We don't need to go into more detail as to the events with the Jerry Sandusky case, as the nation was watching when he was arrested, tried and convicted and then ultimately sentenced for his actions. The world was up in arms when they heard that a well known coach was secretly touching and having sex with boys with whom he had supposedly "mentored" and helped along the way. People were repulsed, yet fascinated by the victims accounts and we were horrified that a person who witnessed these events did not either run in the shower and beat the crap out of him, or run directly to the police to report it.
There were weeks on end when we had talking heads (including myself) discuss pedophiles, victims, sexual acts, disclosures, charities, single moms, and troubled youth. The media never wanted us to hear the "real details" because the language was going to be graphic, and not suitable for television. This is what I find so deplorable, if you can't discuss it while its actually going on, when is the time? Graphic? no kidding. That's what sex crimes are, graphic, dirty, secretive, and discreet. They are not sexy, romantic, and out in the open.
This case was textbook pedophilia. Gifts, games, secrets, horseplay, and kids looking for a father figure. Instead of running away and burying our heads in the sand, we should be discussing what is to be learned from this case. Its almost hard to believe that educators, parents, and the media via television, and print would not be jumping on the bandwagon to promote education about sexual abuse and sex crimes. It's disheartening to know that people will encourage prosecutions of these vicious predators, yet are unwilling to start at square one, which is teaching kids about certain behaviors, and what to do if they ever found themselves in a situation like this.
This begs the question that I asked so frequently, "why are we so afraid to talk"? Why is it that we can have a mob mentality when it comes to putting this person away, and yet we fail to see that education, and knowledge could be power against someone like this?
Why don't parents realize that teaching can be saving? We educate our kids in school and and at various outside school activities.. We teach them how to speak foreign languages, how to spell, how to do math, how to dissect frogs and how to log on to the latest technology. Why has it become so difficult to teach kids about certain behaviors and their private parts? The reason is simple, its too uncomfortable, too delicate, too difficult. What a shame that is on today's society. We have decided that rather than talk about something that is hard, we will choose to ignore it. We would much rather watch these other victims have to disclose what happened to them and go to court rather than have a discussion with our child about safety.
We have become an "after the fact" society. I have come to find out that we like to figure out what to do after something has gone wrong, as in this case when people were shouting afterwards "we need to teach our children." The responsibility of teaching kids is shared by all. Its parents, teachers, grandparents, basically anyone that could have an influence on your kids. Why isn't the takeaway from this case that sexual abuse needs to be at the forefront of education. We are always trying to evolve with society. We always need to "keep up."
Unfortunately, this is something that we need to "keep up" with. We can't turn our backs and say that pedophilia is not an "epidemic." The fact is it is, and if you are in denial, then you are only hurting your own kids. I am not saying that we have to be bombarded with it, but certainly sex crimes have become part of our vernacular and we have to find a way to deal with it. Don't let the "fear" take over, encourage your schools to make "protection of your privates" part of the curriculum. I know that people will say "there's no money for it" well maybe it's time to make it a priority.
There are ways to incorporate this without spending a fortune, its called "talking and reading." Maybe it's time for all the "mommy bloggers", and "parenting websites" to not only talk about where the "best places are to have a party' but to include educational material about subjects like this. It may not be "stylish" but its a necessity. It may be uncomfortable, but its a reality.
We need to put our money where are mouth is, to stop talking like we are so bothered by pedophilia and do something that will decrease the record number of cases that we have in today's society. Hopefully the disgrace of Sandusky will open the lines of communication about a tough subject. Don't let it just be a memory, use it as a teaching tool.
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