I am not surprised by the allegations that came out this weekend about long-time Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky. Each day the Heath Evans Foundation
hears stories that evidence the widespread nature of childhood sexual abuse in our country. You can read some of them at our site www.imavictim.com
What I am shocked and upset about is how little attention the story is getting. This investigation has been going on for three years and this is the first we have heard about it? That’s a travesty! An important institution of higher learning buried reports about the abuse and used the excuse of, “It was horseplay?” Despicable and inexcusable.
The most conservative statistics say that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. Google it if you have any trouble believing. You’ll likely find more profound numbers. This is an epidemic that has been quiet for too long!
What amazes me is that as I sit over the weekend and search the major newspapers and television news sites, I find so much about Herman Cain, so much about the Greek government, about the Michael Jackson trial — and so little about the alleged molestation of young boys by an authority figure and the cover-up of his actions by university officials.
My own hometown newspaper, The Palm Beach Post, ran the story on page 6 of the sports section. Papers in my adopted hometowns of New Orleans and Boston similarly missed the boat on making an issue of something that affects the health of our country’s youth.
Spend time this morning online looking at the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Atlanta Journal/Constitution, and Chicago Sun Times and you will find the story if you look for it.
You’ll find it under such stories as a plumber’s sweetheart sewer contract (Chicago); sunny days replaced by rain (Atlanta); diversity on school menus (L.A.); and Berlusconi’s possible resignation (N.Y.). The Philadelphia Inquirer’s online site presents six stories about the topic — but not under their “Today’s Features” section that draws the reader’s eye.
USA Today online does much better. The Penn State story actually makes it into the top three. The Huffington Post places it below the “online fold” — below stories of politics, economy, and the fact that older folks are wealthier than younger folks.
Today I am calling out newsrooms across the country. This is a story much bigger than football.
If you want economics, talk about the financial impact of the addictions and years of therapy that such abuse causes. If you want politics, talk about why so little is done to punish sexual predators. If you want sports, talk about abuse of boys and girls by deviant coaches and parents who turn a blind eye hoping that what they suspect is not true.
With reflection, I liken this epidemic to cancer. I certainly do not want to lessen the importance of a physical disease that afflicts so many, but I do want to make the point that childhood sexual abuse tears apart lives and families in much the same way — yet gets much less attention.
Tomorrow I will be calling out the NCAA, as I examine the way that they major on the minors. I am hoping that this case receives more attention from them than some tattoos at Ohio State.
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