Speaking Point: With the notoriety of the Sandusky Sexual Abuse case, and the ongoing criticism of (the late) Joe Paterno and his staff's lack of "getting involved" and stopping the alleged abuse from continuing, it brings up the question for all of us..."What would we have done?"
The overwhelming and obvious answer is..."Of course, take charge immediately and definitively!
But, truth be told, we really don't know what we would do in that situation...only what we hope we would do.
According to LiveScience.com, 60% of sexual assaults are NOT reported to the authorities!
1 in 4 (25%) girls are sexually abused by the age of 18.
1 in 6 (17%) boys are also sexually abused by the age of 18.
So....The coaching staff at Penn State University aren't the only a
Speaking Point: According to LiveScience.com, 60% of sexual assaults are NOT reported to the authorities! 1 in 4 (25%) girls are sexually abused by the age of 18. 1 in 6 (17%) boys are also sexually abused by the age of 18. So....The coaching staff at Penn State University aren't the only adults to look the other way. Apparently, it is more usual than not!
Speaking Point: The difficulty with trying to understand this very sad and complicated issue is the judgment we all feel about the adults who don't protect the children from these tragic, life altering experiences. In order to truly understand it, we have to try and not judge it.
Speaking Point: Did you know that 70% of teen victims of sexual abuse know their abuser and in 90% of these cases, the family knows and trusts the perpetrator, as well? This gives us a small insight into a partial explanation for how anyone could look the other way when they suspect that sexual abuse is going on.
Speaking Point: This gives us a small insight into a partial explanation for how anyone could look the other way when they suspect that sexual abuse is going on. You see a trusted member of the family or a trusted member of the community is the last person you would think is hurting a child. After all, that’s why they are the "trusted" people we choose in our lives. I do believe that it’s in the experience itself of being confided in that truly explains why we may have the propensity to look the other way.
Speaking Point: For years, we have heard about young girls going to their mothers and confiding the information of the abuse, and the mother denying it to be true, only to blame the child. How could this be? How could a parent blame their own child? Because of FEAR!!!! The fear of this being true is so great for the adult hearing it, that their initial reaction is to dismiss it, and see if it would/could go away! NO ONE WANTS TO STEP INTO THE MIDDLE OF SOMETHING SO MESSY! Messy if it isn’t true and messier if it is!
Speaking Point: Adults lose sight of the victim, the courage it took to confide in you and the pain and affects the abuse it may have caused the child. Adults focus on how this is going to turn their world/ everyone's world upside down! That’s the true fear and the first instinct...not necessarily to protect the child, but to protect the balance of life as they know it.
Speaking Point: According to the LiveScience.com study, it is rare that sexual abuse is eye witnessed, as it was in the Sandusky case. So these are truly just words being spoken and as sad as this sounds, just the words may be not be enough to muster the courage to step over your own fear of the situation. I suspect this intense fear is what happened to Joe Paterno and his staff. The fear that its true, the fear that its untrue, the fear of what it will do to his program, the fear of what it will do to the University, and the fear of living with the shear shame of this happening while being entrusted with other parents’ children.
Speaking Point: So, we may never really know how we would truly handle such a situation if a child came to us, until it actually happens. (And I pray to God it never does!) But if it does...if a child comes to you or one of your staff or if a family member brings it to your attention, take a huge breath, feel your intense fear, and then....
Speaking Point: Summons your courage to think beyond yourself. Remember the fear that the victim felt every time their perpetrator approached them. Frankly, what you're feeling pales in comparison!