The Microcosm to Penn State Child Sex Abuse
by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live
Wolverton writes in The Chronicles of Higher Education stating that according to the 267-page independent report released on July 12th 2012,
“A reverence for football was largely to blame for a series of missteps by to Pennsylvania State University administrators in failing to report repeated allegations of child sex abuse by Jerry Sandusky” (2012).
In addition to this,
“Two Penn State officials—Graham B. Spanier, the university's former president, and Joe Paterno, the revered coach—took the brunt of criticism in the report. They and other top leaders displayed a "total disregard for the safety and welfare" of children, the report says, and hid critical facts from authorities about the alleged abuses.”[. . . ]“The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized,” Mr. Freeh said (2012).
The report further concluded that said officials and other top leaders refrained from coming forward to “avoid the consequences of bad publicity.”
In addition to the revealed material, a comment was made in regards to why sex abused children respond the way they do.
“I wonder how much of the "pay[ing] dearly throughout their lives through issues of trust, self-esteem, etc." is a result of the activity itself and how much is a result of a societal "abuse infrastructure" with a vested interest in making sure that the child knows that they are supposed have such issues and through the whole massive majesty of the Child Services bureaucracy and the judicial system making it clear that the only acceptable response on the child's part is self-loathing and hatred toward the others. Carefully cultivating the child's "victimhood" by those with a vested interest in perpetuating such a culture of victimhood is as unfortunate as any other aspect of this whole situation” (Eveland, 2012).
Not only were these children being ignored during the heinous crime of sexual abuse for 14 long years, we now have Eveland, an organizational and clinical psychologist, stating that society is conditioning children to be victims of these heinous sex crimes and to respond with self-loathing and hatred toward others. Where is the understanding? Is Eveland saying that children that undergo sexual abuse surface unscathed, and that it is only social conditioning causing their feeling to turn them into a “culture of victimhood?” Penn states victims as well as many other abused children don’t get heard the first, second, or even third and fourth time; and, when (or if) the crime is finally exposed, the children don’t get heard once again because apparently society has conditioned this cognitive process into their minds. A view like this shuts the abused child down. Rather than the abused child express his/her inner pain, he/she is taught that what she/he feels is wrong, and that it has been socially conditioned into her/him to feel or think this way. Where is the justice for the child with a statement such as this? First, a child is ignored of his/her complaints of sex abuse. Second, a child is ignored of his/her complaints of self-loathing and hatred.
For many years, children and women have been socialized to keep their voices quiet. As a result, sex crimes were rarely reported. If they were reported, the children and women were questioned in courts to the point of twisting evidence so that they were to blame for the cause of the crime. As a result, children and women did not come forward because they could not endure a second blast of shame. With courage and persistence, women and their children finally overcame this archaic and male dominating social system. Finally, sex abused children and women were able to begin the process of healing because they came forward and expressed the psychological damage these crimes cause.
Penn State’s child sex abuse is a microcosm to many families around the world experiencing sex crimes but go unnoticed. The Joe Paterno’s and the Graham B. Spanier’s are also some of the parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers, and sisters that turn a blind eye to the sex crimes that occur under their noses. To demonstrate, many sex abused children around the world don’t belong to a high profile university. Neither do they live with big-named officials, presidents, or leaders. What Penn State’s officials and leaders have in common with many average families that experience sex crimes is that they refrain from coming forward to avoid the consequences of bad publicity whether it be with mass media for Pen State or the local community for the family. What they don’t have in common is that the individuals from Penn State that committed perjury and failed to report suspected abuse were at minimum brought to court. The individuals that had a total disregard for the safety and welfare of the children came under “scathing public criticism,” resigned, discredited, and/or fired. Additionally, Penn State’s victims were acknowledged for what had happened. The people that chose to turn a blind eye to the sex crimes had minor penalties but at least some. There was no question; there had to be consequences for such a huge organization prominent in the public eye. On the other hand, it’s very different for the small families with children of sex crimes. Many aren’t noticed, acknowledged, or understood at all.
The shame of this tragedy is that children continue to remain in the dark unnoticed and forgotten when it comes to these atrocious sex crimes. Then we have educated professionals that state an unambiguously clear-cut point-of-view that could radically push back these children to their shaded lives.
When I birthed my children I received a Canadian Health Passport from the Ministry of Health for each child. Within the cover, the United Nations Declares 10 Rights of the Child, the first one being the right to affection, love, and understanding.
Penn State’s Culture of Reverence Led to ‘Total Disregard’ for Children’s Safety. (2012,
July 12). The Chronicles of Higher Education. Retrieved September 16, 2012, from http://chronicle.com/article/Penn-States-Culture-of/132853/