Penn State has been the primary news story in Pittsburgh each day for the last 10 days or so, so my nearly 12 year old son has asked a lot of questions. In addition, as a 6th grader, a big part of their curriculum is current events as well. As this boy transitions into teen, we have been working to ensure he comes to us with questions and curiousities rather than taking his friends' words as truth or seeking information on the internet without talking to us. So far, so good.
Having been falsely accused of sexual abuse by my stepdaughter's biological mother I understand the destructive power words can hold. I am not one to immediately believe what I hear on the news as gospel so within the first few days, I went looking for more factual information online versus the slant that always comes with reporting. I came across the grand jury report and quite honestly only made it to the end of the second victim's information and could read no more.
I think what I'm most disturbed by (aside from the abuse itself) with regard to the situation is that although I wholeheartedly believe Joe Paterno had a moral obligation to do more than he did, the graduate assistant who witnessed Sandusky abusing a 10 year old boy was a TWENTY-EIGHT YEAR OLD MAN. I believe that graduate assistant should have called the police. He witnessed the abuse IN PROGRESS and instead called his dad and the next day met with Joe Paterno to tell him. If someone saw my son being raped and DID NOTHING in the moment, I'd find culpability there too. Legally or not, morally there is.
And if that twenty-eight year old man had acted on what HE witnessed, perhaps all those other children who were abused, would not have been.
The entire situation from top to bottom is utterly disgusting and I have so many feelings about it that are best kept within my own family discussions, but each day when I see and hear on the news about Joe Paterno this and Joe Paterno that, I want to scream that a 28 year old man turned and walked away while a ten year old boy was being raped.
I hope this situation has prompts discussion with your children to provide them the tools to empower them with the word "no" when it can make a difference in their life and safety. THAT is the positive we have taken from the recent Penn State events.