Out of 7.5 million reported cases of child abuse and neglect, 65,000 are sexually abused. The number is too large to be accepted and too small to be accurate. Each scandal involving a person of power reveals how children who have been raped or molested remain silent for years.
Many cases go unreported for the lifetime of the victim. Matthew, the adopted son of Sandusky, was molested and he didn’t tell until much later after his adoptive father’s trial and conviction.
Penn State reached its final settlement and is still in the process of recovery after the sexual abuse scandal took place with their assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.
Ten boys were molested by Sandusky’s care, and over 20 people were aware on some level as to what was happening to him. It’s suspected that even his wife was aware of his pedophilia.
The Sandusky case proves how people in a child’s life can know and not report, even become accomplices of silence.
His wife may have been aware of what was happening to him as well. She knew that he often showered with their adopted son, and rather than stop it or question it, we are left to assume she remained silent.
Later, Matthew, Sandusky’s adopted son tells the world how he was left to assume that no one would have done anything to help him. Imagine the pain and suffering each of these young boys felt when they were walked in on by an adult who could have saved them. But, instead, that adult turned and walked away.
We know that children often blame themselves first for what happens in their lives, and this isn’t limited to sexual abuse victims. When parents divorce, a child often wonders if they might have done something to cause the family’s unhappiness. When children are bullied in school, they think that the reason is some flaw in themselves.
The problem with silence is making progress among sexual abuse victims, but now it’s the turn of those who witness what’s happening around them, the wives, the friends, the co-workers to speak up and say something is terribly wrong.