Friday, February 18, 2011

CBS - Sen. Scott Brown: Writing about Childhood Abuse was Cathartic

When Scott Brown became the darling of the Tea Party crowd after winning Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, I figured he was just another partisan conservative - having not heard much of his philosophy and only seeing the occasional soundbite, I wasn't impressed.

And then there was the whole beefcake . . . Cosmo . . . or whatever.

But then he started casting his vote as a Senator. He is a conservative on all fiscal and foreign policy issues, no doubt about it, but he supported lifting the ban on Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell, he opposes a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage at the federal level, and he feels that Roe v. Wade is settled law (although he supports some conservative issues in this realm, such as parental notification).

He is more independent than I gave him credit for - and now that he has come forward about being sexually abused as a child, I admire his courage as a man to address this issue. Too few men are willing to come forward about this because of the shame that is directed at them by other men (often covertly) and by their own sense that they should have done something to stop it.

So, props to Brown for going on 60 Minutes to talk about the material that is coming out in his book, Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances.

Sen. Scott Brown speaks out on childhood abuse

Tells "60 Minutes" writing about abuse was an act of catharsis for him


Sen. Scott Brown reveals he was sexually abused as a child several times by a camp counselor in a "60 Minutes" interview with Lesley Stahl. The Massachusetts Republican also talks to Stahl about physical abuse suffered at the hands of stepfathers, in one case saying he would like to have purchased the house where it occurred just so he could "burn it down.'

The interview will be broadcast this Sunday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Brown says even his mother doesn't know about the sexual abuse. "That's what happens when you're a victim. You're embarrassed. You're hurt," he tells Stahl. Brown spoke of being touched and forced to touch the counselor. "Fortunately, nothing was ever fully consummated, so to speak, but it was certainly, back then, very traumatic."

The counselor, he says, came for him more than once. "As predators do," says Brown. "He said 'If you tell anybody...I'll kill you. I will make sure that nobody believes you.'" Being physically abused at home and the victim of seven broken homes made Brown even more susceptible to such a predator. "When people find people like me at that young vulnerable age, who are basically lost, the thing that they have over you is, they make you believe that no one will believe you."

Brown, who came to national prominence by winning the Democratic seat held by Ted Kennedy in a watershed political moment, details these abuses and other childhood traumas in an upcoming book, Against All Odds. Some of the abuse detailed in the book will be revelations to his wife and mother. The senator says writing was an act of catharsis for him. He tells Stahl of another cathartic act he wished he could have done in Wakefield, Mass., when a house he lived in with an abusive stepfather came up for sale.

"I actually called the realtor and went in and took the tour and relived kind of where everything make sure I wasn't ...dreaming. As I left, I said, 'Man, I wish I had the money. I'd just buy this thing and burn it down.'"

Such a childhood, he says, prepared him well for the bare-knuckle politics he is encountering in Washington. "When I'm getting the crap beat out of me outside, in the political spectrum," he tells Stahl, "I'm like, 'Psst. This is nothing. Bring it on. Let's go. Next!"

Produced by Karen Sughrue

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