We recently returned from a sixteen day motor home trip to my hometown in Nebraska for their 125 year celebration. It was like taking a happy pill day after day as activities rolled out in great fun and friends I hadn’t seen in decades made an appearance. My happy glow continued this morning. I took our Golden Retriever for her morning walk. She’s happy to be home and has been busy inspecting her favorite potty spots. I gardened for an hour and a half, dead heading roses, raking debris from under our cane, pruning bushes. That alone always raises my happiness level. Just before breakfast I unloaded some of my clothes from the motor home. I’ll take my time doing the rest. Life is good. I settled down for breakfast, a banana, a glass of orange juice and a cinnamon roll.
I watched the morning news as I ate. Louis Freeh, the former FBI chief, released his independent investigative report on the Penn State child sexual abuse scandal. The report said that four people at the highest level of Penn State including Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley all knew of the 15 years plus reign of terror at the hands of Jerry Sandusky. When the four first discovered it they discussed whether or not to turn him over to the authorities but decided not to. It would mean bad publicity for Penn State. “At the very least,” the report said, “Mr. Paterno could have alerted the entire football staff, in order to prevent Sandusky from bringing another child into the Lasch Building.” The report further believes “The interest of avoiding bad publicity allowed Sandusky to remain free, where he would go on to abuse additional boys and maintain near full access to Penn State facilities and the inner working of the football program”
As my eyes drilled into the television screen I felt my chest tighten, my teeth clench, and my whole body begin shaking. While listening to the account I tried to ward off pictures that sprung up in my mind; my father entering my bedroom in the middle of the night, the terrifying rapes, the subsequent years of bad choices, nervous breakdowns, time in a women’s shelter, my daughters suffering for it, then my father telling me more than twenty years later, as he tried to justify what he had done, that “It wasn’t that bad kiddo. They do it in the Appalachian District all the time.” The shaking turned to rage, a black, cold, killing kind of rage. It swept away all of my good feelings. Despite five years of recovery, tears choked me as all of my anger, directed at a college that thought they were God, became an anger that was bigger than I was. I wanted to kill someone. I wanted to take those three men that were still alive and use them for cancer experiments. I listened further as Mr. Freeh said, “Although concern to treat the child abuser humanely was expressly stated, no such sentiments were ever expressed by them for Sandusky’s victims.”
How could this be?
How can we live in a society that’s considered the best in the world, a society of healthy people, of doctors and therapists, of religious choices and still have four sick individuals allow young boys to become sexually molested. ALLOWED IT! You know what this is? This is a world that doesn’t take sexual abuse seriously; a world that thinks people exaggerate; a world that doesn’t want to hear about it as it is just too “yucky”. Let’s just all pretend that it doesn’t happen. That way we can have even more little children enter the world of a perpetrator and change their lives forever.
I’m that lady who talks openly about her father raping her. How disgusting! I have a granddaughter who is so ashamed of me for the work I’m doing that she acts like I’m invisible. She just gave birth to a son, her first child. I pray that he stays safe and grows up to be a fine young man, one who never had to experience sexual abuse. Whoops! Sorry! Not supposed to talk about this. THERE IS AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!
Let’s get rid of him.