It’s not 1984 anymore. But Saturday Night Live forgot that this past weekend.
But ABC is not alone in its total disregard for the damage caused by adult women who sexually abuse children (girls and boys). NBC is right at ABC’s heels.
In a skit in Saturday’s episode, a male child victim of sexual abuse by a teacher is portrayed as lucky and happy about the abuse. The accused teacher, who is very attractive, is let off by the judge who gives the victim a celebratory “fist bump.”
Like I said yesterday, handwringing is not going to save a single boy from abuse. Being upset or feeling “triggered” will not stop this kind of horrific portrayal of the sexual abuse of boys.
Instead, we need to empower ourselves and our children to make sure that the “hot for teacher” stereotype is shut down permanently and that women who abuse boys are punished.
How do we do that?
Talk to your boys (and girls, too) about sexual abuse when it is age appropriate. Tell them that sexual behavior between adults and children/teenagers is a crime. It does not matter whether the adult is a woman or a man. Encourage your children to report abuse or suspected abuse.
Shut down the “teenage fantasy” stereotype. Sure, it may be a “fantasy” for a teenage boy to be with a beautiful woman. But my eight-year-old wishes that he could shoot a cannon. He also wants to have a real gun and drive in NASCAR. But he is neither old nor mature enough to do any of these things. He will hurt himself and be damaged, possibly for life … just like how teenage boy is horribly damaged when he is sexually exploited by a female teacher.
Never perpetuate “the boy came on to me defense.” LeTourneau continually repeats this when she talks about being alone with a thirteen-year-old boy late and night and sexually abusing him. Kids and teens have crushes on teachers. It’s healthy and normal. But good teachers and honorable adults shut these crushes down with grace and dignity, letting the child know that such behavior is not appropriate. If LeTourneau had grace and dignity, she would never have been alone with a sixth grader late at night. And if a sixth grader had tried to kiss her, she would have backed away, told the child gently that it’s never okay for adults to kiss children and that he must not do that again, and then immediately reported what happened (to the parents and school administrators). But we all know she has no grace or dignity. She is a narcissist.
Demand greater legal accountability. Encourage lawmakers to change civil and criminal statutes of limitations so that victims have more time to come forward and use the courts for justice. We also must demand teachers’ unions drop extra job and legal protections for public school teachers accused of sexually abusing children.
The best way to shut down bad stereotypes is education and action. And it starts now.