Yesterday while I was driving and doing my Monday errands, I heard an ad on the radio for a segment to be aired today about what the victims of Coach Sandusky of Penn State might do to seek treatment and help to deal with the abuse they suffered. It got me thinking, “What about the kids?”
We have heard a lot from the media about child abusers in the last few years from priests to teachers to this latest scandal. As a society, we need to show each other that this behavior will not be tolerated, so these people need the negative media attention they are getting. But what about the kids they affect? When do we show them transform from victims into survivors? When do we point the countless other victims of low profile to no profile cases in the direction of help?
I have long felt that American media lacks balance. This is no different. I have been following a page on Facebook whose administrator is in another country. She is trying to raise awareness about the long-range effects of sexual abuse on people. I count myself lucky to live in a place where people realize how horrifying it is to treat a child in this way. But I don’t think we do enough. If all we do is demonize the perpetrator and don’t offer enough resources to the victims, we have only done half of our job.
The children that Sandusky hurt are going to need a lifetime of support. Your neighbor’s children who you don’t even know are being abused are going to need a lifetime of support. Will you know where to point them when they come to you for help? What if it’s your child? Where will you go? If you, like me and have no idea, we as a society need to do a better job of publicising what resources are available and make sure there is enough to go around.