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Stacey Honowitz

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Censored: Penis Is a Bad Word

Posted: 08/08/2012 10:04 pm

When did penis become a word that needs to be censored?. It is highly likely that in a majority of sexual battery and molestation cases, you will see that a penis played a significant role. You will never hear in an indictment or a charging document that the victim was sexually battered by a ding-dong, dingaling, wiener, pee-pee ,or thing.

It is hard to believe that we still bury our heads in the sand when it comes to discussing private parts and their real names. "Struggling to find the right words" should not be part of the equation when talking to kids about this delicate subject matter. In today's society if you fail to have "the talk" with your kids, you are doing them a tremendous disservice in preparing them for what might be out there. Those of us who are in the business are fully aware that sex crimes know no boundaries. It does not discriminate between black and white, rich or poor, fat or thin or any religion. Anyone can be a perpetrator, and anyone can be a victim, nobody is immune.

Victims would come into my office for years and tell me they did not know the names of their private parts or what to do if someone ever touched them. I would lecture all over and parents would always ask me "how do I talk to my kids about this topic, what am I supposed to say"? At this point I decided to write two books, My Privates are Private and Genius with a Penis, Don't Touch. I wanted parents and kids to have the proper tools to help them when discussing this difficult and sometimes uncomfortable subject matter. No publisher would touch them, as they told me "this will never sell, its a taboo topic." Really, do you have any idea how many sex crimes are out there? I believed in the message of the books and decided to publish them myself and promote on my own. I guess the Sandusky case proved my theory right, as everyone was of course up in arms, asking "why didn't the boys tell?" I knew it back then when I wrote them that I would be met with much resistance. Quite frankly, I did not care. I thought by now things would change.

I am often asked to appear on television to comment on high profile sex cases and asked "what can we do to teach kids how to protect themselves? What can we do to educate kids" That's the operative word, educate. It means not to be fearful of saying the words penis and vagina. It means not being afraid to hear about it on television or read about it in books or magazines. It means to take the bull by the horns and let children know that a penis is not an obscene word.

That's what brings me to this post, the censoring of a word that is part of our anatomy. A word which obviously makes so many people uncomfortable that it needs to be removed from an article which specifically talks about sex crimes. That's right, Genius with a Penis, was taken out of an article that I was asked to write about dealing with sexual batteries and molestations. The article addressed how to talk to your kids, warning signs of abuse, and other issues specific to sexual battery cases. I included in the article the tools that would help parents get over their fear in discussing this subject. They left in "My Privates are Private" but took out "Genius with a Penis, Don't Touch." What makes this all the more relevant is that the periodical is geared towards victims. When asked why they removed the little boy version of the books, the response was "its just better this way". What kind of message does this send? Should we now tell victims of these crimes not to say the word penis if they are violated? Do we now eliminate the "real word" for penis with a fake one? Do we remain at risk of being a victim of a sex crime because we are uncomfortable with the title of the book?

I am fully aware that some parents feel more comfortable naming private parts something else. This could bring on more problems because if you are the only ones that know what those words mean another adult might not get help for your child if they are clueless as to what they are talking about. A smarter suggestion would be to call them privates and explain to your child that privates mean vagina and penis.

We live in an environment today where sex is rampant. We have shows on television about teenage pregnancy. I can assure you a penis was involved there. We practically had a nation salivating over 50 Shades of Grey and "mommy porn", yet we cannot have an intelligent discussion about sex crimes and mention the word penis? Everyone talks big about education, yet it doesn't get done. Why is this? Its because we are scared. We would rather think that this might happen to other kids. We would rather believe that we will never end up in the court system. We would rather think that we live in nice neighborhoods and go to nice schools. Anyone who watches the news on any given night will see that it's not true. It happens at school, it happens at home, it happens anywhere.

Do you honestly think that a two year old who learns the words penis and vagina would be embarrassed by it ? If you teach them early enough it's as second nature as knees and elbows. It's the parents that have difficulty with it, they are the ones that might laugh or snicker or shy away from it. When did we become such a puritanical society that we can't discuss human anatomy?

I can assure you of one thing, and that is that sex crimes will never disappear. Pedophilia will exist forever, so why not arm yourself with the best ammunition you have, knowledge. Knowledge is power, but is the act of censoring important words because we find them to be uncomfortable, powerful? I will continue to fight for the power of the word. Here is the most important thing -- participate in protecting your kids. I can guarantee you that a discussion right now, however uncomfortable you might feel, is better than spending time in the State Attorney's Office later. What good is education if it's not the truth? Don' be afraid to be honest, embrace it.

 

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