Remember the Victims of Alleged Abuse
A wolf in sheep’s clothing. That’s the first thing that came to mind when I heard that Jerry Sandusky had been charged with sexual abuse.
Each new story that surfaced about Sandusky managed to further batter and bruise a proud institution. An institution that has been synonymous with integrity. An institution that unites a community. An institution that I had never thought I’d be ashamed to be a part of. Now, as I sit here trying to find the words to express my shock, I realize that I have been concentrating on the wrong aspects of this situation.
It’s not about the university. It’s not about JoePa’s legacy or the mishandling of an incident by university officials we know by name. When you take away the institution and the fame of Sandusky, it’s about the victims. Sandusky has only been indicted. There will be a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to take him to trial. Even though he is “innocent until proven guilty,” the sheer number of victims and amount of details which have surfaced are compelling.
However, its clear that these alleged victims are being overshadowed. As Penn State fans, we immediately and reflexively thought first about the shame Sandusky has brought to the university. He has compromised the brand name that we all hold sacred. We’ve never been on this side of a scandal, much less one of these proportions.
And we’re wondering what the end-game might be. But is any of that important where the innocence of a child is concerned? Before we gave a damn about the fact that we belong to a university that will look good on a resume, we were kids. We had the whole world in front of us. If these allegations against Sandusky are true, then he took something from those children that can never be returned. That is a far greater tragedy than the tarnishing of a university’s reputation.
Even the most deviant wolves can blend in with the herd. Sometimes they wear the more expensive wool or live in the greener pasture, but they are still predators. They are still wolves. The herd MUST remain strong and protect the victims who have been maimed. I wish that was the sentiment that came to my mind first.
We must act to ensure that something like this never happens again, and offer our own unconditional support to the victims, not just of Sandusky’s alleged abuse, but to children who have had their lives ruined by heinous acts like these. I only wish I knew where to turn first.