By Chris Rightmire
In the wake of the recent Pennsylvania State University scandal and allegations of a similar scandal at Syracuse University, a symposium on the sexual abuse of boys was given on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in the Social Sciences Building.
The symposium was presented by Mark Kiselica, interim dean of the School of Education.
Kiselica is also a professor of counseling education and was the fellow and former president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity.
On top of his leadership and teaching experience, Kiselica served as a Ph.D in counseling psychology at Penn State. Throughout his career Kiselica said that he “has worked with the unfortunate victims of sexual abuse.”
Kiselica prefaced the symposium by warning that it would feature very upsetting material. He went on to say that it is important to bring awareness to the subject matter, as well as recognize young boys who went through sexual abuse as survivors, not victims.
Addressing the intricacy of the subject matter, Kiselica said that no one “ever knows how abuse will affect a boy in their childhood or when they become a man … People should leave the symposium thinking about the complexity of these issues.”
Kiselica’s presentation focused on the fact that many of these sexual assaults go unreported because of the perceived homosexual stigma against it, the tactics that abusers use and the effects on victims in the short term and the long term.
Kiselica said that he believed Joe Paterno when Paterno said he didn’t know the sexual assaults on multiple boys were happening. According to Kiselica, Paterno was from the “era of not talking.”
Accompanying Kiselica’s power point presentation and lecture were two video clips. One showed child molesters and pedophiles speak about what motivated them and the methods they used.
The other video, “Four Men Speak Out,” showed four adult men who had been sexually assaulted in some way recount their stories and share how their experiences affected their lives.
After the presentation and videos, Kiselica showed the ending of “Antwone Fisher.” The movie tells the story of a navy sailor, played by Derek Luke, who was sexually assaulted as a child, showing how the experience affected him through his adult life. Kiselica said he showed it to end the presentation on a “hopeful note.”
“Listening to (Kiselica) speak and watching the selected media was really eye opening to the hardships that children in these situations face and what they have to cope with for their entire lives,” said Kevin Reilly, junior exercise science major.