Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey has made headlines for his alleged sexual misconduct with underage boys and child actor Corey Feldman is on a campaign to expose pedophilia in Hollywood. And our boys also have #metoo stories to share.
Disney actor Tyler Cornell was one of the first to speak out against disgraced Hollywood agent Tyler Grasham. And Different Strokes child star Todd Bridges has been vocal about having been sexually abused and the need for background checks in Hollywood.
In an interview with CNN, Bridges said that a publicist “talked me into doing things that I didn’t want to do” and “seduced me,” starting at age 11 or 12.
But this predatory behavior is not isolated to Tinseltown. Let’s not forget about the sexual abuse that happens close to home.
Statistics show that about one in 10 of American children will be sexually abused by the age of 18, and about one in seven girls and one in 25 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18.
Child sexual abuse includes: any sexual act between an adult and a minor, or between two minors, when one exerts power over the other; forcing, coercing or persuading a child to engage in any type of sexual act; and non-contact acts such as exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, voyeurism, and communicating in a sexual manner by phone or Internet.
Filmmaker Tyler Perry has divulged the abuse and molestation he experienced as a child.
In a 2010 interview with friend Oprah Winfrey, the director, actor and producer revealed that in addition to being brutally beaten by his father, he said he also suffered severe sexual abuse at the hands of four different adults.
Oprah.com recapped the painful interview, where Perry said he was 5 or 6 years old the first time he was molested. While building a birdhouse with an adult male neighbor, the man put his hands in his pants, he explained. “I’m thinking, ‘What is this?'” Tyler recalled. “And I felt my body betraying me, because I felt an erection at that age.”
Perry told Winfrey that he later endured sexual molestation at the hands of a male nurse and a man he knew from church.
“[The man from church] used God and the Bible against me to justify a lot of the things that were going on. It was so horrible,” Tyler said. “And that was my first sexual experience, with this man performing oral sex on me as a boy.”
When Tyler was just 10 years old, he said he was also molested by a friend’s mother. Tyler said he was over at his friend’s house while the mother was arguing with her boyfriend in another room. Then, she suddenly appeared in front of him, wearing lingerie.
Tyler said she put her son in the bathroom to take a bath and told Tyler to go home. But when he tried to open the door, it was locked. In graphic detail, he told Oprah the woman “put the key inside herself” and told him to come and get it. Because he became aroused, Perry said he was confused that his body betrayed him.
“This is so disgusting, you know,” Perry said, “what these people did to this little boy.”
Darkness to Light (https://www.d2l.org), a nonprofit committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse, reports that race and ethnicity are an important factor in identified sexual abuse. African American children have almost twice the risk of sexual abuse than white children. Children of Hispanic ethnicity have a slightly greater risk than non-Hispanic white children.
For more information or to report suspected child sexual child abuse, call Darkness to Light’s Helpline, 1-866-FOR-LIGHT to be routed to resources in your own community, or call the ChildHelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD.