In horror, the mother told Sally's mother Betty that the child had done the unthinkable. Well, all's well that ends well. Sally hooked up with a warm smart elderly therapist who gently taught her impulse control.
Sally's transgression was deemed so serious because it was assumed that only boys had to be monitored for that sort of thing. At least back then. It was a broken record in Catholic grade school for the nuns to tell the boys not to put their hands in their pockets or under the desks.
That was then.
Today in Wal-Mart in the upscale Oro Valley section outside Tucson, Arizona, a four-year-old girl in a skirt made of simulated cut-up ties had her thumb in her mouth and the other hand busy under that off-beat skirt. Nobody went up to the child's mother with a wild-eyed look of horror or even concern.
Maybe they figured: In school they will have to take care of that. Or, maybe they thought they had no idea what was being taught about appropriate interventions in child development these days. Why risk screwing up the child for life ...
In 2009, the United Nations released a report recommending mandatory education about masturbation to those as young as five-years old. That was viewed as a necessary introduction to how to have emotionally healthy sexual relationships. I guess the thinking was: Instead of bullying others into sex you know you can take care of your own needs.
Perhaps if St. Paul's School then-senior, Owen Labrie, had developed a positive relationship with masturbation, he wouldn't have felt the compulsion to impose sex on a female underclassman. Eventually, that put him in jail. He also lost his free ride to Harvard. Unless his appeal is effective, forever his record will identify him as a sex offender.
Could the number and viciousness of sex crimes be reduced if there was a public service program encouraging masturbation? The process, still taboo in some circles, can be rebranded. Also, maybe a coalition of criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors should seek funding for a pilot program for that research.