A Lesson From Penn State
The recent sex abuse scandal that has rocked Penn State should not come as such a shock. There have been so many other well-publicized sex abuse scandals at schools, camps, and athletic programs across the U.S. It’s the “old boys club” mentality that perpetuates pedophilia. When are we, as a society, going to get it into our heads that our sons are just as vulnerable as our daughters? Pedophiles don’t engage in abuse only for sexual gratification: they want control. And who is easier to control than a boy who is uninformed about the existence of sexual predators? What happened at Penn State is an atrocity, but I hope that it serves as a wake up call for parents to talk to their sons about how to protect themselves from sexual abuse. Parents also need to trust their own instincts about whom they can leave their children with. If anyone shows an unusual interest in your child, you should question their motivation. If an adult is excessively interested in your child’s hobbies, it could be harmless. But it could also be a sign that the adult is trying to groom your child for an inappropriate relationship. In that case, you need to intervene immediately. Pay attention to mood swings and sudden drops in academic performance that your child might experience. These things often occur when children are being abused.
Jerry Sandusky and his Penn State colleagues, including Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Graham Spanier, will hopefully be fully punished for their sex crimes. Yes, I know that Sandusky is the only one of them who has been accused of a sex offense, but if these other men allowed him to continue his abuse so that they could preserve the reputation and cash flow of their coveted Penn State athletic program, they are guilty as well. If we hold our children accountable for standing by and allowing bullying to continue, shouldn’t the same standard apply to adults. Let’s hope that our legal system sees the issue clearly and holds all of these men accountable. My prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families.