Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Penn State Scandal

Jerry Sandusky photo by AP.

This past week I have been following the news from Penn State and learning about the alleged horrendous abuse that occurred over many years to innocent young children.

I understand that Jerry Sandusky has claimed his innocence of these allegations; however, I read in horror that many people knew about “suspicious” activity occurring but they never followed through or did anything to investigate.  

It is so familiar to hear people respond by saying, “He was a coach and founder of a children’s charity. How could he do this? How could he be a well-respected member of the community and a sexual predator of young children at the same time?”  

In Mr. Sandusky's case a court of law will determine his guilt or innocence, but every day there are those that appear to be model citizens who torture and abuse innocent victims behind closed doors. It is unimaginable to think they could be a coach, a minister, or a judge. It goes against our way of thinking that people can perpetrate such hideous crimes against others, especially children.

We see victims of domestic violence every day who have struggled alone in silence because they didn’t think anyone would believe that their abuser, a respected upstanding citizen, could also be a torturer at home. I heard the same thing reportedly said by those young boys: they didn’t feel they could say anything because no one would believe them or care.

Unfortunately, in this situation, it certainly appears those were valid concerns. People did see the abuse happening, reported it and nothing happened. How can any child feel that they should continue to report? 

What threats are made to hold them hostage in the vicious cycle of abuse?  There are so many similarities to how domestic violence and child abuse occur: trapping victims and perpetuating the belief that they are alone, no one cares, and nothing can be done to stop it.

My heart goes out to all those who have experienced abuse by someone they love or trust. I am sickened that it took so long for this to come to light. How many victims could have been saved endless torture and years of recovery had someone stepped in to help them?

We must all speak up when we see someone being abused; we may be their only hope. We must stop the abuse that is happening in our society before another innocent person becomes a victim. 

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