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43. The Demons Without: Jerry Sandusky

February 21, 2012

This post discusses a sensitive and inflammatory topic. While I welcome comments, feedback etc. I respectfully request that you read it through to the end before reacting to it.

Sandusky Penn State Child Molester Sandusky Penn State Child Molester demon demonI want to write about Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State football coach arrested for child molestation. I’m not affiliated with Penn State, or the state of Pennsylvania. Like most of the nation, I just listen to the news and from there, make my judgments about a very complicated situation. But this is, after all, a personal blog, meant as a place to express myself and my hopefully un-opinionated opinions. Please take what you want and leave the rest.

Last week, Sandusky was in the news again. Evidently, prosecutors have requested greater restrictions on his house arrest. Neighbors have complained that that he’s been sitting on his porch watching children play in an adjacent schoolyard. While unsaid, what is implied here is that he is sitting on his porch fantasizing about sexual relations with children. Unstated: the dangerous monster threatens the health and well being of our children just by looking at them. Let me chime in here. I agree. I think this too. I don’t want anyone implicating my children or any children in their sexual fantasies. I don’t want any untreated child molesters anywhere near children. Just writing this makes me simmer with fury at Sandusky. I don’t just want him under house arrest–I want him thrown into the deepest pits of hell. I don’t believe in the death penalty–yet when I write the words “sexual fantasies” and “children” in the same sentence, I consider making an exception for him.

But but but.

Let me just put it out there that no one has any idea whether or not he is watching and fantasizing about the children (I doubt he’s telling).  I’m sure some sex offenders, possibly him included, do just that. Its also possible that he’s just getting some sun and thinking about the way he has f*- up his life. This is not an argument for or against putting stricter restrictions on him.

Much more importantly, when we, as a community, focus all of our fury at one sex offender, we risk losing sight of the actual problem of the sexual molestation of children. Which happens everywhere, all the time, under our noses. By making Sandusky a predatory monster, a hideous, terrifying beast who at this point, exists for the most part in the media and our minds—I personally lose sight of who sex offenders actually are. 90% of sexual molestation is done by individuals who already know their victims. And as much as we may want them too—they don’t walk around wearing a giant red M pinned to their chest. Even as I write this, I start to panic. My heart thumps, fingers pound the keyboard. How the f* can we protect our children if we don’t know who the monsters are? It makes me feel helpless and terrified, and I want Sandusky and the few we can identify to roast, forever, in that burning hell I mentioned before. That feels like an action step. It feels like, if I can punish the monsters that get caught, I’ll be in control of something that feels way out of control. Note the “feels like” here. Unfortunately, lets face it. Demonizing Sandusky and the other sex offenders has no real consequences for the safety of my children. Instead, it gives me a false sense of security, as I lull back into forgetting that nasty 90% figure.

So what the hell can I do? How the f* can I protect my kids?

In the same news briefing, it was reported that Sandusky’s lawyers are actually arguing that his restrictions be eased, specifically so that he might spend more time with his grandchildren. And here, my heart suddenly breaks in half. The enormity of this tragedy confounds me. Someone (Joe Paterno, the original reporter, the college, all of them) set out to “protect” Sandusky, and, in doing so, multiplied the original damage exponentially. The consequences for Paterno—a tainted career, and too-early death—are just a sad side plot. There’s Sandusky—a man who needed help, not denial. The man was clearly sick. Had he been reported earlier, he might have hit a bottom, which could have led him to the treatment he clearly needs. More importantly, there are the children. There are the children who had been molested up to the point at which Sandusky was first found out. Those children needed help—immediately, and instead, they were thrown under the bus. Then there are any children who were molested after Sandusky was discovered. These are the ghosts who should keep Penn State officials awake at night. The lives of Sandusky’s victims were irreparably changed. And if these children didn’t, or don’t get help, they run the serious risk of growing up to become pedophiles themselves.

Just like Sandusky.

Because that’s who they are, these predatory monsters, who we fear and hate so much. Sick, hurt, damaged: still they are somebody’s child.

I don’t know how Sandusky got to be a pedophile, but my heart aches for all of the children involved, including the one he used to be.

So many things I don’t know. I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know how to solve this endemic social problem. I don’t know how to keep my children safe at all times everywhere. What I do know is that demonizing Sandusky isn’t the answer. All it does is lead to more cover-ups, more secrecy, more hiding of the parts of us that we don’t like, that scare us. Bring it out into the light. Bring it out into the light.

To be continued.  With some hope, I hope.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2012 3:48 pm

    I have nominated you for Versatile Blogger Award!! Your blog is great! You can check my page for the information.

  2. February 22, 2012 7:01 pm

    You’ve raised an issue that few people seem willing to discuss honestly, and without bias: how to keep our children safe from predators without victimizing and scapegoating people because of hysteria triggered by an accusation. I don’t know the answer -but thanks for opening up the discussion.

  3. February 27, 2012 2:05 pm

    I like what you are saying about bringing the issues out “into the light”…good point.

    • February 27, 2012 5:35 pm

      thanks for commenting. Nice to know folk are out there!

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