Category Archives: Ethics

I Am the Face of Child Abuse

When the scandal at Penn State broke, and everyone was scrambling to protect the school football legacy, and coach Joe Paterno, I went on the air livid no one was talking about the children who were allegedly abused by Jerry Sandusky.  I dedicated a major portion of my SiriusXM show on Friday, November 11 to any victims of child abuse.  I wanted them to tell their stories, so people could no longer distance themselves from those who have had to live their lives with memories of these heinous crimes.
One of the most powerful callers was Roxine, who wrote out her statement so she’d be able to get through it.  She has given us permission to reprint it, and I encourage you to share it with all others and especially with those who would like to just “look the other way,” and not think of the actual effects of abuse on these children.  If you’d like to hear the actual call, click here, but what follows is the text of Roxine’s statement:

I am the face of child sexual abuse

And this is the face of my abuser.

He was my grandfather.  “Paw-Paw” sexually abused me from age 5 to 13.  And people knew.

The events unfolding at Penn State involving the sexual abuse of children and subsequent cover-up has awoken that little 5-year-old girl who deserved to be protected, who deserved a childhood, who deserved to live, who deserved for someone to say something to make it stop – as did all of the victims of this sexual deviant at Penn State.
The sexual abuse of a child not only takes away their innocence, it takes away their life, because who that child was supposed to be is forever changed.  And while we don’t carry scars that you can see, they are there.  Internal, emotional scars, filled with trust and betrayal issues, fear and anger, loss; sometimes we are unable to find value in ourselves as human beings because we were once just objects used to satisfy someone’s abnormal sexual desires.  Once we are old enough to realize that what our abusers did to us isn’t right, we begin to think  that maybe we had no worth, because no one protected us, no one stood up for us, no one cared.
Used and discarded, we are left to seek out “love” and “value” in the only way we know how, through sexual behaviors that aren’t rooted in real relationships.  We don’t know how to have relationships because we can never trust anyone fully.  The relationships we counted on as children failed us.  No one stood up for us.  No one protected us.  No one spoke up.

Because child sexual abuse is taboo, it makes people feel uncomfortable.  And it is this uncomfortable feeling that leaves the door open for the abuse to continue.  The incredulous thoughts of “not in my family, not him, not her, no way he or she could do that” make people question what they actually saw, or makes them doubt what they know is true.  Because it is such a gut-wrenching notion to imagine a child being raped by an adult, people would rather rationalize it than deal with it.  They would rather it just go away than have to face it.  Our mental self-preservation mode kicks in and we try not to think about such awful, monstrous acts on a child.

Already, just a few days into this news story, there are articles, reporters and radio hosts saying they just want to be done with it.  It makes them so uncomfortable that they just want it to go away.  But for us, for the little kids who suffered the heinous acts of child sexual abuse, this never goes away.  In a way, we welcome this conversation and want it to continue.  It is the only way that some will listen.  That little 5-year old girl is screaming at the top of her lungs for you to help her – if it doesn’t look right, if it doesn’t feel right – go with your gut – say something, do something, anything.  Don’t just walk away because it makes you uncomfortable.  Don’t sweep it under the rug because you don’t want to embarrass the family or the team or the university.

Children cannot protect themselves.  It is our duty to keep them safe. Speak up.  I would rather say something and be uncomfortable, than say nothing and risk losing another child.  No matter what, always protect the child.  If any of those involved had said something, they would be hailed a hero.  Instead, they turned a blind eye.  In my opinion, they are no better than the perpetrator himself.

Joe Paterno and the Penn State Child Abuse Horror

It is my never-to-be-humble opinion that coach Joe Paterno from Penn State ought to be in jail.  Fired wasn’t enough.  Let’s see, endangering the welfare of minors, knowing kids were being molested and not reporting it to the police?  I don’t know, I think that should be actionable.
The other night just before I went to sleep, I turned on the computer looking to see if there’s anything I really need to talk about on my program the next day.  What I saw was a video of 2,000 moronic, amoral young people, spoiled rotten with no moral compass clapping, laughing, smiling and shouting, “We stand up for our school!  Paterno is our iconic hero!.”  These were totally misguided protests from creepy kids on the campus.  And they had nothing to say about the victims.  Me? I would throw them all out of school.

Jerry Sandusky abused little boys over a period of 15 years.  Not only that, but the story gets worse when you learn where some of them were “done”.  I would say, “More than ever Paterno should be fired. He took no moral responsibility and did not follow through on the information he knew so he could protect little kids.  And yet he talks about his 17 grandkids…”
Would he have felt differently if Sandusky had done one of his grandkids?  I don’t know.  Think he would’ve stepped forward to do anything?  What? And mess with Penn State football?  I don’t know, maybe he’d sacrifice one of his own grandkids too; I have no clue.  But those 2,000 students, who had no clue, morally, as to what this was really all about, make me sick for our future.  And the parents…if you’re parents of any of those kids who were out there, you should be embarrassed you produced critters like that.
Good for the board for not allowing Paterno to write the blueprint for his own exit.  He wanted to leave on his own terms.  Creep.  He wanted to finish out the season.  They got his butt out of there anyway.  He didn’t help the young victims of “alleged” sexual predator Jerry Sandusky, his former defensive coordinator, and he knew about it.
Paterno made a statement on Wednesday.  He described himself as “‘absolutely devastated’ by the recent indictment of Sandusky for 40 counts of sexual abuse across 15 years.”  He promised “to pray for the ‘comfort and relief’ of the victims identified.”  And he had the friggin’ gall to say, “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”  That’s an admission of guilt.  The victims probably wish he had done more too.
To add to this, the current assistant coach Mike McQueary, who was then a graduate assistant, walked into the Penn State shower to see Sandusky raping a 10 year old boy, and turned around and walked out.  He turned around and walked out.  He is 6’4″, 220 pounds, and he turned around and walked out.  He didn’t call the police.  He told his dad and he told Paterno.  “I saw it with my own eyes.”  And what did that bastard do?  Nothing.  Why?  Probably because he thinks, “I am God.  I am a football coach for Penn State.”
Loyal students camped outside Paterno’s house chanting, “Joe must stay!,” cheering a man who could’ve stopped a predator from attacking kids, had he just dialed 911.  They are cheering to keep him because football is king, success breeds power, power breeds influence, influence breeds a bullet-proof arrogance and most of our young people have absolutely no concept of morality.

Interview with Premarital Counseling Experts

Dr. Roger Tirabassi has led popular pre-marital seminars in California which have prepared over 1000 couples for marriage.  He and his wife Becky have co-authored Seriously Dating or Engaged: A PreMarital Workbook, which gives couples the tools they’ll need for enjoying a lasting relationship.  I wanted to talk with them to find out exactly how they prepare couples and what they’re finding in today’s social environment: Listen to the Interview

Interview with Parents Who Had Wrong Embryo Implanted

It’s a nightmare no one wants to live out in real life.  Carolyn and Sean Savage, undergoing an in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer, had the wrong embryo implanted, yet they brought the baby to term and then turned the infant over to his genetic parents.  I wanted to talk to this courageous couple about their heartbreaking journey.  Listen to the interview here.

Interview with Country Singer Craig Morgan on Heroism

What does it mean to be a ”hero,” and why do some people jump right in and others stand on the sidelines?

Country Singer Craig Morgan is best known for his songs: “Redneck Yacht Club,” “That’s What I Love About Sunday” and “International Harvester” among others. He’s been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and is the star of the reality series: “Craig Morgan All Access Outdoors.” Craig also spent 10 years on active duty in the U.S. Army and is a tireless supporter of U.S. soldiers and their families. 

Craig very recently rescued two small children from a burning house in his Tennessee neighborhood.  Yet he says he’s NOT a hero.  There are reasons why some “ordinary” people end up doing extraordinary things when the chips are down.  Listen to the Interview

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King

Yesterday was my birthday.

Saturday, January 15 was Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, which we now celebrate today as a federal holiday.  I’d like to honor Dr. King and share with you some of his more personal observations and advice on how to have a better life.

From September, 1957 to December, 1958,  Dr. Martin Luther King wrote a monthly column for Ebony Magazine entitled “Advice for Living.”  Readers would ask questions and Dr. King would respond.  Today, I’d like to share with you some of his advice.

First, Dr. King on pre-marital sex:
Question:  I was raised in a Christian environment.  My father placed great stress on premarital virginity.  I am 29.  Of late, I have begun to doubt the validity of his teaching…Is he right?
  I think you should hold firm to the principle of premarital virginity.  The problems created by premarital sex relationships are far greater than the problems created by premarital virginity.  The suspicion, fears, and guilt feelings generated by premarital sex relations are contributing factors to the present breakdown of the family.  Real men still respect purity and virginity with women.  If a man breaks a relationship with you because you would not allow him to participate in the sexual act, you can be assured that he did not love you from the beginning.

Dr. King on parenting:
Question:  Young parents nowadays cater to every whim and wish of their children.  I was in a home the other day where a 3 year old child read the riot act to his mother.  The mother took it with a sheepish smile.  This, I am told, is permissiveness.  It seems to me that what modern children need is a large dose of parental permissiveness applied to their backsides.  Do you agree?
  It is quite true that many modern parents go too far in allowing their children to express themselves with hardly a modicum of discipline.  Many parents justify this by arguing that the children must have freedom.  But freedom can very easily run wild if not tempered with discipline and responsibility.  This almost “lunatic fringe” of modern child care has been responsible for most strange and fantastic methods of child rearing in many American homes.  The child is permitted to almost terrorize the home for fear of having its individuality repressed.  Somewhere along the way every child must be trained into the obligations of cooperative living.  He must be made aware that he is a member of a group and that group life implies duties and restraints.  Social life is possible only if there exists a balance between liberty and discipline.  The child must realize that there are rules of the game which he did not make and that he cannot break with impunity.  In order to get all of these things over to the child, it is often necessary to subject the child to disciplinary measures.

Dr. King on romantic love:
Question: I am in love with a young woman who is obviously unsuitable for me.  On the other hand, I know another girl who wants to marry.  I think the latter girl would be perfect for me, but I don’t love her.  We have the same background, the same tastes and we enjoy the same things.  Should I marry her?  Isn’t romantic love, which is at best transitory, a slippery thing to bet your future on?
  I would not say that romantic love is merely transitory.  Romantic love, at its best, is an enduring love which grows with the years.  I do agree, however, that it is quite risky to base a marriage purely on so-called romantic love without taking other basic factors into account.  For it may be possible that what we feel as real romantic love is at bottom a passing fantasy or a temporary infatuation with no real substance.  Many marriages have broken up for this very reason.  Persons marry on the basis of a temporary emotional feeling, and when the slightest conflict arises, the marriage breaks up because it is not planted on a solid foundation.  I think it would be far better for you to at least pursue the relationship with the young lady who has the same background and similar interests as you have.  If you continue to associate with her, it is altogether probable that you will grow to love her.  At least with a similar background and similar interests, you have something basic and solid to build on.  In the case of the first young lady that you mentioned, you may simply have a feeling that may pass away with the wind.

Dr. King on staying married despite extra-marital affairs:
Question:  My husband is having an affair with a woman in our housing project.  He promised to stop, but he is still seeing her.  We have children and I don’t believe in divorce, but I cannot and will not share him.  What must I do?
  Your unwillingness to share your husband is perfectly natural and normal.  No person wants to share his or her mate with another.  But your problem is a very delicate one, and needs to be handled with wisdom and patience.  First I would suggest that you attempt to get your husband to go with you to talk with your clergyman or a marriage counselor.  I am sure that they could be helpful in solving your problem.  In the meantime, since the other person is so near you might study her and see what she does for your husband that you might not be doing.  Do you spend too much time with the children and the house and not pay attention to him?  Are you careful with your grooming?  Do you nag?  Do you make him feel important…like somebody?  This process of introspection might help you to hit upon the things that are responsible for your husband’s other affair.  Certainly, I would not suggest a divorce at this point.  I strongly would urge you to exhaust every possible resource in your power and seek to rectify the situation before making any drastic changes.

Dr. King on interracial marriage:
Question:  I’m in love with a white man whom I’ve known for two years.  We met at the company where we work.  I want to marry him, although both of our parents object.  I know that he loves me, too.  Should we go ahead and get married anyway?
  The decision as to whether you should marry a white man whom you have known for two years is a decision that you and your friend must make together.  Properly speaking, races do not marry, individuals marry.  There is nothing morally wrong with an interracial marriage.  There are many other things, however, that must be taken under consideration in any interracial marriage.  The traditions of our society have been so set and crystallized that many social obstacles stand in the way of persons involved in an interracial marriage.  If persons entering such a marriage are thoroughly aware of these obstacles and feel that they have the power and stability to stand up amid them, then there is no reason why these persons should not be married.  Studies reveal that interracial couples who have come together with a thorough understanding of conditions that exist, have married and lived together very happily.

Dr. Alveda King, Dr. Martin Luther King’s niece, a civil rights advocate not only for minorities, but also for the rights of the unborn, has said that her uncle was a social conservative who believed in family, personal responsibility, marriage and sexual abstinence for the young.

Martin Luther King’s lifelong support for Planned Parenthood has always bothered me and always will, but I would like to celebrate the man who encouraged so many of us to dream of a better world.