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As the child abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, and the Penn State University administration as a whole first surfaced everyone seemed astounded, denied it could happen, and simply sided with Sandusky.
For those of us in the field of child safety, those that are survivors of his abuse, survivors of any abuse, and those in child protection have been appalled by the support of Jerry Sandusky and Penn State at large.
We ask ourselves, how do they not see what we see? How do they not hear what we hear? Don’t they understand children don’t lie about abuse? Thankfully, this weekend my husband asked me to listen to Sports Reporters with host, John Saunders, and commentators, Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, Mike Lupica, Israel Gutierrez from Miami Herald. Not only did they talk about Sandusky, but they called him out. “Stop this continuation of abuse and exploitation of these survivors! Admit your guilt so they don’t have to suffer through this trial!”
They even looked directly into the camera holding back tears asking Mrs. Sandusky, “Where the hell were you? How did you not stop this?” Wow! This was a powerful moment for me watching these grown men finally “get it,” and now, for them to be as outraged as everyone should be. These men, their hearts seemingly broken over what happened to all these children, and not over the breakdown of the beloved Penn State, showed exactly the emotional response that I would have expected from the news.
I have been waiting and hoping that this would happen before the survivors had to be abused again by telling their stories. I was wishing that someone, anyone, would advise Jerry Sandusky that he has done enough harm and tell him to admit his guilt and go away; do one decent thing, for not only those you abused, but for the world. When the commentators turned to the camera and called the Sanduskys out (“I am talking to you Mary Sandusky!”) tears rolled down my face, and I clapped, feeling maybe, just maybe, if these men now get it, then the world might get it, too.
If Jerry Sandusky was listening, if his lawyer was listening, I can only hope that a surprise on Monday might happen and Sandusky will admit his guilt. Survivors and everyone touched by this abuse can begin their healing process, and Sandusky will go to jail where he will be treated like the criminal he is.