In a ten minute interview this weekend, CNN Newsroom anchor Don Lemon opened up about his sexuality, being abused as a young boy, and offered a sexual abuse victim’s insight on allegations that former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky molested young boys.

Lemon says it was difficult enough for him to deal with his own history as a victim of molestation, and he imagines it’s just as difficult for those who have not dealt with abuse to confront it, or know what to call it.

“So, let’s just call it for what it is: rape,” Lemon wrote in an essay for CNN about the recent events at Penn State that landed Sandusky with 40 charges related to assaulting eight boys over more than a decade. 

According to the grand jury report, in 2002 then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary “saw a naked boy, Victim 2, whose age he estimated to be 10 years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky. The graduate assistant was shocked but noticed that both Victim 2 and Sandusky saw him. The graduate assistant left immediately, distraught.”

In his essay for CNN that coincides with the television interview and release of his new book, Lemon calls on readers to “stop turning a deaf ear to this issue.” He makes it clear that was happened in that locker room was rape and nothing else:

Rape is what former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of doing to at least one boy in a university shower. But because the victim is a boy, under Pennsylvania law, Sandusky is charged with deviant sexual behavior. If the victim had been a little girl, in fact, the law would call it rape.

The acts are the same. So what’s the difference? The difference, according to a friend and former FBI agent specializing in child sex crimes, who is also a survivor of child sex abuse, is that laws are just as antiquated as our feelings. Rape, he says, is typically defined as penile penetration of a female. The same behavior with a male victim is typically defined as sodomy or deviant sexual behavior. In prosecuting cases like Penn State, my friend says, just by definition, the laws unwittingly remove the sting from the accused wretched acts.

In his television interview Lemon said that his sexual abuse starting at early age, and it took years of therapy for him to be able to discuss his abuse. He said the sexual encounters with his abuser started around the age of 5 and that he wasn’t able to tell his mother until he was 30.

Lemon, who made it clear that his sexuality has nothing to do with his sexual abuse history, said being gay is seen as the worst thing in the black community.

“In the black community, quite honestly, it’s the worst thing you can be in the culture — is to be a gay man,” Lemon said in his CNN interview. Black men “are supposed to be masculine and they’re supposed to be the head of the family and they’re supposed to be the head of the family and supposed to be these tough guys. And there’s this assumption that because someone is gay that they are are effeminate, feminine or that they are not a man.”

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/11/cnns_don_lemon_talks_about_being_sexually_abused_as_a_child_says_penn_state_case_is_rape.html


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