Picking up from the last post on the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s public service announcement, here is an article that deals with the kinds of sexual abuse that do not fit the heteronormative stereotype.
The Globe and Mail reports that former pro ice hockey player Sheldon Kennedy will be testifying at a congressional hearing following the Penn State University scandal, where former football assistant coach Sandusky was accused of sexually abusing several young boys. Kennedy was sexually assaulted by his coach Graham James when Kennedy was a minor.
The fact that the sexual assault of underage male athletes is in the media is an important step in opening up the discourse about who suffers sexual abuse. While rape of women by men may be common, it is critical that it be understood that it is not the only kind of sexual assault, and that all people who have been sexually abused should be acknowledged.
As a young athlete, Kennedy did not know who to reach out to, as he was afraid his teammates might think he was gay and that his mother would not allow him to continue playing hockey if he told her what was happening to him. With cases like Penn State receiving heavy coverage, the sexual abuse of male children is emerging as a topic more accessible to the public, thus creating a heightened awareness of sexual abuse of children in vulnerable situations. Hopefully, more such awareness will translate into more openness to discussing child sexual abuse, as well as vigilance where it is needed to protect children from abuse.