FARMINGTON — A therapist concerned about the message of sexual violence a scene from Lagoon's "Terror Ride" sends is asking the amusement park to reconsider its inclusion.
Jeff Tesch, a marriage and family therapist in Ogden, said he boarded the ride last week and viewed a scene of two women bound and dressed in lingerie. He remembered working with adolescent sex offenders several years ago, one of whom told him this scene was a trigger for him. The client had admitted to riding the "Terror Ride" for arousal, then looking for opportunities to act out.
Tesch said he did not do anything about it at the time, but after working with victims of sexual violence and listening to their stories, he is now requesting that Lagoon remove the scene.
"I remember the ride bothering me back then," Tesch said. "We need to be more sensitive. I think a lot of people would never have imagined that a ride like that, or images like that, could actually trigger individuals who are perpetrators.
"I would wonder, too, about anybody that's been sexually abused, their reaction. One in three women now experience some kind of sexual abuse or sexual violence," he added. "It kind of surprises me each time I've ridden it over the years that something hasn't been done — that someone hasn't spoken. It's pretty blatant and clear the way they're dressed, the way they're tied."
Tesch said it is time for Lagoon to take another look at "Terror Ride" and reconsider removing the sexual scene.
"I'm not angry at Lagoon, I'm not trying to make a problem; I just think it's something that should be looked at," he said. "Lagoon itself should recognize that this is a theme that doesn't sit well. I think being responsible as a park and a business is to take it out."
Lagoon's Vice President of Marketing, Dick Andrew, said the amusement park was not aware of any complaints in the ride's decades of operation.
I'm not angry at Lagoon, I'm not trying to make a problem, I just think it's something that should be looked at.
–Jeff Tesch, therapist
"We'll obviously take a look at this particular thing in question and do what we think needs to be done," he said.
He mentioned, in particular, that the park keeps its seasonal horror attraction, "Frightmares" mild, avoiding graphic scenes.
Tesch said that, in general, the attitude toward and portrayals of sexual abuse should be re-evaluated.
"Maybe we do need to take a good look at even things we're supporting that might be further promoting that type of behavior," he said. "With our better understanding about sexual violence against women and the treatment of offenders, I would hope that they would take a look at it and say, 'This is something we could adjust.' And it's a healthy thing for people who visit their amusement park."