Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
You probably heard that Jerry Sandusky was sentenced today to what amounts to a life sentence.
You may have also heard that he still claims that he is innocent – after being convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse.
So after all of the fallout, including upcoming trials for former Penn State administrators, the firing of a legendary football coach, and unprecedented sanctions against the university’s football program (one of the most renowned in the country), Jerry Sandusky essentially suggests that all of these actions were misguided because he didn’t do what everyone has concluded he has done.
Or put another way – the individuals who spoke up about his abuses are lying.
And that leads us to the lasting lesson of the Sandusky scandal – abusers lie. They often paint their victims as liars. They especially like to suggest that kids are not trustworthy reporters of their behavior and that their actions are misunderstood. They like to hide behind a public persona and want you to not only believe that they are being vilified by people in the community and, in this case, the press and the court.
They want you to doubt the truth.
And that’s what we have learned. If a parent gets a signal that something is not right between their child and an adult that is entrusted to them, the parent has to pursue it properly and vigorously. They have to go through the chain of command and not stop until they are completely satisfied that they have learned the truth. Sure, you can’t assume an adult has done something until you uncover more evidence – but the fact is that you shouldn’t assume an adult in a responsible position is inherently incapable of committing a horrendous act just because of their reputation in the community. The days of assuming that kids can’t be trusted to speak up, and that adults should be trusted because of “who they are” are long gone.
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Child abuse, child sex abuse, Health, Jerry Sandusky, Penn State, Sandusky conviction, Sandusky trial | Categories:
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Monday, June 25th, 2012
By now you have heard that Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child abuse and child endangerment. Last November, I wrote about my feelings as a professional, a parent, and a Penn State grad. Since then, not much has changed for me. That said, I think the trial and conviction certainly reinforces a principle I believe we all have to adhere to these days:
Cultivating Informed Trust
I don’t want to be a distrustful parent and harbor suspicions about all the adults entrusted with caring for my child (teachers, coaches, etc). I don’t want to be a helicopter parent and micro manage the time my child spends away from me. But I do think we all have a very real obligation to be involved and informed. We need to establish a respectful dialogue with the adults in our child’s life. We need to let them know that we will want to be informed and keep an eye on our kid. We want them to know that we will, now and then, want to observe what they are doing and how they do it. We also want them to know that we don’t want to indulge our kids, but in the end, we want to make sure that the adults they are around treat them fairly and with respect.
We also want our kids to know that we want to hear about their lives. Although we want them to treat adults with respect and follow rules, we want them to know that they should never do something that seems uncomfortable. In fact, they should never feel uncomfortable, uneasy, coerced or threatened. And they should not only know that they can talk to us – we should openly talk to them and stay informed about their feelings and their experiences. An open line of communication with kids is one of the most powerful ways to help protect them because we can get warning signals of something (or someone) gone awry.
There are lots of other good tips to consider – you can read some here. But for me the overarching idea is informed trust – we have to stay involved and informed with the adults in our kids’ lives, as well as with our kids. That way we can strike a balance and let our kids experience the world as safely as possible – and know that they always can (and should) rely on their parents to support and protect them.
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