February 20, 2013 Comments Off on Discovery of father’s Scout abuse file triggers memories, Rape Is Rape, Wrong Is Wrong
Discovery of father’s Scout abuse file triggers memories, what ifs for brother and sister
February 17, 2013 Associated Press
On opposite sides of the world, the brother and sister sat transfixed before their computers, reading a stranger’s account of long-ago secrets and deeply buried sins.
The memo was just four pages long, about an incident in 1963 at a Boy Scout camp in New Jersey. A Scout executive had gotten drunk during an overnight outing, then was discovered gambling with a group of boys. But there was more.
The brother and sister read on — about how this man “was observed molesting an Explorer Scout sitting at his side.” About how he was admitted, voluntarily, to a mental hospital. They read about an investigation that determined he had tried to molest another Scout. It found that this man’s “problem,” as the document called it, had apparently existed for decades.
They read, too, about a call from this local Boy Scouts council for “suppression of spread of incident beyond group with knowledge of it.” ”We know enough to advise that Brandon P. Gray should never again be registered in any capacity with the Boy Scouts of America,” the memo stated….
According to his file, Gray started drinking on Feb. 2, 1963, at the Scouts’ Mt. Allamuchy camp in Stanhope, N.J., during the annual Klondike Derby, an event in which Scouts pull sleds. That evening, he was discovered playing cards for cash in a cabin with several Explorer Scouts, in violation of camp policy.
Gray, the file said, “was observed molesting” one of those Scouts, whose age wasn’t mentioned. An adult in the room moved the boy away from Gray, but took no further action “in an effort to avoid a ‘scene,'” the record stated. Gray continued to drink, grew agitated and attempted to hit someone. Adult Scouts then subdued him and eventually he fell asleep.
By the next morning, Gray’s wife, Ruth, had been contacted and Gray admitted himself to a mental hospital. The Scouts then met with the Explorer, who confirmed “the violation.” Upon his release from the hospital, Gray was terminated. No records identified by The Associated Press show any charges or convictions for Gray in connection with the incident or any other charges for sex abuse….
After his dismissal on Feb. 7, 1963, Gray went home to his family. Carol was 12 years old. Jim was only 7.
Old memories can flicker and fade. But for Carol and Jim, some memories simply aren’t there, an abyss they say protects them from remembering some of the worst of their abuse.
Carol believes hers began when she was 5 years old. Years of psychiatric help and attempts to recover memories haven’t yielded much more. But a fact from her past lingers: “I believe that mine stopped when Dad started abusing my brother.”
Brandon Gray’s removal from Scouting was, his son said, the beginning of a decade of sexual abuse. It began soon after that February day in 1963 and continued until Jim graduated high school and joined the U.S. Marines Corps.
Unlike Carol, Jim has little trouble remembering. His father would stalk up the stairs and push his way into Jim’s room. Once, when Jim was about 11 years old, his mother walked in to find him and his father engaged in a sexual act. She turned and walked out. A day later, she moved Jim’s entire bedroom upstairs, the posters in the same place they had been in his old room, the bed in the same spot.
It was, he said, his mother’s attempt at physically shunting off the problem she could no longer deny….
“The worst thing about the sexual abuse, mental health problems, alcoholism and all that … are the losses,” said Jim, 58. “The loss of being able to maintain healthy relationships, intimacy, having children. These things that most people take for granted, I won’t have those.
“By the time I recovered, it was too late to do those things.”….
Jim contacted The Associated Press after the files were released in mid-October. He did so because he said he wants to show that victims of sex abuse can, with a lot of work, live full lives. He believes that he and his sister are proof of that.
He also wants to show the real consequences of the Scouts’ inaction….
He still struggles with the memories of his abuse.
“Am I healed? I wish that were possible,” he said. “Like a person who has lost an arm or a leg, I have learned to adapt. I do not think I will ever be healed. I can say that I am happy more than I am sad.”
Rape Is Rape, Wrong Is Wrong, Where Is Decency?
02/19/2013 Stuart Muszynski
From the public outrage over the oxymoronic statements of this past election cycle about “legitimate rape” and “violent rape,” we learned, thankfully, that most Americans agree that rape of any kind is wrong. However, if you’re following the sordid story of the Steubenville High School “Big Red” football players who were charged with raping a 16-year-old girl from West Virginia, you see how the cruelty, immorality and true violent nature of rape is defended, diminished and deflected.
The allegations are that last August, two high school football players raped the girl, then dragged her unconscious from party to party while many people looked on and did nothing. Multiple cell phones recorded the events, and later onlookers posted the videos on the Internet. The video footage showed a naked girl, out cold, along with other football players laughingly boasting that “She’s dead” and “I’m going to join the rape crew.”
Clearly they knew what was happening, but they were caught up in the moment with their buddies. Some team members and their friends stood by and did nothing while others encouraged the rape or actively took part in it.
That’s bad enough, but what occurred next, after the girl’s parents reported the rape to the police, is just as shocking.
Big Red Football Coach Reno Saccoccia suspended the two players who allegedly raped the victim, but didn’t suspend any of the players who live-tweeted the attack while it was happening or joked about it afterward. The coach’s reason was that the boys said that that they didn’t think they had done anything wrong….
Consider the following statistics:….One third of high school girls will be involved in dating violence. Twenty percent of teens will be sexually assaulted.
While schools are trying to address bullying, they are not addressing decency, goodness, kindness or respect. Ultimately, not doing so has a cultural impact on both community and country.
Almost fifty years ago, in March, 1964, 38 people watched from their New York City apartments as Kitty Genovese was raped and then killed. Thirty years later, dozens of motorists on a Detroit bridge watched as a woman who, beaten during a road rage incident, jumped off the bridge to her death to avoid her assailant. Bystanders just sat in their cars.
When addressing rape, gun violence, bullying and other types of violent behavior, our country must depend on good people who recognize evil and do the right thing by standing up to help. To ensure decency, we have no choice but to rely on our schools because some parents just are not doing their jobs.
Anna Sewell, a British novelist who wrote Black Beauty, said, “If we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop and do nothing, we make ourselves share in the guilt.”….
February 15, 2012 Comments Off on Child Abuse Leaves Mark on Brain
Child Abuse Leaves Mark on Brain
Jennifer Welsh Live Science Mon, 13 Feb 2012
Childhood abuse and maltreatment can shrink important parts of the brain, a new study of adults suggests.
Reduced brain volume in parts of the hippocampus could help to explain why childhood problems often lead to later psychiatric disorders, such as depression, drug addiction and other mental health problems, the researchers say. This link could help researchers find better ways to treat survivors of childhood abuse.
“These results may provide one explanation for why childhood abuse has been identified with an increased risk for drug abuse or psychosis,” study researcher Martin Teicher, of Harvard University, told LiveScience. “Now that one can look at these sub-regions [in the brain], we can get a better idea of what treatments are helping.”
The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of 193 individuals between 18 and 25 years old, who had already undergone several rounds of testing to be qualified. They then analyzed the size of areas in the hippocampus and compared the results with the patient’s history. They saw that those who had been abused, neglected or maltreated (based on well-established questionnaires) as children had reduced volume in certain areas of the hippocampus by about 6 percent, compared with kids who hadn’t experienced child abuse.
They also had size reductions in a related brain area called the subiculum, which relays the signals from the hippocampus to other areas of the brain, including the dopamine system, also known as the brain’s “reward center.” Volume reduction in the subiculum has been associated with drug abuse and schizophrenia, as well….
The study was published today (Feb. 13) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.
July 3, 2011 Comments Off on Effects of sexual abuse last for decades, study finds
Effects of sexual abuse last for decades, study finds
Levels of so-called stress hormone are altered for years, sometimes causing physical and mental problems, researchers find
By Joan Raymond msnbc.com contributor
Young girls who are the victims of sexual abuse experience physical, biological and behavioral problems that can persist for decades after, a new study shows.
Researchers, who tracked a group of girls ranging in age from 6 to 16 at the start of the study in 1987 for the next 23 years, found that they had higher rates of depression and obesity, as well as problems with regulation of brain chemicals, among other issues, compared to a control group of girls who were not abused.
The study, published in the Cambridge University Press journal Development and Psychopathology, was conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Those in the study were assessed by researchers six times at varying ages and developmental stages. Researchers hope to continue the study looking at the women, who are now in their 30s, as well as their children.
The racially-diverse group of 80 girls, who lived in the Washington, D.C., area, were victims of incest, broadly defined as suffering sexual abuse by a male living within the home. On average, the girls were abused for about two years prior to the abuse coming to the attention of child protective services. Some girls were abused when they were as young as age 2.
Compared to a non-abused control group, the researchers found the study participants, all of whom were provided three therapy sessions on average in group and individual settings, suffered severe effects during different stages of their lives, which affected their sexual and cognitive development, mental and physical health, as well as their brain chemical profile. Study participants were more likely to be sexually active at younger ages, have lower educational status, and have more mental health problems.
As children, they had higher levels of cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone,” which is released in high levels during the body’s “fight or flight” response. But by about age 15, testing showed that cortisol levels were below normal, compared to the control group. Lower levels of cortisol have been linked to a decrease in the body’s ability to deal with stress, as well as problems with depression and obesity. Lower levels of the hormone have also been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The cortisol levels (of some study participants) wound up looking like Vietnam vets,” says study co-author Dr. Frank Putnam, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “That tells us they are in a chronic state of stress, and never feel safe.”
….The long-term effects of the abuse “were absolutely profound,” says lead author and child psychologist Penelope Trickett, USC professor of Social Work. “It’s just not mental health issues. Some of these women are suffering from a lot of problems today like sleep issues, poor health utilization, and have a lot of risky behaviors. It’s very disturbing.”