Many of you may have received the PAVE Action Alert about the Penn State sexual assault scandal involving a former coach. Many more of you may have heard about the story recently in the news, but how many of us have responded with action to prevent and stop this violence from taking place and going unreported?
Jerry Sandusky, the former football defensive coordinator at Penn State, was charged with several counts of various offenses including sexual assault all involving young men. The Associated Press article, ‘Penn State Ex-Coach Charged in Sexual Abuse Case,’ reported the following:
Sandusky, who worked with at-risk children through his Second Mile organization, was charged with seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; eight counts of corruption of minors, eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, seven counts of indecent assault and other offenses. A preliminary hearing for Sandusky is scheduled for Wednesday.
This article also reported that Tim Curley, the athletic director at Penn State , had lied in his testimony to knowing of Sandusky’s actions according to the grand jury report. Despite these allegations Curley is not being held liable along with other football officials accused of knowing about Sandusky’s assaults by the university. It seemed the university was continuing its Division I football as if nothing unsettling had happened. However, the growing criticism from this scandal did result in the firing of Joe Paterno, the head football coach at Penn State, and Penn State president Graham Spanier. Other than this though, the university has not any other taken action involving other football officials.
A troubling follow up story from the Associated Press reported that John Matko, an alumni of Penn State, received a negative reaction from his protest at the Penn State football game last Saturday. Another article did report that attendees of the football game ‘showed their symbolic support for victims of child abuse’ by buying shirts and donating money to child abuse prevention organizations.
I feel like the university took the least amount of action necessary to avoid an uproar from its students, employees, alumni, and the general public. If this is where the action stops in response to this violence then it is simply not enough. This is something we need to be talking about. Incidents such as these cannot be covered for their shock value and then forgotten when the media moves on to another story. We have to look at what was going on that would allow something like this to take place.
I want university officials along with the media to take responsibility to explore and talk about the issue of sexual violence; especially in that men and women, and boys and girls are at risk.
How can we move forward and turn this into an opportunity to raise awareness, promote bystander efforts, and talk about why there should be zero tolerance for perpetrators of sexual violence?