This is a story about Roxanne, a fictitious young single mother who thinks she found the man of her dreams. It turns out he is a nightmare–a child sexual predator. But after initial denial, Roxanee trusts her instincts, and protects her daughter from sexual abuse. What if this were the norm post-Penn State?
Fifteen adults at Penn State–15 individual adults, all men–either witnessed directly or had knowledge of rape, sodomy, and assault of children by Jerry Sandusky and either did not act or whose actions were for naught. These include 12 adult men who were in positions of power, some of them members of law enforcement.
In any particular abuse situation there is an abuser, a victim, and (almost always) bystanders. This is true in bullying, street violence, as well as child sexual abuse. One of the most important questions that the Penn State situation, and cases like it, raise is — what is it about the nature of intimate sexual violence that stops so many bystanders from taking action?
Although the civil war in Sierra Leone ended in 2002, women in the country are still facing another deadly front—sexual and gender-based violence. Sexual and gender based violence has continued unflinchingly into the post-war years. Glasgow, head of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said, “We saw rape and sexual violence used as a tool during the war, and now it is morphing into this culture’s society as something that is understood and even accepted.”
Roman Catholic Bishops in Connecticut are fighting a bill aimed at rescinding the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. Yep. You read that right.
Why is it that we “pardon” or overlook some individuals for their crimes? Many others before him have fled their sentences but eventually served their time. So why do some think he’s above the law?
Every time a man assaults a woman with lower social status; a frat boy rapes a sorority girl, an athlete rapes a fan, or a famous musician beats his girlfriend, the excuses are the same.