The One Good Thing About the Jerry Sandusky Scandal

jerry sanduskyIt's incredibly difficult to look at the Penn State Scandal as anything but a tragic tale of innocence lost and lives shattered. How could any good possibly come of this dark and twisted mess? If you asked me that yesterday, I would have said that nothing good could come from the years of pain Jerry Sandusky caused.

But today I have a different answer.

Over the past couple of weeks, attorneys across the country have been reporting a rise in phone calls from abuse victims; specifically, victims who've kept what happened to them a secret for years, even decades. Victims who are finally allowing themselves to begin to hope in the possibility of their abusers being caught.

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As attorney Mitchell Garabedian explains it:

What happened at Penn State is further validation, validation that the victim did nothing wrong, the victim should not feel guilty, the victim should not feel ashamed, the victim should not feel alone.

An undeniably good thing, I would have to say. A true illustration of taking a positive from a negative.

Apparently the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic church didn't have the same effect when it made headlines. Garabedian thinks that's because there were so few cases of church officials facing any real repercussions for what they did -- in the majority of cases, priests were simply transferred to another parish or dioceses when rumors began to swirl. But Joe Paterno has already been fired, and two other Penn State administrators have been indicted for perjury. The future of Jerry Sandusky himself is unclear, but I think it's safe to say the vast majority of the population thinks he's guilty.

So the victims who are coming forward now probably feel, for the first time ever, that the pain and effort involved in telling their stories won't be in vain. And whether their testimonies lead to jail sentences for their abusers or monetary damages awarded or just a long overdue sense of vindication, I hope to God their bravery is rewarded.

Do you know anyone who's kept their abusive past a secret for too long? Will you show them this story?

 

Photo via Pennsylvania Attorney General

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