What Happened at Penn State is Not a Sex Scandal

11/10/2011 1:00 PM |

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So according many actual news sources who should know better, there’s a “sex scandal” going down at Penn State. Here’s the Daily Beast:

Why Penn State Fans Love Fired Coach Joe Paterno Despite Sex Scandal

CBS News:

Penn State sex scandal is like “Being sucker punched,” says former player Brandon Noble

Broadcasting and Cable, which I include because Mediabistro used it as the lead headline about the story in this morning’s newfeed:

State College Stations Detail Penn State Sex Scandal

Here’s the thing though: raping children is not a sex scandal! Have you read the Grand Jury testimony? Sandusky raped multiple children as young as ten. At-risk children he set up a foundation to help, that he instead used as a hunting ground for kids whose parents wouldn’t get in the way of his abuse. He did this over years and years, and Joe Paterno knew he was doing it and covered it up. He sat by and allowed a guy who was good at football rape children so that his team could do win at making touchdowns. That is not a “sex scandal.”

Here are examples of sex scandals:
1. An intern gives a consensual blowjob to her married boss.
2. A man fathers a child with a woman who is not his wife, who consented to have sex with him.
3. A married man pays a sex worker for sex.

See what they all have in common? Consensual sex! Though rape is, technically, a sex act, it is disgusting to compare having sex in a way that is outside the bounds of what is culturally correct and getting caught forcing a ten-year-old to perform oral sex on you.

Now, okay, sure, calling sex abuse a sex scandal is nowhere near as disgusting as an alleged anti-sex-trafficking activist defending a man who is an accessory to rape, or a bunch of people turning over cars in protest of this rape enabler’s firing. But it still matters. Why? Because it contributes to a culture where rape is allowed to happen, if the person doing the raping is important enough.

The same thing happened in the headlines earlier this year, when stories about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child, Anthony Weiner’s extra-marital tweeting, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s rape of Nafi Diallo were all in the news at the same time. There were stories about the “sex scandals,” as though the three acts were comparable. And hey hey, look what happened. Ms. Diallo got called a liar, a prostitute, and a gold digger, and DSK got off scott-free.

Calling rape a sex scandal reinforces the idea that it’s equally bad to get caught messing around on your wife as it is to rape someone. I know there are people out there who are like oh, it’s just language, quit quibbling, politically correct blah blah blah. But language matters. It’s how we understand the world around us, and every time somebody minimizes rape or apologizes for a rapist, they make it that much easier for some other person out there to think he or she can get away with rape. These things don’t happen in a vacuum. Your actions—all of our actions—contribute to creating an environment where college football is more important than children not being sexually abused.

It’s called rape culture and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it the fuck up.

9 Comment

  • Agreed. Even to call it “molesting” is to minimize it somewhat – the kid was anally raped.

  • Put your hat in the ring for president. I’d vote for you.

  • Absolutely correct!!! This abuse has nothing whatsoever to do with sex. It’s cruel, degrading and manipulative deviant behavior by a pedophile. Period.

  • Your statement that Joe Paterno “knew he was doing it and covered it up” is not supported by any factual account. An single event was relayed to him 3 years after Sandusky retired, when he was not longer part of the PSU football program.

  • Audrey, do you know FOR A FACT (i.e.., other than hearsay) that anyone was raped?

  • I had been thinking the same thing but didn’t care because it’s boys. They say stuff like this all the time when it happens to females but no one seems to care. Most men do think that it is sex. All men are rapists.

  • McQuery’s direct testmony of a rape scene that he directly observed is not hearsay evidence, it is direct evidence. And penile penetration of a 10 year old boy’s anus is legally a rape, statutory rape, because the child is not old enough to give sexual consent. So I would say that the evidence indicates that that unknown boy was raped by Sandusky. And the rest of the testimony taken together with McQueary’s testimony would corroborate that Sandusky’s criminal conduct consited of a pattern of criminal behavior. I imagine for John, nothing short of his own observation would convince him these things occured FOR A FACT, but there is direct evidence that has been corroborated by other direct evidence from many disinterested parties, I imagine more will be coming forward, and I think it will be difficult for Sandusky to directly refute these charges. I would be surprised if it is only these 8 boys, more likely it has been a pattern of behavior for his entire adult life, maybe even when he was a teen. Maybe he himself was a victim? How many kids? Take the number that have had the courage to testify against him and multiply it by 10, 20, pick a number. Take a look at the statistics on child sexual abuse, there are a lot more perpetrators out there. And they are not strangers, the vast majority are fathers, relatives, friends of the family, neighbors. The only positive thing about this whole sad story is that it is putting a spotlight on this aberrant, but prevalent, behavior. I agree, it is not a “sex scandal”, it is a great moral failing, and it is a serious crime.

  • I can’t believe that this McQuery didn’t go straight to the police. Why did he just slip out the back and not confront a full grown man nude in the shower w/ a 10 yr. old? Maybe he thought the poor kid was enjoying this assault. I’m sure it was obvious that Sandusky was. I hope his conscience bothers him for the rest of his life . Same for his dad. Those two idiots should also go to jail for not reporting it IMMEDIATELY to the police. We’ll see how he likes it when no one reports his forcible anal penetration by Big Bubba when he’s getting served up in jail. Because in prison they don’t snitch either they just hit it.
    And who gets an office and unfettered access to facilities he once worked at after he has retired? Don’t tell me JoePa is innocent in all this he knew and was also silent. Boy what a hero, folks! You can all be real proud in the Nittany mountains.

  • @themenstruator: Not all men are rapists.