Dr. Goschi's Blog

Sandusky and Penn State Controversy

Given the news this week I thought I would address the issue of sexual abuse of boys. This issue has exploded. It’s on every news channel and everyone has an opinion. The most common reaction, however, is one of disgust, sadness and appalled at how the behavior could have gone on for so many years seemingly unchecked.

I heard someone reporting last night that someone must have noticed that Sandusky was a weirdo and has to be different from the rest of us “normal people.” Well, I am here to tell you that pedophiles, that’s what Sanduscky should be labeled, can seem as “normal” as anyone else. This is the brutal reality that people don’t understand. How do I know this? Well, I used to do psychological testing on pedophiles and worked inpatient with them as well.

The one thing child sex abusers have in common is that you would never know their dirty little secret by looking at or having a regular conversation with them. They fit in our environment. Often, they are married with children and even their own wives had no clue what is going on. Often, they don’t target their own children instead they abuse all the neighborhood children or the children they coach. We just don’t want to believe this is true.

In fact, it is true that pedophiles as a group are usually categorized as being heterosexual and can successfully have what seems to be normal sexual relations with their partners. The pedophile frequently tells themselves that they are not doing anything wrong but instead just teaching the 10 year old about sexuality. They perceive it as mutual fun between themselves and the child. It is only when the jig is up and severely confronted that they admit that what they did was wrong.  This is how Sandusky can say without hesitation that he wasn’t abusing these boys, rather, he cared deeply for them.

Pedophilia also tends to run in families. I have treated abused individuals, who are now pedophiles themselves,  that were abused by their grandparents.  Following generations continue the sexual abuse patterns because it is what they have learned. In my own universe, I have never met a pedophile who hasn’t been sexually abused as a child.  However, that’s only my own experience but I bet if you looked at the research it would support this opinion.  So, it becomes a destructive pattern that continues on and on. I won’t bore you with the psychological details of such pathology but let me just emphasize that the problems run deep, are powerful and resistant to orthodox forms of psychotherapy.

So, as parents how can we possibly protect our children from exposure to such evil. Well, I believe that just as we inoculate our children against childhood diseases so must we against sexual predators. Begin early and have the conversation with your children often. You of course can gear the level of conversation based on the age of your children. After all, this is really what the stranger danger conversation is about.  But, we must take it further than this and talk to them about what is acceptable behavior from adults and what is not.  No adult other than mom or dad should be showering with your child.  This is just one example of how to help them understand appropriate boundaries. So, please, please, please, talk to your children about predators.

Make sure that all coaches and anyone who has regular access to your child knows that you’re an involved parent. Not only do predators look for opportunity but they also look for the child who seems to be isolated. If you are a full time working parent connect with at least one other child and their family at school or make sure the babysitter understands the importance of not allowing your child to have too much face time alone with any adult.  And, tell your child than they can tell you anything, you will not blame them and that you will listen. Boy victims, in particular, are ashamed that it happened to them. Even at an early age they feel that they should have prevented the abuse by fighting back. This is ridiculous for a sweet boy to think for a moment.  But, believe me they live with the guilt well into their adult lives. If they have been abused get them help immediatlely. Be a part of the healing process no matter how long or how painful it might be for everyone involved.

I know this is a terrible subject to talk, however, we should probably be talking more openly and honestly about this topic.

As always help is just a phone call away. Don’t struggle alone call Dr. Goschi today at (312)595-1787 or email for your appointment at barbara@drgoschi.com

Leave a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

(will not be published)