By now everyone knows that the Penn State University coaches, administration and just about everyone involved with the football team turned a blind eye to the fact that Jerry Sandusky, their former defensive coordinator, was abusing children
By not calling the police and reporting this criminal behavior, these children were abused by the adults in their lives for a second time.
We are disgusted, saddened and outraged that this abuse continued to go on unchecked for decades. When the “situation” about Sandusky came up to Joe Paterno, he told Sandusky he “was not to bring children to Penn State.” What does that mean? Why? He knew child abuse was happening and just did not want it happening on his turf?
All of these men are culpable and all deserve to go to jail. Adults need to stop protecting the pedophiles and start protecting children. Our children are no match for a “well-revered, smart, savvy child molester,” especially when the good ‘ole boys network is keeping his secret. The only positive aspect of this story is that it is out in the open and the world can wake up and realize the scope of this man’s destruction of innocent lives. Maybe it will save some children from abuse – and perhaps it will bring some healing to the victims.
What matters most though is ALL the people who knew everything and yet did nothing. To know that something is wrong, to have even been a direct witness of child abuse and yet not report it is almost as criminal as the abuse itself.
What kind of world do we live in, that we will go to such great lengths to protect pedophiles instead of protecting our children? Across the nation, we are asking kids to “report” bullying abuse so they can get the help they need before things get out of control. But how can we expect kids to have the courage to report abuse when adults can’t even report it themselves?
We know from research that many child molesters are seeming “upstanding citizens” – often married with children. They lead a double life. This is a complicated psychological issue. These child molesters are extremely savvy – in their own way, they groom not only the child they are abusing but the entire community they are in. Dottie Huck, a board member for Second Mile, the nonprofit organization Sandusky started for children who need additional support, had this to say, “Speaking personally, Sandusky has done some wonderful things in his lifetime and we should try to help him. … We all make little mistakes in our lives.”
Really? If the allegations prove to be true, he raped children. That is not a little mistake.
In an institution such as Penn State, the athletics department is immersed in politics. Joe Paterno is a beloved coach who wins games and brings in big money for the school. It seems in this case, money and politics ranked higher than protecting children.
So whose voice did it take to be the brave one, the whistle blower so to speak in this tragedy? A 15 year old boy. This child did not report to save himself, but to save another boy from being abused. This boy deserved the right to be safe and the adults in his life let him down.
We believe that by providing Prevention Education to both children and adults we can help break the cycle of silence that surrounds child abuse and stop it in its tracks. I know it sounds simplistic – but “adults and children don’t know…what they don’t know” and we need to educate adults on the dangers, empower adults to listen to their instincts and always err on the side of protecting children. This can be especially hard if the adult knows the offender too. We need to educate children that they have the RIGHT to be safe, the RIGHT to have a voice and the RIGHT to access help and how to get help.
So after you read this blog, we ask you to search your soul. We ask Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz – when you lay your head to rest at night – will you be able to sleep well? We think not! These men have to live with the fact that they played a huge part in destroying who these children could have been.
For more information on how to keep children safe, please visit our website at www.kidsafefoundation.org