Re: Sexual Abuse, etc.
Gerald Demontgny (gdemontg@CCS.CARLETON.CA)
Mon, 27 Mar 1995 19:50:39 EST
I tried sending this on Friday? and checked my mail to see that it was
not delivered according to the mail system? Anyhow, I hope that it
provides another view on the topic. Needless to say, I believe that
it is essential that we do address sexual abuse in scouting, and that
it is equally important that this discussion remain civil. As I
reviewed my posting, just out of curiousity, I did feel that an
important point that needs to be made, that has since been made in
another posting is that the majority of men do not sexually abuse
On the issue of reporting, in Canada, I would hope that any leader
suspecting abuse of any type would contact the local child protection
authority, as these are the people who are trained to assess and
manage such complaints, certainly not the staff at scouts Canada, nor
our Regional Commissioners or Area Commissioners.
> Claudia Carroll writes:
> > Can anyone tell me why there always needs to be a female adult on all outings
> > with Girl Scouts with a male leader and why there doesn't have to be an adult
> > male on all outings with Boy/Cub Scouts with a female leader????
> > This sure seems like a double standard to me that would not stand up to equal
> > opportunity scrutiny. Please enlighten me.
> > Claudia
> Claudia to respond to you I want to draw in several threads.
> Unfortunately, even through the feminist rhetoric, there remains the
> dark 'facts', or do we call them 'statistics', 'studies', or whatever,
> that indicate that the vast bulk of sexual abuse against children is
> perpetrated by men. Most studies indicate in the order of 98%. Even
> if there remains a large undiscovered component of female sexual abuse
> of children, this might account for perhaps an extra 10%. Anyway you
> slice it the problem of the sexual abuse of children centres on the
> actions and behaviours of 'some', and certainly not all men. Please
> note that I do not want to tar all men with the same brush, and I
> fight this tendency vigorously in my workplace, yet, what we are left
> with is the fact that children are at greater risk when in the care of
> Now as a man who is a cub leader, and was a Beaver leader, and I might
> add as a former child protection worker, I want to do everything
> possible to protect the children in my Pack. I do this work because I
> believe that childhood can be a wonderful period of growth, discovery,
> and contact with the beauty of our planet. I do not want to put
> children at risk of being abused, particularly when they are in my
> Pack, in my care. As a result we always use a two deep leadership
> structure, hence on any hike, outing, or activity we always have at
> least two adult leaders. Now back to the question of the gender of
> the leaders. Ours is a co-ed pack, and we were scheduled to have a
> weekend camp in early March, on which four girl Cubs were to attend,
> as well as two juniour leaders, aged 15 and 17, yet we were unable to
> convince a single adult woman to join us. As a result the camp was
> cancelled --there was some suggestion that we just take the boys out
> camping, however, the view that we do all activities together
> irrespective of gender prevailed. As Scouters I believe that we need
> to pay attention to the motto, "Be prepared", and this means being
> prepared to protect our youth members as well as ourselves from any
> 'untoward' occurances or accusations.
> The second thread arises for me as a result of a book that I just
> finished reading by Judy Steed called, "Our little secret", which
> documents some of the more notorious cases of sexual abuse in Canada.
> In the book she documents the lengthy history of John Gallienne, a
> choirmaster with a powerful Anglican church in Kingston Ontario. It
> is estimated that he abused over 300 boys from 1974 to 1992.
> Paedophiles are a constant worry for any organization that deals with
> children, and we are remiss if we deny the possibility of their
> infiltrating our organizations! The second thread in the story is the
> parents inability to believe what this man was doing to their
> children. Many refused to believe the charges to the very end, that
> is of course until his confession. As a parent of three children I am
> extremely vigilant about where and in whose company my children are.
> My wife and I have repeatedly talked to our children about sexual
> abuse, about good touches and bad touches, and about telling us if
> anyone touches them or treats them in ways that they don't like. We
> also are clear about naming the parts of their anatomy with proper
> terms. I suppose that having worked in child protection my view on
> the subject tends to be a bit jaundiced, suspicious, and untrusting,
> however, as my father said, "trust has to be earned". So what is my
> point? I think that we need to help parents trust us by ensuring that
> we are frank and open about sexual abuse, and about the procedures
> that we put in place to protect their children. I do this at the
> parent and leader meeting at the beginning of the year, when I explain
> why we insist that two leaders are with the Cubs, or any individual
> cub at all times, and why a female adult is required on all outings.
> So this takes me to the last thread. I would sincerely love to see
> Scouts Canada complete criminal records checks on all adult leaders,
> as well as checks with the child abuse registry. There checks are
> necessary for the protection of children. Before adult leaders start
> to protest about invasion of their rights to privacy they need to
> first consider the right of safety of children, and second, their own
> right to not apply to be a leader. Again, from my own experience of
> conducting assessments of people who had applied to become foster
> parents, on several occassions I encountered applicants who had a
> history of physical abuse, neglect, and even sexual abuse in their own
> homes. These people applied to foster for a variety of reasons, that
> ranged from, wanting to set right their old mistakes through a new
> chance with foster children, to getting access to new child victims.
> The same motivations work inside Scouting.
> These comments may anger some, and scare others, however, the reality
> is the sexual abuse is problem that must be faced head on in Scouting.
> Our movement is founded in the principles of integrity, truth,
> honesty, and 'character' development. Each of us must ask what comes
> first, our own egos or the protection and safety of the children in
> our care?
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City