiqued photographs together as a class. That was in 1956. I wasn't the only girl who found it humiliating and who lost sleep over the incident. Yet, no one blew the whistle, and the teacher remained on the faculty. Not even close to what the young boys at Penn State endured, but there is one common denominator — adults in authority.

P.R. Perry Hall

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