Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Heartbreak in State College

I rarely write about controversial topics because we all deal with plenty of negative, controversy, and disgust at what we absorb daily from the media. Controversy is not why you come here and we have Bill O'Reilly to point all kinds of fingers. And with my insane travel schedule right now, and my infrequency of posting why not keep it on the laugh track? But I do want to add my name to the long list of people disheartened by the recent breaking news involving Jerry Sandusky and his activities some of which occurred on the campus of Penn State.

There are so many levels of dismay and confusion following this topic: whether the school knew, or the reality that multiple people at the school knew but did nothing to stop it, how long did it go on, what the trainer saw, why no one removed the child from the situation immediately. A 28 year old trainer witnessed inappropriate contact between Sandusky and a 10 year old boy, contact of which there are now various versions of the truth but the constant in all the alleged stories is that the contact was incredibly inappropriate. Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile, immediately terminated their relationship with him in 2008 when a second report of misconduct with a child surfaced. I can't talk about whether Paterno should be forced out because frankly all of these topics are topics in which we don't know the full level of detail needed. And also because I am not representing either Sandusky or Paterno or the University (thankfully. Good luck legal team that is.)

But I have no shortage of opinion about it trust me, as I am sure those of you following the story don't either. 

But I will, with a distinct level of heartache, include that I know someone who was molested as a child. Molested by someone older, established, and trusted.  Which is not surprising given 90% of victims know their abusers.  I have only a spectator's version of the damage and disconnect these incidences caused to this person's psyche and soul. But very clearly I witnessed it created a gritty sense of distrust in others. For years this person has painstakingly carried not only the secret but the ache of feeling responsible.  And there is simply no reversing 100% of the damage.

When I heard the story as it began to unravel, I thought of all of parents who gasped for air over morning coffee because they had a child who participated in Sandusky's many outings. Who asked themselves Could something like that happen to my son? Did something occur he never told me? Parents who then picked up a phone filled with anxiety to call their son who might be at a friends house, baseball practice, or even in college by now to ask if they too had seen the news.  And braced themselves for the response.

And I wonder if there will be other young men who come forward with a story to tell.  

As a parent, how could you avoid imploding with rage?

Prayers and thoughts extended to the young men and families who are directly impacted by this story:  those already known, those we will soon discover and those who will twist and turn with this in secret the remainder of their lives.  Emotion is not easily translated across the web but today I hope somehow the collective concern and empathy of strangers could provide at least one layer of love in this awful situation. And maybe there can be some reverse to the damage now.

17 comments:

Intense Guy said...

I would only point out that "we, the public" do not know the full facts of the case and that the "trial by media" does a great disservice to all involved, innocent and not innocent alike.

Our so-called justice system is horrible enough and "works" poorly enough without the ignorant mobs shouting for blood outside the gates.

Scraps said...

Those poor kids and families.

You know, I stumbled upon a post once, a couple years back, that likened the fallout from childhood abuse to PTSD and if you think about it, there really is a lot that's similar.

Most days I find I'm pretty well-adjusted, but it took 20 years or more to really come to grips with what happened and what it did and din't mean about me as a person. I hope it doesn't take as long for those boys.

Eva Gallant said...

It's a terrible thing that some knew what was happening and didn't do anything about it!

Singedwingangel said...

You have said it with eloquence, wisdom and empathy.. it is all just sickening to me..

webb said...

well said, JennyMac. In addition to the obvious, the thing that makes me the most angry about this affair is all the people leaping to the defense of all these ADULTS who passed it up the line, thereby TECHNICALLY doing the right thing. How can none of them dialed 911? That makes me sick.

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

The ones who knew about it but did nothing are just as guilty as he is...in my opinion.

Pricilla said...

What sickens me more than anything in all of this is that FOOTBALL was put ahead of the welfare of children.

FOOTBALL. A game.

Oh no, not just a game. A moneymaker. When a game is revered more than/and received more attention/funding, etc. than the EDUCATION we know where things have gone downhill in this country's educational system.

A GAME

Kristina P. said...

It's very scary. It really can happen by anyone. And it does sound like there was a cover up, and at the very least, it was handled very poorly.

B.o.B. said...

it's my opinion that every single person who knew about these incidents should be fired. sorry. but they should all have thought about those children as being their own. would they have wanted someone to turn a blind eye? i don't have kids so i can only imagine how this feels as a parent. it disgusts me. it's also a sad state of affairs that some of this had to do with protecting a freaking football program. our priorities are sorely out of wack.

sorry. had to get that off my chest.

JennyMac said...

@ Iggy...I see your point, clearly. I think the challenge is a the absolute minimum, a witness described the scene. I think that is the most damning evidence.

JennyMac said...

@Scraps...I can see the correlation between the two. How tragic.

@Eva: AMEN!

JennyMac said...

@ angel and webb: NO ONE CALLED THE POLICE? I shudder thinking about it.
Were none of these people parents?????????? I heard today that they believe the entire football staff was aware.

JennyMac said...

@LickLick: How can they live with the knowledge that they concealed a predatory crime?

JennyMac said...

@Priscilla: the irony is that we have heard criminal reports that people involved with investigating the original case wound up floating in a river. YIKES. Too similar to Sopranos.

JennyMac said...

KP: at the minimum, I agree. That 10 year old's story might have a bit different outcome had the trainer acted swiftly.

JennyMac said...

@B.o.b: Sing it sister. I am not surprised that college sports=big business and politics but someone has to draw the line.

hotpants™ said...

That's what kills me. Several of the people who knew are parents. If only one person had picked up the phone and called the police... This story seriously disgusts me.