An Open Letter to NBC, the writers, producers and actors of Saturday Night Live:
Dear Saturday Night Live,
There is NOTHING funny about childhood sexual abuse. I recognize that you attempt to draw humor from the latest headlines, but this time your sub-par comedic efforts missed the mark and left me cold. The “Coach Bert” skit on 12/03/11 wasn’t edgy or irreverent; it was callous, offensive and hurtful to millions of sexual abuse victims and the people who love and advocate for them.
Your making a mockery of the Penn State and Syracuse sexual abuse scandals for a cheap laugh was irresponsible, insensitive and outright shameful.
IT IS INEXCUSABLE TO SEND THE MESSAGE TO PEDOPHILES AND THEIR VICTIMS THAT THE SEXUAL ASSAULT, MOLESTATION AND RAPE OF CHILDREN IS SOMETHING TO LAUGH AT.
It is this culture of silence and casual attitude towards the sexual victimization of children that perpetuates the epidemic! I can’t imagine that you knew that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually victimized by the time she is 16 and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually victimized by age 18. I can’t imagine you knew that the depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, fear, shame, guilt and embarrassment caused by childhood sexual abuse is pervasive in every corner of our society.
I can’t imagine that any of you have suffered at the hands of a sociopathic pedophile yourselves… or maybe you have and like hundreds of thousands of innocent children per year, you suffered silently, so ashamed of your past that you allowed yourself to be re-victimized.
Maybe you were afraid of the consequences of standing up. Maybe you were like most victims, afraid to tell someone about what happened to you in fear of not being believed, or thinking it was your own fault. Well, it was not your fault. You were an innocent child who was threatened, coerced and manipulated. You deserve for your voice to be heard. You, along with all victims of childhood sexual abuse deserved better than THIS!
Satirizing sexual abuse trivializes the experience of the victim while validating and strengthening the criminals who prey on our children. If we as a culture see it as something to joke about, we send the message loud and clear to pedophiles that it’s just no big deal.
SNL, you have a huge platform. How about an apology and a retraction of this skit off your website and Hulu. Instead of making light of childhood sexual abuse, why not do something to be part of the solution and stand up against it, because I’m not laughing.
Dae C. Sheridan, Ph.D., LMHC, CRC
Board Certified Clinical Sexologist
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor
Adjunct Professor of Human Sexuality, University of South Florida
Assistant Clinical Professor, American Academy of Clinical Sexology