A friend summarized it best when he said “Boy, when we fail kids, we fail big time.”
What does it say about a community that cares more about football than children and their well-being? What does it say about our society? I have long felt that we don’t care enough about children and we have tons of policies that show that. We fail children all the time. And we fail them in bigger ways every year. I mean, look at the apathy shown to Wang Yue who was run over by a van (twice!) and laid bleeding in the street for over 7 minutes and later died. I know people like to think that would’t happen here, but it’s classic bystander effect in action. And I can’t help but think that a lot of these men held their tongues because they expected someone else to step up and help.
Real talk, I didn’t know who Jerry Sandusky, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz or Joe Paterno were yesterday morning. I had heard whispering about shenanigans at Penn State but didn’t pay attention until yesterday. But I spent most of the day reading and talking about the Penn State scandal and the easiest way to describe my feelings are: totally pissed off.
I read the indictment and almost couldn’t believe what I was reading. Sandusky was caught not once, but twice, in the act of raping children in the showers at Penn by two different grown men who could not get it together enough to call the police. I can understand that both men where shaken, but what about the children? I don’t know what I would do if I saw someone being raped in front of me but I hope that I would have enough sense to say something to stop it and then continue having sense and call the police. I’m sure I would call my mother, like then-grad student Mike McQueary, did. But I know my mother, and I know that if I had not already called the police she would talk me through it. (But I certainly would not work for the same people who traumatized me and ignored the victims like McQueary,who is now an assistant coach for PENN. shady.)
I can understand that people may not know what to do when they know a child is being abused. The only reason why I feel confident about what I would and should do is because I was trained when I got my MSW. (go go social work!) And I realize a lot of people don’t get trained but I’m surprised most of these people in this situation aren’t mandated reporters. In fact, I can’t believe some of them aren’t. Looking squarely at Schultz.
I also can’t help but wonder if more women had been involved in this process along the way. From what I’ve read, the only two people who have called the authorities were women – Victim 1 and Victim 6′s mom. I don’t know the gender of the official at Victim 1′s high school, but they also called the authorities and banned Sandusky from the school. While Penn State eventually banned Sandusky from bringing children from his organization to the school, there was no way to monitor it and he obviously did not follow this rule.
I can’t help but think of how many more young men he took advantage of. I was reading that child molesters are often caught 16 years after they start and charged with hurting far fewer children than they actually did. And with all his victims being men, it’s likely that many will not come forward because of shame
I almost can’t believe this happened. Almost. People ignore child abuse all the time. Unfortunately this is not a special or new situation. And that is the worst part.