The Boy Scouts of America has been under fire for many reasons over the past few months, including their stance on gays. But it's the latest abuse scandal, alleging that 5,000 men have been expelled from the organization in the past 50+ years over allegations of sexual abuse, that should be the final nail in the group's coffin.
As a mom of a 4-year-old boy, one thing is clear to me: my son will never, NEVER be a Boy Scout. In many ways, these scandals make me think the outdated organization ought to just go away.
The last thing I want to teach my son is that discrimination is OK. But even worse, how does an organization that prides itself on growing strong men possibly justify allowing men to get away with abusing children? It's sick. See below:
As the mom of both a boy and a girl, it drives me insane when people imply I need to worry so much about only my daughter. Boys can be victimized, too, and as we have now seen with the Catholic church and Penn State football, it happens all the time.
What are moms supposed to do?
To me, it seems obvious. On top of the fact that I would never allow my son to do Boy Scouts, I also plan to educate him early (starting now, he is 4) on good touch and bad touch. I want him to be comfortable with his body, but also with his emotions. I want him to be able to talk to me.
Part of what is so scary about these abuse scandals, both in the Boy Scouts and the others, is that these are organizations where children are specifically going to gravitate. It's not very hard to imagine how a boy could be victimized in the place he thought he was the safest. That's a terrifying fact.
All we can do as moms and dads is to make sure our sons know what's OK and what's not. We want them to understand that even so-called "authority figures" don't have the right to touch them or to ask to be touched. Their "authority" is over the activities and behavior of the children at whatever event they are moderating. But it isn't to touch the children.
Part of what is so sad about all this is that, as a mom, it's impossible to trust anyone. Is that teacher who takes a special interest in my son REALLY interested in him? Or is he a predator waiting to pounce? The more stories like this one hears, the worse that fear becomes.
So what can we do as parents? We arm our kids with assertive things to say and we teach them about personal space and minding their own bodies. That's all we can do.
Would you let your son join the Boy Scouts?