Sunday, June 24, 2012
This weeks conviction of the pedophile, Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State football coach, is a small reflection of bigger issues and problems in our world's sexual psyche. This issue is far more pervasive than the average person wants to admit...and for many of us who have had direct experiences fending off unwanted sexual advances from sick people in our own families or circle of acquaintances...it brings up a number of bad memories and sad realities about our society and it's denial of even normal sexual appetites.
There seems to be an inherent tendency to block out or push away realities such as pedophilia. We have now seen hundreds of years of abuse in the Catholic church via skewed and ridiculous views on sex overall and denial of sexual gratification to priests, nuns and of other religious persuasions as well. There are VERY FEW cases of persecuted perpetrators relative to the immensity of the problem. This is GOLBAL denial.
I think puritanical and unrealistic religious teachings are at the core of these sick obsessions that seem to be so pervasive, especially among so many religious or "respected" members of our society. If you deny animals their instinctive drives, even the most basic forms of animal life will go a little nuts in their behavior. Is it any surprise a more advanced human species is going to act out in even greater, complicated ways their denied gratification? I am obviously not defending pedophiles...but as usual I always try to get down to the bottom of why people do these things...the cause and effect that I believe is there. Yet, there comes a time when you have to protect the innocent from the realities of this un-treatable condition called "Pedophilia"
I still sometimes wonder personally why I at such a young age would "block out" the attempts a family member made on me and still like him "normally" for so many years? What is it about our young psyches that doesn't allow us to confront or report these kinds of actions to our parents or other loved ones? What makes us think it is so "dirty" or incomprehensible that we should bury such experiences in some dark corner of our young minds? I sometimes think maybe we are just trying to protect our own innocence and not give up our childhood fantasies of peace and tranquility too soon. It is tough even for adults to be honest about their sexuality. Why should we expect kids to be any more honest or up front? Yet, this natural "coverup" just continues to encourage the behavior in those so inclined. Its amazing with how many and for how long these perpetrators get away with their actions. It seems to be a case of institutional "denial".
I applaud all the young men who had to come forward and reveal all these nasty past secrets with Sandusky. While it was understandably his only plausible defense, I am amazed that even with the vast number of complaints against him...over 48 counts of which he is convicted of 45...that Sanusky can still claim innocence and that he is being "framed" by all these disparate young men from his past. I saw this in my own experience where the perpetrator, even when confronted with a variety of victims, could not admit or see himself at fault. Unfortunately, this is a very normal state of mind in the history of studying pedophiles.
There is another sad reality to all of this. Physical contact is a very base need in the human condition. Babies and children who grow up with lots of attention and physical affection tend to become more secure, open and caring individuals. At least this has been my reading and personal observation over the decades. People who DON'T get touch and affection tend to have many problems socially and even sexually. I have grown to appreciate those cultures, mostly European and African, who develop without obsessions about nudity or guilt about natural normal sex. In many parts of the world societies are much more open or unconscious about nudity and sexuality. While I'm sure they have their occasional run-ins with deviant behaviors, I have a feeling they are much more direct about how they deal with that. In our more puritanical cultures of Western Civilization, we tend to hype and focus on the occasional exposure to sex and nudity...an obsession if you will. We take great delight in living through the experiences and "secret lives" of others.
The saddest reality of this theme is that because of bringing to justice these coaches, priests and other high profile individuals who have come into the light...we will now have a new "obsession" about pedophiles. Even affectionate parents will find their actions being scrutinized by strangers around them.
Of course I am applauding the verdict while still appalled at the number of people and Sandusky himself who continue to deny deny deny. Sadly, now millions of people will not be comfortable with grown or older men getting close to their children, physically or otherwise. I for one have always gotten along well with children and have been physical with them at times in wrestling and rough housing as was common when I was a child. Kids eat it up once they trust you. Yet, there have been a couple times where I sensed friends being uncomfortable with my hugging or wrestling with their kids...primarily I believe because of all these people now being outed. I find myself purposely guarding my contact with kids so as not to make people uncomfortable...even though I believe kids need, and it is natural to want, touch and affection. Unfortunately, these people like Sandusky have caused the world to become a more frigid, guarded place to live in. Another sad reality among many in these modern times.