Penn State should focus on victims

“We are Penn State.”

These were the words spoken, written and repeated more than ever before, it seems, as the beloved Joe Paterno was fired from his position as Pennsylvania State University’s head coach. But this scandal is much deeper than a coach getting fired or even a long-time president resigning from his post. It is about a man allegedly abusing children from 1994 to 2009.

Jerry Sandusky was the founder of a boys’ foster home called The Second Mile. The mission of this home was to provide a place of sanctuary for boys who had suffered from being orphaned, having dysfunctional families and any other instability they might have faced. From this organization, Sandusky took many young boys under his wing. This is also where he met the eight victims said to have been molested by him.

The more I look at these incidents, the more I am saddened. These were boys who were seeking a place of safety and maybe even a father figure. Sandusky, being an assistant coach, had ample experience dealing with young men and might have seemed like an ideal example for these children.

In light of this case, The Second Mile is now requesting that any donor looking to support them send their philanthropy to the Coalition Against Rape instead. The Second Mile is weighing its options for responses to the allegation toward their founder, one being closing its doors, but no decisions have been finalized.

Many following the unfolding story have missed the point. If I were to walk past anyone talking about this, they would most likely be talking about how unfair it is that JoePa got fired. Terminating his contract first was unjustified, but the fact that he knew that something was wrong and did not act, beyond giving an initial reaction, is inexcusable. I am not saying that he should have personally made Sandusky stop, but he should at least have made sure that proper actions were taken to truly stop what was happening to these children.

While many people are concerned with the reputation of some men and the jobs that they no longer have, the real issue is, what is being done to help the victims, and what is being done to prevent this from happening in the future?

Molestation of boys is a very real occurrence, but it just does not seem that it is being treated as an urgent concern.

Ronald Warren of The Father Factor Blog recounts the story of the janitors and graduate assistant who all claim to have seen Sandusky raping the victims in the shower. Warren asks the reader to remove the boy from the scenario and imagine that it was a little girl being raped. Would a witness not run to the rescue of this helpless little girl? Why was this not the case for the boys?

When boys are put in these situations, it often goes unreported by them or those around them. This should not be the case as it was with the Sandusky incidences. Hopefully, this Penn State scandal will open many eyes to this.

Amidst the scandal, civil suits, questions and rumors of new accusers coming forward, Penn State’s football team managed to win its first game without the beloved JoePa or Sandusky. It looks like, no matter what is going on, they are still Penn State.

Sources: The Father Figure Blog, Huffington Post, Washington

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