I've kept mum about the whole Jerry Sandusky child molestation trial and verdicts, partly because it's an issue that hits way too close to home for me, and partly because others have been able to express their thoughts much more eloquently than I.
When all this shit hit the fan last fall and the story broke across media outlets, I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. Here was a man who was in a position of authority, leadership, and supposed to be a mentor to the kids in his care...and he mercilessly took advantage of that position to feed his sick needs. Who knows how many other children he abused other than the handful involved in the trial? For those kids, now grown men, to come forward and admit this happened to them took an extraordinary amount of courage, but how many others are out there that will never come forward? How many others out there have had their lives completely shattered by this sick fuck and are struggling in silence?
I struggle with what happened to me as a child everyday. A couple of years ago I found the courage to start writing about it in my other blog, which is public, but I'm still anonymous somewhat because the random person who might come across it has no idea who I am. So I feel safe writing about it. It helps me, and it may help someone else to know they're not alone.
However, most people who know me in my private life have no idea that this is my reality. I've told only two people "in real life": two ex's (my former therapist I don't count, but I guess technically that makes it three people). And some days, I feel that it was two too many that I told.
My "confessions" were done in private. How must the men involved in the trial feel about having their stories splashed across headlines for the whole world to see? I commend the news agencies for refraining to use their real names and only refer to them as "Victim #1" and such, even now that the trial is over, but still. I only hope that they have been able to navigate through all of this with nothing but loving support from their friends and families.
I did read that now the trial is over, a few more men have been willing to come forward and admit that they too were victims. To reveal something so private, so intimate, so fucked up, takes a shitload of courage. And now "Victim #2" has come forward to say he was the child in question in the shower incident witnessed by McQueary and is suing the school in a civil suit. I'm just waiting for the naysayers to start in with comments about how he's just looking to make a quick buck. Trust me, if you have experienced something as traumatic as this in your life, you do not take coming forward lightly, just to "make a quick buck". In fact I think that was what Sandusky's defense lawyers tried to posit about the number of victims involved in the lawsuit, that they were just 'hangers on" looking for money and notoriety. No amount of money can bring your innocence and faith in humanity back.
And then there is Dottie Sandusky, wife of the shitbag, who even now protests her husband's innocence. I'm not sure how to read her. She says she never saw any evidence whatsoever of any child abuse in her home. Well, to this day my own mother denies what happened to me and claims I made it all up. Of course a perpetrator will cover their tracks! They are experts at lying and covering up, and make sure their victims become experts at lying and covering up as well. I sure as hell never entertained the idea of telling anyone, even my mother. It wasn't until years later that I had the realization of, "Wait a minute. How could my mother not have known? How did she not notice the blood on my bed linen and my underwear?" So either Ms. Sandusky was so unaware of reality that she genuinely didn't suspect anything......or she was like my mother and chose not to believe what was almost literally right before her eyes.
The relationship between the perpetrator and the victim can be as varied as night and day. From outright terror, to friendly companionship. Ms. Sandusky's claims that the boys in question were loving and 'clingy' towards her husband just proves the intricately complicated web of lies, devotion, brainwashing, and confusion that transpired. Many times the victim will have an almost 'hero' worship of their perpetrator and be too young to really grasp the connotations of it all, but yet still feel that something is not right. But because of their love and devotion to the perp they feel that something not right must be their own fault. That feeling can last far beyond the abuse into adulthood, making it hard for the victim to admit he needs help.
This case, thanks to its notoriety and livid details, has pushed childhood sexual abuse into the forefront of everyone's conscience, at least here in the U.S. But what about other cases, like the atrocities of the Catholic church and their now stereotypical pedophile priests? Those cases fall out of the public limelight really quickly, as if there is some 'higher power' pushing to make the headlines go away. I find it amusing in a sickening way that the Sandusky case only got the attention it did not because of the heinous crimes he committed, but because it involved the sanctimonious all-American past time, football.
But even if it casts a tiny bit of light towards sexual abuse victims and the trauma they have suffered, it is a step forward. Bit by revolting bit.