Friday, December 9, 2011

Fair Warning

I've had so many wonderful responses to my last post. I've had comments on the last post and many private emails sent to me about it. I am happy if it helps and saddened if it happened to you, too.

I'm sure most of you are aware that my last post was prompted by the headlines lately.

I read the entire Grand Jury charge regarding Sandusky.

There's so many things about this that makes me so angry, I hardly no where to begin.

The Jury charge says that an assistant SAW Sandusky raping an unidentified boy in the Penn State shower room. The assistant testified that the boy made eye contact with him, that Sandusky made eye contact with him, and that he (the assistant) then turned around and walked out. In the indictment, he says he went home and told his dad and they waited until the following morning to go to the police.

Oh. Wait. Not the police. They went and told the head coach, Joe Paterno. And the coverups either commenced or continued.

Now this assistant is claiming he stopped the abuse he witnessed. He didn't say that to the grand jury but now that his name is out there, he's saying he did. And he still says he didn't stop it physically, but he did stop it before he left the building.

What. The. Fuck.

How do you see that and not pull that man off that boy and beat him to death. How do you SEE that the child sees you and yet you do nothing?

I can only imagine that child seeing another person in the shower room and having that split second of hope that this person will HELP them. And when that doesn't happen, he still has a hope that when that witness leaves, he's leaving to go get help. And then that help never comes. Ever.

Can you imagine what that does to a child's sense of the world and how it works?

I keep picturing my own boys. I picture how little D2 is at his current 8 years of age. I picture T at his ten years of age and how he's tall but he's so thin and so emotionally sensitive. And I picture grown men and how large they are. I can't help but picture the physical size differential between them and it makes me cry every time.

The indictment has so many other things that boggle me.

Like how one of the victims told their mom and the mom went to the police. The police wired her and she confronted Sandusky. He admitted to showering with the boy and said, "That was probably wrong." (Fuuuuuuu) The cops took that recording and confronted Sandusky and he admitted to being the man on the tape and they put him in jail.

Oh. Wait. No.

They told him not to shower with children anymore.

Oh. OK! I won't!

Then there's the janitor who also witnessed Sandusky assaulting a child in the showers; performing oral sex on the boy. He DID make sure Sandusky stopped. He told a few co-workers and also his boss. His boss said the janitor was so upset that the boss feared for his life - thought the man was going to have a heart attack. The boss told the man that it was up to him and his conscious to do whatever he thought was best.

No cops were called. The janitor was too afraid of losing his job to make the call. He died a few years later and the grand jury testimony is from his boss and co-workers.

Another section of the indictment, if I'm reading it correctly, says that an ADA was going to go ahead and press charges against Sandusky but the Penn State CAMPUS COPS told him not to, so the ADA didn't. [My head explodes right about here.]

And, as an aside, can I just say how irritated it makes me to hear it called "assault"? The child was assaulted. It's like they are trying to make it PC. It's rape. Call it what it is. There was no one to soften the blow when these people were raped, why should we make it easier for other's to hear about it now?

There's been all kinds of debate on how Penn State put football before the welfare of children. It's not even a debate anymore, really; it's clear to most people that that is what occurred. I think the real question is how far up and how many people were complicit in this coverup.

Fair warning means that if anyone had any idea that Sandusky was such a predator, he should have been kept away from children. Barring that, spread the word so that he doesn't get a chance to get at anyone else. The investigations on this animal started in early 2000. Nothing of any significance was done and he had another ELEVEN YEARS of access to keep ruining children.

Oh. Wait. He was told by the police to never shower with children again. Let's not forget that!

Sandusky's wife is just now coming forward in his defense. I believe the only reason she's coming forward at all is to cover her own ass, since now she's named specifically in the new indictment that was just released where 2 other victims have given testimony. A new victim has testified before a grand jury that he screamed for help while Sandusky was raping him in the basement of the Sandusky home. The victim says he knew the wife was home but no one came to help him.

She says that no one was ever forced to stay in their basement. The thing is, no one had to force them. They are children and by their nature, they generally do as they are told. Especially when a they are a guest in someone else's home. Especially when they have no idea they are going to be raped.

And even the parents have to be more aware. I feel as though I'll get some flack for this but it's true. If you are allowing your child to stay overnight with an adult, shouldn't you damn sure educate your child about what to do if that trusted adult makes advances of any kind? Educate them about what is appropriate and what's not. Let them know they can tell you if something happens and if they aren't comfortable telling you, that they should tell SOMEone.

When we lived in Parker, our kids stayed the night at their friend's house a couple of times. The third time, when we went to pick them up, there was some random man there and the single dad who lived in that house wasn't there. The random man told us his name and said the single dad wasn't there. This random man didn't explain who he was in relation to the family or where the single dad went. We never let our kids stay there again.

We took these headlines as an opportunity to educate our boys. We'd been watching most of the ESPN coverage of it all and the boys were watching with us. We sat them down and explained (in age appropriate language) what it was we were seeing. We talked to them about what was appropriate touch and what was not. We told them that if ANYone touched them in a way that made them feel uncomfortable, they were to tell us immediately. Even if that person threatened them (or us) or offered gifts or whatever. We told them that if the person were a stranger, a well-known friend, or a loved one, it didn't matter. We went over strategies to get away and when and how to get help.

Sandusky took some of these kids out of state and then told them if they didn't comply with his sick needs he'd leave them there. We told our kids that no matter where they were, all they'd have to do is call and we will come get them.

Parents need to take these steps with their kids. They need to sit them down and talk to them. I had a friend say it was too weird and uncomfortable to talk about things like that with her children and I pointed out, "How uncomfortable and weird are you going to feel if something happens to them because you didn't talk to them about it?" Parents need to be aware of who they are with and most importantly they need to take notice if their child comes back changed.

When I was going through the worst of it during Very Bad Things Part II (or whatever I was calling it), I changed. Materially. Noticeably. I stopped talking. I was the most out-going, gregarious kid and I suddenly stopped talking entirely. I was so traumatized that I started stuttering badly, so I stopped talking all together. A teacher at my school noticed the stutter and sent me to the school's speech therapist and she gave me a couple tricks that helped.

My parents never noticed.

I stopped talking for nearly 6 months and my parents never noticed.

I remember, one time, my mom was lovingly laughing at me and said, "Honey, slow down. You are so smart and your brain wants to do so many things and tell me so many things, that your mouth sometimes can't keep up!"

We need to follow our instincts and teach our kids to follow theirs as well. One of the private emails I received was from an online friend. She asked not to be revealed but said I could use her email as an example if I wanted to.

She told me how her sister called last minute and wanted to bring some random man to the Thanksgiving dinner. She asked her sister why the man wasn't having dinner with his own family and the sister hemmed and hawed and wouldn't be up front about anything. So my friend told her sister No. Later, her mom told her that that man was in jail. She finally got it out of her mom that he was in trouble for molesting his step-daughter. My friend was furious at her sister for nearly endangering her own children but she should feel good that she followed her instincts - even at the expense of causing bad blood with her own blood.

Don't get me wrong. I am in no way blaming the parents of these kids. The fact is, guys like Sandusky (and Bernie Fine and, as of today, longtime Amateur Athletic Union president Robert Dodd) are masters of disguise and manipulation. They seem like wonderful, altruistic men who only want to help less fortunate children. In reality, they are animals seeking prey.

And how fucking predatory do you have to be to start a charity that gives you access to your specific target prey? Dear god.

Wishing I believed in Hell, Ruth!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ruth,

I believe in Hell. A lot of us have lived through it.

Sandy in Tucson.