Good Touch, Bad Touch Talk
November 18, 2011
I am disgusted over the Penn State sex abuse scandal. This never should have happened. What’s worse is that it did happen and adults failed children. Penn State Assistant Coach, Mike McQueary wrote in an email: “I did stop it, not physically…but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room…
I did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police…no one can imagine my thoughts or wants to be in my shoes for those 30-45 seconds…trust me. I am getting hammered for handling this the right way…or what I thought at the time was right.”
Cry me an river ocean. Yes, I am judging this guy and purely on the fact that I would have handled it differently.
McQueary should have physically stopped Sandusky from having sex with a child in a Penn State locker room shower. He should have screamed, tackled Sandusky to the floor, covered the child in a towel and called the police and child’s parents in that order. McQueary, the child and parents should have made a statement to the police together. Sandusky should have been arrested that night.
This didn’t happen. This is terrifying. And this story doesn't add up with the grand jury report released this month. According to the report, McQueary told Joe Paterno, who was then the team's coach; Paterno then alerted his boss, the school's athletic director. If you witnessed a child being raped, what would you do? Tell your boss then go with the flow when the rapist wasn't charged or convicted? Could you live with this? Not me.
As a single mom, I know the importance of male role models in JD’s life. Truth is, other than my dad and brothers there are two guys I allow JD to be around sans my supervision. One is a platonic friend I’ve known since high school—he actually rescued JD from school this week when I was stuck in traffic. The other is my friend’s husband—we speak the same language: Sarcasm. Sure, there are other guys that have been around JD or pushed him on a swing, but I have always been there too. I am not saying any of these guys are questionable, but I’m the mom and I make the rules. As the parent it’s up to me to teach my 4-year-old about private parts and touching.
My son knows the correct names of private parts. We’ve had good touch and bad touch talks. Holding hands, hugging and a kiss on the cheek from someone you know and knows Mommy is OK. But if someone touches or hurts you where your undies are that is bad and you need to tell Mommy. My son knows who can help him in the bathroom and when he was potty-training I gave him permission to go into the bathroom with my Dad or brothers without me, because seeing and explaining peeing while standing up are two different things. I’m just really involved and aware. I know where my kid is and who he is with at all times—and this is a given because he is 4. I will not always have this luxury (panic setting in!). There will soon be sports practices and birthdays I am not invited to. He will have play-dates with kids where I don’t sit and drink coffee (or wine) with the mom. This is called growing up, so I’m doing my best to arm my kid with the tools he needs to protect himself and others. There are adults who clearly won’t help our kids if something bad happens. We need to prepare them to help themselves and to not be scared to yell for help.
We live in a scary world—it's a sick fact. A mother killed her toddler because he wouldn't stop crying and adults kidnapped a young girl, raped her and locked her up for 18 years. If we don't want our babies to live in bubbles we need to educate them. We need to ask questions and talk openly from day one. JD and I already do this. I ask him (drill him) on his day at preschool on the way home. “I went in timeout because the clock fell off the shelf. I bopped it off!” he once admitted. I liked the honestly, but we discussed not “bopping” things off the shelves at school. "I ate all of my apples but not the greens," he's also said (greens = skins). "*Joe pushed *Julie down on the playground and she cried and Miss *T put Joe in timeout and hugged Julie but then Joe started crying too." Sometimes I can't shut him up and I like it that way.
Tip: My friend, Amy, a mom of two girls told her daughter, who is nearly 4 something awesome and digestible for the preschool set. I’m using it now and you can use it too. “I am the secret keeper. If anyone tells you a secret and says not to tell anyone, I am the person you tell, because I am the secret keeper.”
I’ve told JD this ten times already. The first time he replied: "Secrets like spy cars like Finn in Cars 2!" So far he has no secrets.
Discuss and have a nice weekend! Sorry for the downer blog, but it's important, my friends.