I have been watching the Penn State sex scandal unfold over the past two weeks and I’m…well…appalled. Why? I’m hearing a lot of people supporting secrecy and nondisclosure, so in fact supporting the sexual abuse that has taken place. You know there is so much support for Joe Paterno and from all I can glean he was a nice guy and he has been very good at his job as a football coach but as soon as he learned of the sexual assault/rape that happened in the football locker room shower by an ex-coach and former member of his staff he really did cease being a nice guy.
A nice guy would have intervened to make sure that the rapist, ex-coach, was turned into the police. A nice guy would have intervened and made sure that vile man no longer had access to any Penn State facilities where he could rape more boys. Ergo, Joe Paterno, although a legend, is not a nice guy.
And yet he’s garnering support and sympathy because he lost his job. That says to me that there are a plethora of people who have nothing to do with the Catholic Church who also do not, “get it”. Victims of abuse, any abuse, are devastated in ways that people who haven’t been abused cannot even imagine. Trust in others is destroyed. Anger, anger and anger are now part of the fabric of life. And it is mostly unfocused but it is always present just under the surface. People do not get that still. There are so many people that are in denial. That is the hardest part for me to deal with. The thought that it is best to just suppress the issue of abuse, not talk about it, and not do anything about it is absurd. It will NEVER go away if all we do is try to ignore it. Stop the silence and take away an abusers best weapon.