As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am in my school’s Concert Choir. Like any other choir, we sometimes have trips or performances in other towns. Every Fall, we have a short, weekend retreat, and every Spring, we have a Spring Break Tour over several days.
Maybe you can see where I am going with this. The big issue here is: where do we stay? Where do we sleep? Given that I am at Berea, a free-tuition school which serves primarily poor students, we don’t have much money to pay for fancy hotels or lodging. Instead, we stay with local families who are connected to the churches we will sing at. A normal thing, right? These kinds of things happen all the time, whether you are camping outside with a scout troop, traveling abroad, or with some other group out of town.
But you’re wrong. This is a big fucking problem. Consider those incredibly inconvenient, incredibly common statistics on sexual abuse which I posted before. You have to ask yourself: if there are this many people who have been sexually abused before, then how many abusers are there in turn? How many of them are lurking right there in the middle of organizations or institutions which we trust (Catholic priests, for example)?
Sometimes I think about this, and, given how common sexual abuse is, I wonder if anyone in my choir has ever been abused while staying with a host family. If someone was, it’s very likely that they wouldn’t want to talk about it. It’s one of those mysteries. Any time there is a power imbalance— when someone holds a disproportionate amount of power over someone— you have to wonder if that power has ever been abused, if that line has ever been crossed.
If you were fucked as a kid, the idea of staying in some stranger’s home for a night is seriously fucking scary. Think about it this way: I’ll be in a city I don’t know, in a house I’ve never seen before, with people I know for only a few hours. I don’t care how good these people seem, or what people say about them— plenty of fine, upstanding citizens are sexual abusers, and sexual abuse affects people regardless of race, class, sexuality, and so on. If something happens, I will literally have only my phone, the person I am paired with, and my wits. There’s nothing else.
Stranger danger. That’s why you don’t fuck kids.