Emboldened by Examples

I don’t watch football – college or otherwise.  I don’t like the tone of the sport, nor do I like the fan obsessiveness and the excess of money spent on the sport.  It’s unhealthy, I think, to encourage (demand?) violence in the midst of a game, and then expect players to completely tune it out in the other aspects of their lives.  I also believe that football breeds a kind of entitlement and immaturity that rivals other sports for some reason, although I don’t really understand why.

Because I don’t really follow football, I had just recently heard who Joe Paterno is prior to the news of the Penn State scandal involving assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.  When all of that blew up, I became even more entrenched in my belief that children deserve for adults to do the maximum to protect each child.  Joe Paterno did the bare minimum to protect children who were allegedly abused by Sandusky. (Sandusky, for his part, alleges that, although naked showers did happen, it was just “horseplay,” and there was nothing sexual going on.)   Both Paterno and the adminstrator who was fired were dismissed because Penn State wanted to take a stand.

What is happening now is pretty remarkable: other victims are coming forward to share their stories of sexual abuse.   That in itself isn’t that unusual, but what has helped these folks is that there were actual consequences issued to the alleged abusers and those who didn’t do enough- they were fired by Penn State; even beloved Paterno was not immune.

One of the biggest fears of a victim is for their story NOT to be believed or validated.  Other victims – especially those abused by clergy – have shared their stories without resolution or heavy consequence to the abuser.  Penn State has allowed victims to come forward with the hope that perhaps there can be repercussions for those who abuse children.

Does this encourage something akin to copycatting, or a witch hunt?  Some may say so.  But don’t all people, especially children, deserve the chance to tell the truth?  And of all things, we need to always take seriously any sort of allegations; as mandated reporters and as child advocates.

Read more about this story here.


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