Progressive Action Spot

"Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves." Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It's NOT About Sexual Orientation

I am furious about the spin put on the Foleygate.

Representative Frank is a lot more positive than I am about the media coverage:

“Newt Gingrich said the Republicans couldn't have publicly reprimanded Foley or they would be accused of gay-bashing. That's just gibberish. There would probably be just as much uproar if it was an underage female, because of Foley's work with children. In fact, I think the media has been fairly good about not gay-bashing this scandal.”

He may consider the coverage to be ‘fairly good’ when it comes to restraint about gay bashing but I counted Chris Matthews saying “Do you think that it is acceptable for someone to be gay and be a member of Congress?” at least five times between yesterday and today. I cannot believe the ignorance of people in this Country and people’s ignorance only became more highlighted as I researched for this piece.

The misinformation on the internet is extreme, most of it from fundie sites and supposed ‘family values’ advocates. No one will ever convince me that intolerance is a family value.

First of all sexual abuse and rape are crimes of power, not sex. Sexual abuse is about controlling a person. The ultimate control that one can have is over another person’s body.

"It is estimated that in about 80% of rapes that occur, the victim knows the rapist. Acquaintance rape, or date rape, as it is sometimes called, is still rape. It is a crime. Although survivors commonly feel some responsibility or guilt about their rape, it is important to remember that the responsibility for rape always lies with the attacker. What happened to you is not your fault."

These are crimes of violence, not of sex.

Second of all, the crime against a child who has passed puberty, a teenager, is known as hebephilia. These crimes are committed by persons who have the preference of victimizing people who are young adults, not pre-pubescent children.

Third of all, this alleged crime was in using one’s position of power to manipulate and use a teenager who, because of their age, did not have the defense against this manipulation. This is an adult misusing power. In addition, the GOP leadership covered-up this crime to avoid embarrassment and election problems. The cover-up is also a crime because it further endangered children by leaving a potential predator with access to them and it denied the investigation into the original crime.

The spin on the teevees are about Foley being gay and therefore a pedophile. I am not a psychologist, but as I have already covered, there is no evidence of Foley molesting any pre-teen children, so the terminology is incorrect. The crime is not being gay – the crime is using a position of power to gain access to and manipulate and have control over young people.

The spin is also to connect those two identifiers: gay = pedophile. This is incorrect and the evidence to counter it is substantial once you weed through the misinformation put out by the fundie sites.

The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.

"The vast majority of offenders are heterosexual men. Male offenders who abuse young boys maintain adult heterosexual relationships. The habitual molester of boys is rarely attracted to adult males." Roland Summit, M.D.

The American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Child Psychiatrists and the Child Welfare League of America all have policy statements stating there is no correlation between homosexuality and child abuse.

PDF “The problem is sexual abuse, not homosexuality."

More studies citing that it is not about sexual orientation and that gay people are no more likely to molest children than heterosexuals.

God Hates Homophobes. No additional stats or studies; I just like the premise here.

Now that we have established that this is not about sexual orientation, it is about using a position of power to manipulate and control someone sexually. I will now rant about the bigotry of the right and how their bigotry increased the chances of this closeted gay man seeking out vulnerable people to prey upon.

Because the GOP has such immense open hatred for gays, there is little choice for someone who is gay but to stay in the closet. Staying in the closet and hiding who he really is increases the chances that he will act out in some way. Unfortunately, Foley allegedly had a proclivity towards abusive behavior and his impulses came out in abhorrent ways, if he is in fact found guilty of these crimes.

Most abuse of children occurs by people who close to them. Crimes against children are the worst of all crimes; these are adults who use their power against helpless people. The majority of crimes against children are not committed by the scary person jumping out of the bushes – it is the neighbor or family friend or step-parent or parent. Perhaps this whole controversy will bring light to some of the thousand of crimes that we need to combat and lead us to helping some of the many thousands of children who need our help.

This will only be the result if we move beyond the bullshit that is ‘the problem is homosexuality’. This is not about sexual orientation – this is an abuse of power manifesting in the most reprehensible way: sexually victimizing young people.

There is an enormous amount of data about what needs our attention. There is a lot of work to do.

Of the parents who maltreated children, less than 3 percent (2.6%) committed sexual abuse, while 62.9 percent committed neglect. Of the perpetrators who were friends or neighbors, nearly three-quarters committed sexual abuse while 9.9 percent committed neglect

Nearly three-quarters (73.8%) of perpetrators who were friends or neighbors committed sexual abuse.

According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System’s most current report, Child Maltreatment 2004, of the approximately 872,000 child abuse and neglect victims in 2004, the largest percentage of perpetrators (78.5 percent) were parents, including birth parents, adoptive parents, and stepparents.

All States include sexual abuse in their definitions. Some States refer in general terms to sexual abuse, while others specify various acts as sexual abuse. Sexual exploitation is an element of the definition of sexual abuse in most jurisdictions. Sexual exploitation includes allowing the child to engage in prostitution or in the production of child pornography.

Characteristics of Crimes Against Juveniles

About seven in ten female rape or sexual assault victims stated the offender was an intimate, other relative, a friend or an acquaintance.

Child Stats dot gov

National Crime Victimization Survey

Center for Missing and Exploited Children



  • At 6:52 PM, October 04, 2006, Blogger Anjha said…

    I have to wonder; if he were not caught up with such an intolerant crew (the GOP) then perhaps he would have been able to be who he is and have normal, healthy adult relationships.

    Or not. Perhaps he really is a a child abuser at the core.

    Everyone keeps talking about Foley this and Foley that and the GOP and imploding and Hastert and under the bus...

    I have not heard anyone talk about the kids, the real victims in this and if they are recieving any help, or if they are imploding...

    This may be the end of the GOP this election season,

    I wonder if it will be the end for any of the kids?

  • At 8:55 PM, October 04, 2006, Anonymous Seven of Six said…

    Anjha, Not to piss you off or argue but Wiki had this to say about hebephilia. Snark brought it up the other day. I respected snark wishes and have not refered to Foley in that regard anymore. Foley is however a predator!

    Ephebophilia, also known as hebephilia, is the condition of being sexually attracted primarily or exclusively to adolescents. These terms are used in contrast with pedophilia; however pedophilia is sometimes used more broadly in the western world to describe both ephebophilia and attraction to younger children, that is, any person younger than the legal age of consent. Ephebophilia is a term of recent coinage, and does not have broad academic acceptance as constituting a paraphilia.

    I had this same discussion with snark at TLC, unfortunately, I think he got pissed at me. That was not my intention. We have to use a term that is accepted and understood in the media.
    Hell, I don't care what we call Foley, but he's a perv! Straight up!! He was a person of trust who abused his power with impressionable young teens! And the thing that is pissing me off is that MSM is forgetting that he was chair of the House caucus on Missing and Exploited Children!! We need to drive that point home every minute of everyday, this is a republi-con problem! The Party of Responsibility, then they need to hold themselves accountable!!

    Oh yeah, accountability, back to that minor issue!!
    I'll be gone to Mexico next week, I'm trying to tie up loose ends, that's why I'm scarce.

    If you see it come up, just let snark know I was wanting to come up with the proper term, not start a pie fight. I have low tolerance for any person abusing his position of trust, especially with a child.
    Someday I'll tell you the story of my step-daughter who was abused by the head of the church, her step-grandfather! Sad, it can ruin lives and families. I've seen it.

    I will admit this is different than when I was an 18 year old senior and went out with a 16 year old sophomore and had sex. Damn, she taught me a thing or two.

  • At 10:38 AM, October 05, 2006, Blogger Anjha said…

    SOS, you were not arguing. I agree with you. I thought I made that clear when I said:

    Third of all, this alleged crime was in using one’s position of power to manipulate and use a teenager who, because of their age, did not have the defense against this manipulation. This is an adult misusing power. In addition, the GOP leadership covered-up this crime to avoid embarrassment and election problems. The cover-up is also a crime because it further endangered children by leaving a potential predator with access to them and it denied the investigation into the original crime.

    My point is that the media wants to blur the line and make this a problem of sexual orientation NOT the problem that it is of a predator being left to roam free with access to children and the GOP covering it up to attempt to regain control of the House.

    This is abhorrent. They must not get away with this cover-up. Foley must not get away with the abuse of children. The media must not get away with their spin.

    This is abhorrent. Awful. Negligent. Corrupt.

    These people are disgusting.


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