This will not be an entry about uplifting ideas. But on the possibilities of silver linings. Two weeks ago, we were punched in the stomach when Jerry Sandusky was arrested for the alleged horror he perpetrated on young boys. We found out about it because he was arrested. After years of subtle hints and whisperings, the man was finally cuffed. Apparently, many people knew what this man was capable of. Yes, he is innocent until proven guilty in the US. And he maintained that innocence last night during his phone call to the Rock Center.
Since his arrest, Penn State has had riots, candle lightings, and firings. The graduate student, now coach, who reported allegedly seeing Sandusky rape a 10-11 year old in the showers of Penn State has received death threats. Joe Paterno’s family has been devastated. What has happened to Sandusky’s family remains cloaked in silence. Yesterday, we discovered that the judge who let Sandusky out on a $100,000 bail was a long time supporter and volunteer with The Second Mile, Sandusky’s non-profit organization.
In South Carolina, a pedofile who was also a coach and prominent church member has been arrested. Children have brought forth accusations against a doctor. A university professor has been accused. Our state is no less immune from this horrible crimes.
The horrors of all of this as visited on the heads of children is indescribable. I can’t imagine being one of the many who are dealing with decisions to come forth or to continue living the lives they have built in the aftermath of their abuse. But maybe – just maybe – this will allow these children, some now adults, to begin to understand that it wasn’t their fault. That they were not the ones who initiated the crime, and that they were just children. Maybe it will allow them to begin or continue to release the memories and any guilt they might feel about what happened to them. Maybe this will help reverse the cycle that is often there in child sexual abuse. It is simply wrong.
This would be a small silver lining indeed. If we didn’t have to learn from these horrors – if we could remove anything that ever happened to these children – that would be far preferable than having to learn from this beastlike criminality and the coverup that was a part of the crime. But we must learn. We are forced as human beings to learn from our mistakes.
As for the criminals, our justice system must punish. To do less is to continue the cowardlike behavior that has marked too much of this horrific lifestyle choices of those who hurt our children.