Thoughts From A Psychotherapist

My thoughts on the Penn State Crisis

In some ways the part of the story I was most horrified about was the students protesting the firing of Joe Paterno.  I love when young people protest.  In my opinion, there are to many young people that are apathetic about what goes on in this world.  But to see those students protest the firing of a man who contributed to more children being sexually abused frightened and saddened me.  This is what it comes down to, protecting a football team versus protecting vulnerable children?

Anyone who has worked around child protective services knows that most likely eight children is just the tip of the iceberg here.  Most who were abused by Jerry Sandusky will not come forward.  If the system couldn’t protect them before, why would anyone believe that it would now?  Why might an already traumatized person subject themselves to the trauma of having their life examined and than being potentially blamed for being abused? Already questions have been raised about why victims didn’t report the abuse.  Maybe they didn’t report because one victim who reported it to protective services saw the case not prosecuted by the DA.  A case where Jerry Sandusky admitted showering and hugging a young child.  Can anyone really believe that showering with a young child, who is not your child, can ever be innocent?  The system told that child very clearly that they were not important.

People do not want to believe this abuse happens.  I get that.  But statistics show that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused by age eighteen.  That is a lot of young people who have had their lives destroyed.  Because even if they get good treatment those people will never be the same again.  So when I see those students throwing over media vans to protest the firing of a person that was complicit in more children being abused I am angry.

Joe Paterno is just one person who failed that child who was abused and every child who ended up abused after nothing happened.   Every person that knew about this and did nothing should be fired.  That includes the graduate assistant, now coach, that actually saw the abuse.  If people in positions of authority can not or will not do anything to protect children than how can we expect anyone else to take abuse seriously?

Let us remember the people that really matter here, the victims and their families.

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