that good men ( and women) do nothing.
I have started this post something like 5 times in an effort to put into words the disgust and pain I feel having to do with the whole Penn State situation. The gross amounts of negligence and true evil on the part of so many so-called adults in these matters is mind blowing and while a sexual act was involved, the subject is rape and child abuse.
If you have been living under a rock ( and good for you, this stuff make me want to crawl under a rock right next to you!) you might not know of the extensive and ever widening scandal involving Penn State's head Football coach, his subordinate coach and uncounted numbers of other people who covered up, turned a blind eye and willingly let young boys be sexually abused by one sick individual in the name of all-mighty Football. You can Google for more details, since there is no shortage of them out there with each detail more horrific than the last I can assure you.
I want to talk about your children in all of this.. your children, my children . You might think they don't know, you might think you have snapped off the news quick enough or turned down the radio and shielded them from this sick news but I can assure you that they know, or they will know soon enough. If they go to school they might have even heard about it before you did.. the kid grape vine is pretty speedy ( but often misinformed) when it comes to such gruesome stories.
Problem being .. if this is mind boggling in detail to adults how is a child's mind supposed to process this amount of pain and detail. Were the details shared full truth or half embellished?.. who knows and that is why it is now your turn to sit down and talk with your child about this Penn State travesty in words that are real, helpful and hopefully in the end comforting to your child.
In the case of my children I ran into the store (with them being well of age (10&13) to wait in the locked car) and it was a story on NPR. I returned to a very quiet car and knew something was up right off. Usually they have broken into a fight while I picked gallon of milk and I return to shouting and accusations of wrong doing, so the quiet was deafening to say the least. My ear quickly picked up the tail end of the NPR story and it became very clear what all the quite was about and I knew it was time to start talking.
Actually I think the car is a fantastic place for some of life's tougher conversations since the general lack of eye contact gives the kids their own personal space to digest some of the harder details of life and ask questions that they carry deep within. So with that I threw out my first volley- "Hard to understand how someone would hurt kids that way isn't it" At first it was tentative one word replies gauging my response to their response, I move a bit further- "I think sometimes they forget kids are listening and use words that kids might not know, like "sodomy" - "Even some adults don't know what that means" It means.... and yes I told my children what it means I told them the truth, yes the whole truth. The truth that a grown man who was suppose to be there to protect children hurt those boys by turning a sexual act into one of pain and aggression and that many other adults knew about it and did not act.
We talked about what rape meant, how it can happen to boys or girls, men or women and that it was not sex. That sex was a consensual act between two people and rape was a forced sexual act. They asked questions and we talked some more. I drove the very long way home since I was pretty sure that when we pulled in the driveway they would be ready to be done for now. But that is ok.. there are always other car rides and more discussions to have.
For further reading can I suggest you pop over and read a companion post series about picking a therapist for your child and how to know when they need professional intervention ...it is written by my husband and you can find it HERE