Child sexual abuse is not a laughing matter. Yet, the subject is made light of in Sony Pictures' new film, That’s My Boy.
The sexual relationship between Adam Sandler’s 13-year-old character, Donny, and his 8th grade teacher is statutory rape. It is a case we hear about all too often, in which an authority figure abuses a minor entrusted to her care. Ninety percent of victims know their abusers.
To suggest in advertisements that Donny’s relationship with his teacher makes him a “legend” is reprehensible and irresponsible. It perpetuates our reluctance as a society to engage in a healthy dialogue about the realities of child sexual abuse.
The movie’s release coincides with increased attention to those realities. This week marks the beginning of Jerry Sandusky’s trial for alleged sexual abuse of 10 victims during his tenure at Penn State University. Recently, The New York Times uncovered incidences of sexual abuse at an elite preparatory school dating back to the 1970s. And, this year, we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church.
The time for robust public education about child sexual abuse is now – before actual cases are overshadowed by the fictional one in That's My Boy.
Sign the petition and ask that Sony Pictures commit to
- Publicly acknowledging that the movie features a relationship amounting to statutory rape;
- Adding a disclaimer along the same lines to the movie's opening credits; and
- Creating and promoting public service announcements that educate adults about child sexual abuse and empower them to protect the children in their lives.
Together, we can channel the attention on child sexual abuse into action on prevention.