Penn State Anger

As the news of sex scandal at Penn State continues to come out I’ve found myself incredibly angry and emotional, a little more than I thought necessarily appropriate. I’m incredibly angry at what happened to these innocent children. I’m upset that the career of one of colleges most-respected coaches has to end this way. I’m upset that something this heinous was allowed to happen.

I’m not sure what I think should happen to Joe Paterno. Doesn’t really matter at this point, since he’s already announced his retirement. Should he have called the police or made sure more was done to follow up on the allegations? Probably. But, what if he had and nothing had been done then, then what? Should he have forced the police to do their job? At what point would people have declared that he had done “enough”? Would it even have been possible? It’s hard to say. I just know that it’s incredibly sad that his legacy will be tainted in this way, after all the great stuff he has done for so many young men, for the university, for college football in general. It’s so very sad.

That is in no way meant to diminish what happened to these young men. That is far more tragic than any “injustice” done to Joe Paterno.

Before I continue, I should note that this post will cover some graphic topics. You’ve been warned.

It wasn’t until today that it hit me as to one of the reasons why I’ve been so angry and emotional.

I had an experience similar to the victims in this story when I was around their age. I was never raped or made to perform a sex act on someone, but I was violated by someone I considered a close friend. There was kissing and inappropriate touching, and I’ve never forgotten about this unfortunate incident.

I think over the years I’ve tried to forget that this ever happened. You know, out of sight, out of mind as they say. I’ve never wanted to embrace the victim mentality, to make any sort of excuses for my behavior based on what happened to me, etc. etc.

In fact, I’ve only ever told 3 people in my entire life about this experience. But I felt like now was the time to share, in hopes that something like this can be prevented in the future.

While I cannot fathom the pain, etc. that these boys (now young men) have and will continue to go through, I can relate, perhaps better than some.

As I was growing up this incident really affected me, even when I didn’t realize it. Sometimes you wonder if you are somehow complicit in the act. “Why didn’t I fight it off more, if I knew something was wrong?”. “Why did I let this happen?” The questions go on and on. There were times when I wondered if I was perhaps gay, since the incident happened with another male. I’ve had to live with the fact that my first kiss experience happened in such a tragic way.

Probably worse than the effect this has had on me is knowing that similar things happened to other people at the hands of this person, and if I had brought more attention to what happened to me, they may have been prevented. It’s incredibly painful to think about that. I know that you can’t live your life in regret, but to know that it might┬áhave made a difference is a hard pill to swallow.

My hope in telling my story is that it helps prevent a tragedy like this from happening to someone else. Many times we’re told to watch for signs of kids being abused, but what if there are no signs? I don’t even know what all the signs are myself, but I’m fairly certain I haven’t exhibited such signs.

My advice is to be there for your kid or for kids that come and talk to you. Really listen to them and try to read between the lines when possible.

Also, if you’ve experienced abuse, please tell someone you trust that will help you. I know that it’s incredibly painful and awkward, but if it can prevent that kind of pain for someone else, it is completely worth it.

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