Impact of Sexual Abuse Among Boy Scouts
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) recently made headlines due to thousands of lawsuits involving sexual abuse. According to CHILD USA, a non-profit organization that fights to end child neglect and abuse, stated that on average, sexual abuse survivors suffered for at least two years while in the BSA. Former Boy Scouts are now coming forward with their stories to punish Scoutmasters, Scouting volunteers, and other predators.
History of the Boy Scouts of America
The BSA is meant to be a safe place for youths and an education center. Unfortunately, the BSA has always faced allegations of sexual abuse. Hundreds of cases have been brought against the organization over the past several decades. The BSA has been strongly criticized by how they responded to accused predators. In the past, the BSA was accused of protecting predators because they would move the accused from one troop to another after allegations were brought forth. The negligent actions of the BSA are often compared to clergy abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.
Allegations and TIME Magazine
A group of lawyers collected information of sexual abuse among 428 men and boys that were in the BSA. Information that was collected contained stories of rape and molestations. Several of these survivors went to TIME magazine with their stories in hopes of justice. Although TIME could not confirm specific accounts, they interviewed others who were informed of these incidents. CHILD also collected information about BSA abuse statistics, which indicated:
- Scouts were mostly abused at camp sites
- The average scout that was sexually abused was 12 years old
- Leaders were the primary abusers, a total of 96 percent
- Eighty-one percent of cases involved grooming techniques
In response, the BSA stated they did not withhold any information and did not allow abuse to occur. The BSA also filed for bankruptcy due to the allegations in February 2020. Since bankruptcy has been filed, survivors have limited time to file claims.
Effects of Sexual Abuse
Horrendous stories include “bonding” parties where boys were told to pull each other’s pants down, as well as Scoutmasters, and Scoutmasters molesting boys in their sleeping bags. The effects of sexual abuse are often severe and lifelong. Studies indicate that child abuse survivors suffer both physical and psychological trauma, which can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and an increased risk for a heart attack. Studies also suggest that boys typically struggle more with sexual abuse.
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