The Grand Jury file on reports filed against Sandusky in the Penn State Sex abuse scandal illustrates some of the most egregious rationalizing (right up there with the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse of children) in our country. There are some people involved who attempted to do the right thing and according to the report there are those who simply lied. If you want to educate yourself on minimalizing, rationalizing, doing the right thing, doing the right thing but others sabotaging your report, and not doing the right thing, read the report. There are still those who deny/refuse to believe Sandusky did anything wrong. In this country you are not suppose to touch anyone sexually without his permission. In this country if you touch someone underage sexually it is against the law. In this country if you are a mandated reporter you must report to Protective Services, if you have any evidence that an underage person has been touched sexually.
When someone reports an adult (age 60’s) in the shower with a child (age 9-13 in these cases) in a locker-room: that alone is inappropriate! When someone reports an adult in the shower with a child doing sexual acts that is against the law. Read my lips against the law! You do not take a report of anal sex and turn it into “horsing around”. The behavior of those in the administration, who are authorized to provide a safe place for all, who did not do the right thing is egregious. Ask yourself who you are and what would you do? Do you have the courage to take a stand for yourself and to protect others?
One of the heroes in this horrific scandal is Sara Ganim, age 22 at the time, who tackled this story with a vengeance and would not let go until the truth was revealed. It was not the ESPN reporters demanding the truth, but Sara at The Patriot News in Harrisburg, Pa who kept the pressure on. Eventually, in a front-page editorial, the paper called for the resignation of Penn State’s president Graham Spanier and head coach Joe Paterno. Both were forced out of the University the next day. Sara was given the Sidney Award for socially conscious journalism! Kudos to you Sara for your Backbone!
One mother demonstrates a clear understanding of real love. Real love is what we do when we are not afraid, when we are ready to have the difficult conversations, when we do not look for excuses to avoid something that makes us uncomfortable.
This mother noticed her 11-year-old son’s hair was wet! Read that again, she noticed her son’s hair was wet, when he came home from an outing with Sandusky. Her son told her he took a shower with Sandusky. Ok, now we have wet hair and a shower with an adult man (not a report of sexual abuse like some in the administration had reported to them) and she picked up the phone. Unfortunately, she reported it to the University Police who were already on the track of covering it up. However, with a detective she did end up calling and taping two conversations with Sandusky. Most people would not have been able to ask the honest conversations. “Did you hug my son?” “Did your genitals touch my son?” “Did you think of sex when you were hugging my son?” She asked him to never shower with her son again and he refused to agree. She told him he would never see her son again. And let’s look at what happened when she hit him head on with honesty, he was probably the most honest with her. He said, ” I ask for your forgiveness, I was wrong. “
I can guarantee you most people don’t like to be confronted with the truth when it involves actions they are taking that they don’t want you to notice or they don’t want to stop. However, you have to ask yourself everyday, am I going to rationalize this bad behavior away like many in this report or am I going to have the Mother Lion courage of the Mother who noticed wet hair or the commitment to the truth like Sara who continued to knock on hundreds of doors when they wouldn’t open for her.
Not all rationalizing produces such grave consequences, however “one lie makes it easier for the second lie”. Once you start lying you don’t know what you will find. Find a hero who takes stands and stand up for the truth one more time today then you did yesterday! Ask yourself “what would I have done?”
“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, and no regrets! Steve Maraboli
(c) Anne Brown 2014. Permission needed for any form of reproduction.