Breaking The Silence Of Penn State

Breaking the silence

Parenting Help Parenting Help   The news that “just” broke that Penn State University Coaches, Administration and just about everyone involved with the football team knew that Sandusky was abusing children and looked away abused these children a second time. I am disgusted, saddened and outraged that this abuse continued to go on for so long. When Joe Paterno told Sandusky he “was not to bring children to Penn State” shows he knew and just did not want the abuse happening on his “turf.”

All of these men are culpable and all deserve to go to jail. Adults need to stop protecting the pedophiles and start protecting children. Our children are no match for a “Well revered, smart, savvy child molester.” Especially when he has the good ole boys network keeping his secret. The only good thing about this story – is that it is out in the open and the world can wake up and realize the scope of child abuse. It is unfortunate that it has to take big headliners for this to make the news, but that is the way of our world.

Every 10 seconds there is a report of child abuse (though most do not report) 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18 – 90% of the time by someone they know.  These are the stats (but again, most do not report!)  Child abuse has hit epidemic proportions and our children are growing up abused and then becoming abusers. 30% of adolescents abuse children, I know that stat may scare you, but think about it,  a child molester does not wake up the day he/she turns 21(and is presumed an adult) and just starts abusing…they have been doing it for a long time…Why? Because when they were being abused no one helped them, everyone looked the other way, this is what they know, and they never got help. Had they got help, had someone stepped in to protect them, maybe just maybe they would not have become an adult offender.

We believe that by providing Prevention Education to both children and adults we can help break the cycle of silence that surrounds child abuse and stop it in it’s tracks. I know it sounds simplistic – but “Adults and children don’t know…what they don’t know” and we need to educate adults on the dangers, empower adults to listen to their instincts and always air on the side or protecting children (which we know is hard because the adult knows the offender too). We need to educate children that they have the RIGHT to be safe, the RIGHT to have a voice and the RIGHT to access help and how to get help.

In this particular case, the boy who blew the whistle did not do it to save himself, he did it save another boy being abused. It’s as if he didn’t think he had the right to be safe, but this other boy did. That is what truly breaks my heart. So help break the silence, read this and then pass it on to everyone you know – it takes a village to keep our children safe and we all need to work together.

Author: Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA

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