Letter: Greenwich Schools Teach Sexual Abuse Prevention, Yet Adults Excuse the Behavior

Letter to the editor from Sarah Darer Littman, former member of  District 8 RTM

Almost two decades ago, I attended a parent meeting at Parkway School about the health curriculum that was going to be taught to our kids to educate them on sexual abuse prevention. (See the Childrens Trust on talking to children about sexual abuse https://thechildrenstrust.org/how-child-support-works/772)

The curriculum was age appropriate and easy to understand: No one should touch you on the parts of your body that are covered by a bathing suit unless it is your parent helping you as a young child to bath or a physician or nurse at a hospital or healthcare facility.

It’s because my children were taught this message in town of Greenwich Public Schools almost twenty years ago that I’ve been experience such cognitive dissonance listening to my former RTM colleagues and so many people in town try to parse and excuse the actions of District 8 chair Christopher Von Keyserling.

I am not the only one who finds such enabling disturbing and abhorrent.

Are we seriously arguing over whether he pinched a town employee in the workplace on her bottom or her vagina, because the argument is “Well, if it’s her bottom it’s not so bad” in the year 2017, almost two decades after my kids learned in Greenwich Public schools that we don’t touch anyone in the bathing suit area, period?

Are we really saying, “Oh, it’s just Chris being Chris,” as if that should excuse behavior that we have taught our kids is flat out wrong?

Are we really arguing, “Well, he didn’t mean it that way?” when we have taught our kids “if anyone ever touches them in their private areas, or asks them to look at or do anything that makes them uncomfortable, they should tell a parent, grandparent or other trusted person about it immediately even if it makes the person who did it upset or embarrassed”?

Are we the kind of town that is going to overlook such things because “he such a big supporter of the Nathaniel Witherell” or “he does so much for the town,” or “I’ve known him for thirty years”?

If so, don’t waste our taxpayer dollars because denial and flawed values can’t be papered over with a public relations campaign.


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  • LibertyorDeath

    One of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system, holding that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Very often, however, public language about such accused persons, points to a presumption of their guilt.“Innocent until proven guilty” is more than an empty mantra; it is a principle to be followed by everyone—including the media.

    • Let me explain something to you about sexual assault and sexual abuse reporting- of the false variety. The level of false reporting is generally below 8% for child sexual abuse- and that only when it is adults initiating a report, not the child. The level of false reporting is generally between 2-10% for sexual assault.

      With false reporting so low, why must we wait for the criminal justice system to charge and convict someone to say they erred? If someone has a habit, like a certain president, the presumption is that a specific allegation is true, not false. According to RAINN, a minute fraction of cases reported to police end in a felony conviction.

      TNF 13
      Advocate for the Primary Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

  • realsaramerica

    Liberty or Death appears to be willfully missing the point of the piece, which doesn’t surprise me since he’s commenter on a misogynist blog in town. At the last District 8 meeting, CVK not only admitted that he touched the woman, he joked about it. Since CVK admitted that he touched the woman below the waist, ipso facto, by the very rules we are teaching our kids in town of Greenwich Public Schools, he touched her inappropriately. Where is your concern for the victim in this scenario, Mr L or D ?