By Kemi Chavez, CCASA Blogger
So, Jerry Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over a period of 15 years. Now what? Do you wonder what’s next for his victims? Do you wonder how many people will be prosecuted because of their involvement in this case?
What’s amazing about this case isn’t the length of time the abuse went on, or that the victims waited years to tell their stories, or that several adults knew of the situation and did nothing to prevent the further rape and sexual assault of young boys. The most amazing part of this case, in my opinion, is that there are people who are pissed that the legacy of Penn State has been tarnished. It’s amazing how the value of physical safety for children takes a second seat to the preservation of sports legends.
My tolerance was tested several times with verbal and online comments relating to the “motives” of the young boys alleging the sexual assault. My consistent reply: “What were Sandusky’s motives when touching children in inappropriate ways? What exactly were the motives of Sandusky’s colleagues who not only witnessed his sexual attacks on children, but did nothing to report him, therefore permitting his continual sexual assault of children?” I invariably get into a discussion about “the overwhelming amount of cases involving children lying about sexual abuse” (and we go from reality to total nonsense in just a few words).
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m biased about cases relating to childhood sexual abuse allegations. I’m a survivor of sexual abuse and I am a parent. It’s not my natural inclination to doubt the words of children, as they are quite a bit more honest than adults. Note: this isn’t a flawless personal philosophy.
As the school year begins, I’ve had to evaluate my prevention strategies and take a hard look at some of the activities I do or do not allow my children to participate in. It’s something all parents should do. As applied to the new school year, the Penn State child rape scandal provides a reminder of the safety issues that can result from the access we grant other adults to our children. If this sounds strange to you, consider the different adults that spend time with your child – with and without your supervision. How possible is it that there is a serial pedophile like Jerry Sandusky in your community, at your church, at your child’s school, or within your own family.
Of course there are websites that can map out a list of people convicted of sexual assaults in a geographical area. But that only applies to people who have actually been
But you aren’t powerless in preventing sexual abuse. True, we cannot predict the behaviors of another person, and random acts of violence are by definition out of our control. But you do have the power to manage the people who have access to your child, have gained trust within your family/community, and express an interest in your child.convicted. What about the serial predators who have made a career of getting away with child sex abuse?
My “take-away” from the tragedies relating to child rapist, Jerry Sandusky: parents must vigilantly protect their children and other children from predators to the best of their abilities. Most importantly, talk with your child about sexual abuse – specifically what they know about sexual abuse. Make it an ongoing conversation.