Thursday, November 10, 2011

Child Sexual Abuse and the Sandusky Case

It’s an epidemic.  It is a cultural disease that needs to be eradicated.  I am so disgusted and appalled.  I am not only talking of child sexual abuse, but of the rampant coverup and protection of the perpetrators. 
Gerald Sandusky, a former Penn State football coach is currently indicted on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys, following a three-year investigation.  It is all the news anyone is talking about.  I read the Grand Jury report. You can read it here:  It is disturbing to say the least.  Some parts I had to quickly skim over,  just to avoid vomiting.  I read it just to see if there were really people who could have known about what happened to these boys and stood by and did nothing.  There were so many people that could have stepped up for these children, that it is unfathomable to me.  
The question I have and many have been asking is; how can a grown man witness a 10 year old boy being raped by another grown man and simply walk away?  It would have taken such little effort, at the least, to pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1.  What stopped him from doing this?  I think that most of us would have done that and more.  I could not imagine seeing a child being brutalized and not do everything in my power to physically protect that child.  The perpetrator was in the most vulnerable position a person can be in.  He was naked.  So you knock him out, and if you can’t do that,  just take his clothes.  Then get the child away from him and wait for the police and ambulance.
This 10 year old little boy, only known as “Victim 2” in the Grand Jury report, has not been seen or heard from since.  No one knows who he is. He did not come forward.  This information about him was obtained while doing the investigation on the 7 other victims.  No one knows who this child was, because no one helped him.  No one cared, no one stopped his abuser and no one ever found out if he was alright.   If he is still alive he is a 19 year old now.   For some reason I can not stop thinking about this anonymous boy.
The man who witnessed this crime was Mike McQueary.  Instead of stopping the rape of this little boy Mr. McQueary left the locker room “distraught”  and called his father.  Upon getting the call, his father told him to come home!  Then they both decided to call Joe Paterno the next day!  WHAT?  Why would they call Joe Paterno?  Where is the rational?  OK so they did not handle this properly, certainly Mr. Paterno would call the police.  No, he called his boss, the Athletic Director. Well there has to be some protocol that he knows about that would tell HIM to call the police. No, they just tried to make it go away, by doing nothing.  I just can’t seem to get it.  These are good men with families, known for their upstanding character and not one of them did the right thing.  They all failed that 10 year old boy.  They then subsequently failed every other child who was raped and/or molested by Sandusky after that incident.  
It makes no sense to me that the reputation of a School or a football program is so sensitive that they could not have exposed Sandusky at the first inkling.   Wouldn’t you want to expel someone like this and have them removed completely from your organization... immediately?  Wouldn’t that hold up your reputation and support your motto, Success with Honor?   Not for nothin’ but Mike McQueary is still at Penn State, he is the the football team’s receivers coach.  
The epidemic of child molestation and rape is rampant.  I am not being melodramatic here.  The current statistics are that one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused.  ( Think about that.  Go to your child’s classroom of 25 children and realize that  about 6 of them are being or will soon be sexually abused.  Then walk down the hall to the next classroom and do the same thing, then walk down to the next classroom.  The magnitude is staggering. It also must be known that for every brave soul who comes forward and reports being sexually abused there are at least 3 that remain silent.  
All of this was brought to light, for me, with the Catholic Church scandal.  I did not want to believe it, nor did I want to even acknowledge the accusations.  But I did wind up reading both Grand Jury reports that were done on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.   Again the most disturbing aspect of these very similar cases, of men in power abusing young children, is those that let it happen.  The men who witnessed questionable behavior, who were presented with corroborating facts of sexual abuse, who were told by the perpetrators that it would never happen again, chose to do nothing.  How?  Why?  What is holding them back? What are they afraid of?  
I tend to lean toward the theory that our society does not value the lives of women and children.  There are some men who do not view them as a complete person.  So their suffering and needs are beneath the needs of the male perpetrator.  Then I think that some men may still believe that they should not be a snitch.  Some may fear or have some displaced loyalty to those in power, especially those above them.  
I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I am just a mom, who had to have another talk with her children about being safe, good touch/bad touch and trusting their instincts. Telling them that ‘if something does not seem right, scream, yell and get away from the person who makes you feel uncomfortable. EVEN if you know them and they pretend to be your friend.  Then come and tell me or dad.’   It is scary and sad that there is a prevalence of sexual abuse by men in power.  It just make me question, where will the next scandal come from and how can we stop it?