Complete the pamphlet exercises. With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide (Click here to download and shake your belief in humanity.)
This is Section 2 of 2. Click here for Section 1.
Oh jesus, we’re back here again. The anticipation of and hard relaxation during Labor Day weekend derailed my ambitions towards a stringent posting schedule. My motivation really bubbled over just now, and perusing my remaining Scout Rank requirements revealed that most will require me to take a picture of myself, and I’m alone and in my apartment. I’ll need someone to take the picture and a nutty backdrop to make it interesting, so really my only option is to finish up my examination of How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide. The primary goal of this document is to educate parents and Scouts-to-be on how to stay out of rape’s way, unless the parent is already raping the kid, in which case, some gentle encouragement to the parent to stop. Anyways.
Section 2 kicks off with some odd formatting choices that make it difficult to parse the information as you’re reading. I’ll try to make it flow and make it easier to understand. For example, the first page discusses the “three R’s” of Youth Protection, but it’s oddly interrupted by a large bulleted list labeled, “Child’s Bill of Rights”, which isn’t referenced anywhere else in the pamphlet and pushes the three R’s to the next page. So we’ll get the Bill of Rights of out the way first:
When feeling threatened, you have the right to:
- Trust your instincts or feelings.
- Expect privacy.
- Say no to unwanted touching or affection.
- Say no to an adult’s inappropriate demands and requests.
- Withhold information that could jeopardize your safety.
- Refuse Gifts.
- Be rude or unhelpful if the situation warrants.
- Run, scream, and make a scene.
- Physically fight off unwanted advances.
- Ask for help.
So, all of that sounds great. However, if I were the parent in this situation, I would be sure to couch the explanation of these rights in a little bit of restraint. Not too much, as we still need the child to have a healthy sense of fear and paranoia, if we’re doing our jobs as mentors. However, maybe make it clear that some of this stuff is acceptable if you’re being assaulted, but could be a bit over the top for general use. When I was a teenager, just about every request, suggestion and gesture made to me by an adult came off as threatening and inappropriate. I’m not sure I’d be authorizing kids to be rude and unhelpful or run away screaming and making a scene without being pretty explicit with the disclaimer, “This is for when you’re being attacked or pursued by a molester, not in Pre-Algebra. Stop screaming.”
Also, I think I’d take out the “refuse gifts” right. I suppose it is a dude’s right, but the better idea is to accept the gift, kick the molester and run. An iPod Touch is still an iPod touch, and it’s not like he’s going to come looking for it.
On to the three R’s of Youth Protection:
- Recognize situations that place you at risk of being molested, how child molesters operate, and that anyone could be a molester.
- Resist unwanted and inappropriate attention. Resistance will stop most attempts at molestation.
- Report attempted or actual molestation to a parent or other trusted adult. This prevents further abuse and helps to protect other children. Let the Scout know he or she will not be blamed for what occurred.
These concepts come up throughout the rest of the PDF. Pretty grim stuff, though. “Anyone could be a molester.” Reminds me of the scene in the first Matrix movie, where Lawrence Fishburne is leading Keanu through the training program and uses the pretty lady in the red dress to demonstrate that anyone could be an agent. After ogling the girl, Keanu turns for a second glance to find that she has been body-snatched and is now Agent Smith, pointing a gun in his face. Scouts: navigating your childhood is like that, except instead of a well-coifed English guy, you will find only half-shaven rapists, stain-shirted and rubbing themselves, standing where your friends just were.
Next up, we’re in the “Personal Protection Rules for Computer Online Services” section of the handout. The first line is:
“When you’re online, you’re in a public place, among thousands of people who are online at the same time.”
Mind you, this is the 2005 printing of this pamphlet. In 1999 everyone was worried that the world might end if Y2K broke the internet, but six years later, Scouting is still telling kids that there are “thousands of people online” like it’s 1993 and one kid in every town has Prodigy. Meanwhile, the rest of the pamphlet tells it like there’s a rapist hiding in every bus driver and gym attendant. It is staggering to me that this outfit was able to create a PDF at all.
Anyways, they advise you not to enter conversations with strangers in a private chat or email. They advise you not to give out your real last name, contact info, school info or your parents contact info at work. We wouldn’t want your Dad raped at work. They also remind you not to give out your password to anyone but a parent or “another adult in your family”, which sounds to me like the most rape-suspicious person they’ve brought up so far.
“If someone shows you an email with sayings that make you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts. You are probably right to be wary.”
Very awkwardly worded. Did they send me the email, or are they showing me the email? Did they forward it to me? And what do they mean by “sayings”? Well-traveled, but still filthy and inappropriate, words of wisdom? “A bird in the hand is worth two in your little pink butthole. Here. Drink this.” I get what they’re saying, but this is some cumbersome language.
A little further down, they warn that anyone who starts talking about subjects that make you uncomfortable is probably an adult posing as a kid. There is little probability that it could be a regular person exposing you to new ideas and ways of thinking, a natural part of growing up. It is an adult trying to take your innocence away.
After that, they warn you never to talk to anyone on the phone unless you know them in real life as well, even if it’s a toll-free 800 number. That’s a professional molester right there. “My name is Clyde, errr, Timmy and I’m 12 and my number is 1-800-DEFLOWERS.” Their reasoning is that the owner of a toll-free number can get your number from their bill, but, c’mon. Has this ever happened?
Amid all this nastiness, they transition to cautioning young scouts against online friends who talk about hacking, phreaking or virii. Not that there’s anything wrong with steering a kid clear of this stuff (we wouldn’t want him to transition to a high-paying coding/security job, like all of my ex-hacker friends did), but I seriously doubt that anyone in the Cult of the Dead Cow is going to try to touch any goddamn 12-year-old, unless he’s got some extra Cheeto dust on his fingers.
The next page is a lesson on how to honor the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto without getting raped or putting yourself in a potential rapezone. Condensed: a Scout is supposed to be helpful, but should know not to help a stranger carry his gym bag through his house and into his custom rape basement, etc.
The next, and thankfully final, section of the pamphlet is entitled “Practicing the Three R’s of Youth Protection”, and it is dreadful and terrifying and upsetting in its plain realism. I haven’t been looking forward to writing about it because I’m not sure there’s a ton of funny within it. It really just wads up all of the foul and filth from the preceding pages and tosses it in your face, in the form of three different short stories of fictional scouts and how they were touched, grabbed, shamed and laughed at. Also, they’re told in the first person and without epilogue, like you’re reading the last entry in a dead kid’s diary.
Jeff’s Story: I’ll paraphrase for you. Jeff is 12 and he hangs out at the rec center everyday until his Mom, doing everything she can to give her son a good life and a chance to not hate himself forever, gets home from work. He’s been spending a lot of time working with a nice guy who works there, who suggests wrestling as an good sport for Jeff, noting that “it has different weight classes and [he's] so small”.
Did you need to go puke violently and cry into the toilet? You should wait. Just for a second.
Jeff really likes wrestling, but he’s bothered because this rec center employee wants him to come in on Sundays when the place is empty, and some real teaching could go down. However, to Jeff, said instruction seems less like teaching and exactly like being occasionally held down and having his crotch grabbed while the teacher “makes like it’s a real funny joke.”
Okay. Now you can puke.
BSA has some questions for the Scout. Remember, this isn’t actually torture porn, but a teaching tool.
What is risky about this situation?
Boy Scouts list:
- History of unwanted touching of private parts.
- Touching will probably get more serious if allowed to continue.
- Individual coaching would put Jeff alone at the center with a possible molester.
…but I would just go ahead and say that EVERYTHING is “risky” about this situation. Way beyond risky, in fact. It was risky, now it’s traumatic. I would also ask them, when revising this pamphlet, to consider that:
- …a groin-grab is really serious enough. That’s some therapy and sexual dysfunction right there. Could it be more serious? Yes, certainly. Should we really be measuring the severity of the violation when it’s come this far? I’m not so sure this is the place for a could-be-worse attitude.
- …this rec center employee is a no-doubt molester. Right? Grabs a 12-year-old’s nuts and laughs in his face? Safe to just go ahead and get him on familywatchdog.us? Is there something else we’re waiting for to reclassify him from possible to practicing molester? If there is, I don’t want to know.
How would you resist?
Boy Scouts suggest that you tell the guy to stop grabbing you and refuse to wrestle with him any longer, and also to yell “Stop that!” loud enough, so that everyone will hear. Unfortunately, they forgot that their story was so bleak and hopeless that Jeff is being held down and the rec center is empty. So, the correct answer is: you are too small to resist and no one will hear your cries.
How would you report the situation?
One of the BSA suggestions is that you report the individual to his supervisor and ask that someone else help you wrestle, which seems a little optimistic in evaluating Jeff’s potential for continued enthusiasm towards wrestling and rec centers in general. I think the more realistic outcome would be that Jeff quits wrestling immediately, then asks a homeless guy to buy his 12-year-old self some booze, because it’s going to be a long life.
Mario’s Story: Mario is a “13-year-old boy with a problem”. His 17-year-old uncle Joe watches him when his parents go out of town, and the last time around, Joe insisted that he be allowed to supervise Mario while he was taking a shower, perhaps even photographing the event. Joe followed that up by coaxing Mario into watching a little porno with him and implying “trouble” for the both of them if Mario ever told.
Does the fact that is a member of Mario’s family and only 17 years old mean that he could not be a possible child molester?
Usually, this would be a good couple of vital stats to indicate that a person isn’t a child molester, or at least that he isn’t out to molest you, personally. However, most 17-year-old dudes are typically more focused on never hanging out with 12-year-olds than photographing them in the buff, so I guess anything’s possible here.
Does the fact that Joe never touched Mario mean that sexual abuse never happened?
No, but the fact that Mario’s never going to tell anybody is just as good.
Should Mario get into trouble if he tells on Joe?
Well, he’ll definitely get kicked out of Scouting for being gay.
Steven’s Story: Steven is in junior high and gets really good grades. Recently, a group of guys told him they were starting a secret club. It’s a very exclusive club: you have to be invited by a current member. One of Steven’s friends, a member, asked him to join, which flattered him very much, because he really wanted to be a member. The friend told Steven that the first meeting was to be held in a storage shed at school, where they would get high and have some fun. Finally, the friend grabbed Steven’s crotch and laughed. Apparently, 2 out 3 molesters love that joke.
What do you suppose Steven’s friend meant when he said, “We could get high and have some fun,” then grabbed Steven’s crotch?
Honestly: no idea. I’m getting a very molester-y implication off of the BSA here, but it could be any in a myriad of awful things, ranging from some god-awful gang-rape scenario to merely ending up friends with a bunch of stoner Jackass wannabes, from whom this type of thing is totally non-sexual. I’d definitely be having second thoughts about joining up after getting my crank grabbed by some dude, but I do still think I’d be asking myself, “What the hell was that supposed to mean?”
Suppose that Steven went to the club meeting and ended up being sexually molested by one of the other guys there. How do you think he would feel?
Per Boy Scouts, “a lot of boys feel very embarrassed when they realized they’ve been fooled “and this embarrassment might cause Steven and other boys to not report their abuse.” That sounds about right. I think he might feel sadness, soreness, irritation, anger and crushing shame, extending well beyond embarrassment. I feel those things and I only read about Steven’s ordeal.
And that basically concludes the pamphlet. There’s a section about a family meeting, but it’s not part of the rank requirement, so the hell with it. My Mom doesn’t want to pow-wow on this.
As I said last time I wrote about this harrowing crap, if you ended up on my blog looking for some help coping or understanding, I’m sorry you didn’t find it. I’m not the guy. Tell your mom. Talk to your kid. If you’re a victim, get some help and don’t let it sink to the bottom of your brain, because it’ll really start screwing you up when you’re trying to have a healthy relationship some day. Jesus fucking christ.