Whether or not these charges can be proved, there are important lessons to be learned from this interview about sexual abuse allegations against Amateur Athletic Union ex CEO Bobby Dodd. In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky story, the two men interviewed decided to speak up about what happened to them in the ’80′s when he was their YMCA coach and they were young teens. http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/7332846/ex-players-say-aau-bobby-dodd-sexually-abused-youths
I remember the surge of news stories about sexual abuse in the early 80′s. The first book about child abuse by our Kidpower Founding Board President Ellen Bass, who is also co-author of The Courage to Heal, is titled: “I Never Told Anyone” and was first published in 1983.
What other child abuse survivors say about why they didn’t tell is sadly similar to what Ralph West says in the interview about his experience. “I was freaked out. You don’t know what to do. Are you going to blow the lid? All you want to do is pretend it didn’t happen. You want to hide and bury it.”
Ralph describes barricading his room to keep his coach out but obviously never thought to ask his adults for help. It is terribly sad that this happened – and even more sad that, even all these years and stories later, too many kids today STILL don’t know what to do. They don’ t know how to set boundaries. They don’t know how to leave and get help. They don’t know Kidpower’s Founding Principle that their “safety and healthy self-esteem are more important than anyone’s embarrassment, inconvenience of offense”including their own.
Make SURE that all young people in your life know: what kinds of behavior are unsafe; that when someone abuses them, it is NOT their fault; how to resist emotional coercion and bribes; how to get help everywhere they go; that, no matter HOW important someone is to them, problems should NOT be secrets; that it is NEVER too late to tell; and that you will listen and help.
For more resources see:
Three Strategies for Protecting Kids From Sexual Predators
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