Penn State University — One of the most respected and known universities in the country.
That is until recently. The events that have unfolded in the eyes of the public over the past few months have been heart wrenching, saddening, and unimaginable.
For those of you that don't know, I've called this small community of State College, PA home for more than 10 years. I've made lasting friendships, watched my kids bloom into teenage boys, and built a successful business with the support of those around me.
I did not graduate from PSU, actually I graduated from a college that was a rival, WVU. However, despite my dislike for the university when moving here, I grew to respect it — that is until recent events.
Even now, I can't deny the impact PSU has on research, education, and the student body. Many of my friends work for the university and it is the lifeline of my small community.
When word surfaced of the sexual abuse scandal, our small town stood still. Although the country, and even the world, was full of hate and anger, Happy Valley was full of questions, disbelief, and hurt.
How could something or someone we respected and admired so much, give us such disappointment?
How could a football legend that stood so firmly in the betterment of children, let a child down?
I'll be the first one to tell you that I defended Paterno and wanted more than anything to believe that he did what was necessary, following his chain of command. However, with the events that are unfolding, my support is no longer…
As the Freeh report surfaced this morning, again my community stood still—waiting to hear what many already knew to be true, but couldn't fathom believing.
Again, the world is outraged and ready for heads to roll. I know even writing about this entire situation opens a huge can of worms. However, it is the only way I know how to work through my own emotions…
We can argue what should and shouldn't be done, until the cows come home, but the fact remains that sexual abuse is happening in our country right now, as we sit and argue the facts about this scandal.
Hence, the graphic I posted.
All of the emotion tied to this case, whether it is extreme anger or unexplained sadness, leads to one thing—pain.
We were hurting when the details surfaced months ago and we continue to hurt today. However, the fact is, we can put this unbelievable situation to good use, if we try.
I worked in the mental health community with my social work degree for nine years. I've seen kids and adults who have suffered through all kinds of horrific abuse. I've witnessed how it can completely destroy a life.
What happened at PSU, although on a much, much larger scale, happens all around the world every day—the abuse, the cover up, the devastation.
If this unbearable situation has done any good, it has brought a taboo topic to the forefront. People are talking about it and awareness is at an all time high. So what can we do?
Sure we can continue to be outraged and scream and yell at everyone who doesn't believe what you believe. Sure we can throw hate towards PSU and demand an apology or a stop to the football program. But I ask you, what is that really going to do?
- Don't turn your eyes, when you see something that doesn't feel right
- Educate yourself on the signs of abuse and speak up when you see those signs (it is usually not your imagination)
- Donate money to the organization that need it to help our children.
There is always something you can do! Take action now!
Learn the lessons from the Sandusky child abuse scandal to begin to turn something unspeakable into something stoppable!
If you are being abused or you suspect someone is, here is the National Child Abuse Hotline information.
Please, let's join together, instead of tearing each other apart and find a way to protect our youth!