Saturday, June 23, 2012

Justice Has Been Served

Thanks to the brave voices of the young men who spoke out about their abuse, Jerry Sandusky will be spending the rest of his life in prison. As to Penn State, which issued a statement referring to the "tremendous respect" the school has for the victims/survivors, where was that "tremendous respect" when Sandusky's actions came to light? When he was seen in the shower assaulting a child? When it was time to report to authorities and keep him from abusing ever again?
There are many sad tales attached to this Sandusky/Penn State saga, but the lesson is this: every adult needs to understand how his/her choices profoundly affect the children in their sphere. No more secrets, no more shame - insist on child safety policies in all your youth-serving organizations, know your state's reporting policies, speak with children of all ages about boundaries and their right to say "no" to ANY adult. If a child discloses abuse to you, stay calm, make sure the child knows you believe and support him/her, call the authorities immediately. Get educated about child sexual abuse - how it happens, how it perpetuates. Only then will we be able to change our thinking and our culture to one that places top priority on preventing, recognizing and reacting responsibly to child sexual abuse.

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