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Emerald1943 On November - 13 - 2011
NIH Child_sexual_abuse disorders graph

It Lasts a Lifetime!


The airwaves have been deluged this past week with the child sexual abuse scandal that has erupted at Pennsylvania State University. I watched Chris Hayes’ new weekend talk show this morning on this issue, but rather than railing about the salacious details of the story, it was an intelligent discussion about the wider implications of the culture of protectiveness that sports programs enjoy in this country.

I should preface these comments by stating that the sexual abuse of the children by a coach at Penn State University is alleged and not yet proven in a court of law. That being said, it is also important to acknowledge that grand jury testimony has been made public, including eye-witness accounts, that leaves little doubt about the guilt of the individual in this case.

Large universities in this country make an immense amount of money on their sports programs. Protecting this revenue stream is apparently much more important to some than doing the “right thing”, whether it involves covering up pay-offs to athletes, altering grades for their stars, failure to censor rule-breaking behaviors by the student athletes, or now apparent sexual abuse by those who are entrusted to work with young men and boys in these settings. The discussion centered around the wider moral implications of putting the money before the welfare of our children.

In the case of Penn State, clearly the protection of their football program took precedence over that of the children who were involved. Instead of calling law enforcement when the abuse was discovered so many years ago, the damning information about the coach was passed up the chain of command to administrators with the end result being that nothing was done to stop the alleged abuser. He was allowed to continue working at the university and allowed to continue to oversee a charity that he established to work with disadvantaged youth, a convenient way of gaining access to his victims. There is no question that a cover-up existed at the highest levels in the school, either from a desire to protect the reputation of the school or from a misguided desire to protect the individual because of friendship.

There is also no question that college sports are important to these schools. Millions of dollars flow into the schools that provide scholarships and grand facilities for the students. Perhaps that is not a bad thing overall. What we are left to face is the moral failings of men who could have stopped this abuser a very long time ago. Why would someone place more importance on the “good name” of the school rather than on the safety of the children? It is being described as “institutional blindness”. I would call it “institutional and individual moral failure”. When head coaches and administrators cover up this kind of behavior by anyone on their staff, it cannot be called anything else.

The end result for Penn State and its administrators and coaches is to be determined in the courts. Obviously, the trial for the alleged offender will be front page news for a long time to come. But in trying to protect the school and the revenue, what these coaches and administrators have done is to hurt their school’s reputation much more severely than any disclosure would have ever done at the time. The legacy of a much-storied coach and sports program has been irrevocably damaged. The damage done not only includes those who were directly involved, most importantly the children, but the futures of the athletes in this program have also been tainted by those who failed so miserably. The long-term implications of shattered young lives, lost jobs, and lost opportunities for so many people cannot be measured. As we find out more details of the story, the circle of victims grows wider.

Last night, a victim of child sexual abuse appeared on a TV talk show. This brave young man has an established an organization to support victims and to raise awareness of this problem in our society. Although he is now grown, the anger that he still holds is apparent. His life has been irrevocably changed by a man that he trusted and respected. He expressed the fear that he had at the time, thinking that he was completely alone and frightened to face his abuser, thinking that he would not be believed. Not only was he violated physically. He had to deal with a deep sense of betrayal by those that he trusted to nurture and protect him from harm. Children are not able, either physically to stop the abuse, or psychologically equipped to deal with the feelings that must inevitably come from enduring an ordeal like sexual abuse.

This story should open up a much wider discussion in this country. We have seen so many chapters in the past years, involving some of the most trusted people in our society, the priests of our churches. The same institutional and individual moral failures were seen with the Catholic Church’s cover-up of so many cases, going back for many years. What we should discuss now is why there is hesitancy to report abuse of children to the proper law enforcement either by individuals or by institutions. We need to take a hard look at ourselves to see why the laws on the books requiring mandatory reporting of child abuse are not enforced. We should be honest about our hesitancy to “get involved”. We also need to look at how children can be sheltered and believed when they make a charge of sexual abuse. For instance, should a child be required to face his abuser in court? I can only imagine that this would be terrifying for a young child to be required to sit in a courtroom in close proximity to the person who abused him. The process of bringing a sexual predator to justice should not be as traumatic to the child as the assault itself.

I would suggest that we also need a in-depth examination of the causes of sexual abuse of children in our society as a whole. What possesses a grown man to go down this dark road of exploiting children for sexual gratification? What is it in our society that brings out this kind of aberrant behavior by so many? Are there more cases of child sexual exploitation, or is the media just bringing it to the forefront more often? The same kind of questions should be explored about sexual harassment of women, a subject that has also been flooding the airwaves recently with charges by a number of women against a presidential candidate.

There are no ready answers, and the mirror with which we must view ourselves and our culture is not necessarily kind. We may see things that we do not want to see. Nevertheless, we must look.

Today, the New York Times has published an article about the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse in children. I would encourage everyone who has contact with any children to read this article and familiarize yourself with these sometimes subtle indications that “something is wrong”. You may be able to save an innocent child from a lifetime of emotional pain that results from this scourge. When it comes to our precious children, we cannot be too vigilant!


Written by Emerald1943

Born and bred a Southern lady. Degree in nursing and 20 years of classical piano. Two grown children and two gorgeous grandkids. Also two Shih Tzu doggies, the light of my life! Buddhist. A life-long card-carrying, flaming, hard-core, opinionated, liberal/progressive Democrat...and proud of it! Favorite quotation: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." Sinclair Lewis

96 Responses so far.

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  1. KQuark says:

    Besides all those involved getting proper justice, all we should care about is the victims. They MUST get the proper help and treatment. The horror they all experienced is beyond imagination.

    If I hear one more apologist for anyone involved in this case I’m going to scream.

    The moral failure indeed started at the point of attack to use a football analogy. In the case of McQueary he should have done something to stop Sandusky when he say him perpetrating that heinous act on the 10 year old boy.

    I thought Andrew Sullivan’s response to one apologist who said McQueary did nothing because Sandusky was like his “uncle” and going to Paterno was like going to his “father” first, said it best.

    Yes it fucking does. If you see anyone -- even your own father -- raping a ten year old in the showers, the first thing you do is stop it yourself. You don’t even call the cops right away. You clock the rapist in the head or drag the boy out of his clutches. I’m so sick of these excuses for the inexcusable. McQueary is as depraved as all the others who stood by and did nothing.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      KQ, I’m sorry that I have not replied to your comment before now. You are absolutely spot on!

      Today, clips of the phone interview with Bob Hosta last night have been played where Sandusky begins to spin his story. It has to be one of the most creepy things I’ve ever heard. They have also reported an email from McQueary to his friends saying that the entire story is not out yet, that he did stop the attack that he walked in on.

      I’m sure we will hear a lot more of it, but I think most people will respond to it like I do…I just get angrier that they did nothing when they found out they had a predator in their midst!

  2. Khirad says:

    I don’t know if anyone else caught this, but my lord this man is a survivor.

    ‘SNL’s’ Darrell Hammond Reveals Cutting, Abuse

    I wish more men would open up about this stuff. I, forgive me women, get a little sick of only hearing only about women that are still silent.

    The wall of silence of male abuse survivors is only beginning to be cracked open, partly due to the massive Catholic sex abuse scandal, and now this latest scandal.

    Both women and men survivors have been discouraged from sharing their stories due to cultural taboos, but those taboos and internalization of the experiences are quite different.

    One thing that isn’t different is the suffering and long-term mental health and self-destructive coping mechanisms later in life.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Khirad, as others have said in various ways, one of the most heartbreaking consequences for the victim of child abuse (and this includes beatings and other forms) is how he automatically blames himself, and not the depraved adult.

      I believe we are all hard-wired for justice and that it’s one of our most cherished desires and faiths. The universe must make sense and be just. We don’t begin to accept chaos until we are older, and some of us not even then. A child, in his primal need for justice and fairness has to believe in a just universe. So, when he or she is abused, it must be their fault--otherwise, the parents are bad, and that is unthinkable to little ones. Children cannot grasp that the world contains evil in their parents or even in other respected adults; to them that doesn’t make sense and is terrifying. They then carry that blame perhaps their whole lives, clinging to their need for a just world. In a sense, they would rather be guilty than accept injustice. It’s psychically easier than the alternative reality.

      It is said that sexual abuse takes away the victim’s childhood. That sounds true, but as I think of it, in one way it keeps a person in a lifelong childhood: They may never outgrow the child-like belief that the universe is all good and that therefore they must be bad.

      • Khirad says:

        Or if not blaming oneself, well it’s a form of it, not wanting to be a burden by telling anyone (parents in my case).

        It’s crazy.

        • SallyT says:

          I’m sorry Khirad, I do understand. My story may be approved to be posted and you will know I mean that. Also, when you are young you don’t know how to explain it because you don’t understand or the words to use. Finding someone to tell is so hard. And, sometimes they feel to uncomfortable to listen. But, I will, if you need me.

          • Khirad says:

            Thanks, but no worries. I’ve been through years of therapy, and it will always be with me, but it’s definitely behind me. I’m no longer angry, I no longer self-harm, etc.

    • kesmarn says:

      Ouch, that Darrell Hammonds article was painful just to read, Khirad. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to live through that.

      At the very end, he mentions this: “I don’t know anything about you, but I think it’s completely barbaric to shake hands with and seek help from the person who caused your injury. That will make you sick.”

      I have often thought about this. “They” say that for the victim to forgive the abuser is a the first step on the road to healing. I wonder. Even if the abuser has never accepted responsibility or asked forgiveness? Really?

      Sometimes I think the best that can be managed is to leave the “forgiving” part to a higher power and simply move on. Without the abuser being in any part of your life.

      If there’s plea for reconciliation from the abuser, that may be another story. If not — I say erasure is about as far as any reasonable person can be asked to go. Forgiveness is earned.

      • Khirad says:

        He’s been doing the rounds, but he cries every time he talks about his father. And it’s pretty genuine. Either that or he’s the best actor ever.

        I think like Cher said before, he says his father at least tried later in his life. And in such a case forgiveness is a different matter.

        But when his mother died, he didn’t feel a thing. And if true, I think that’s the healthiest thing he could have felt.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Kes, I’m with you. The best I’ve been able to accomplish (and thank God I never had anything so terrible to forgive) is to say I forgive, but will not forget. It’s a subtle difference and only really works on things like a friend’s betrayal, or some such transgression. It infers that I can let something pass and continue the relationship but let’s be honest--I cannot forget it and will be wary. Of course, all of that depends on being asked for forgiveness by the guilty party.

        (As an aside, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, on the Jewish Day of Atonement, Jews cannot ask God for forgiveness for something bad they have done to another person. Forgiveness is not God’s to give in that case. Only the victim can forgive. There are a few rules about that, but that’s another story.)

        I also think that in terms of “moving on,” there is a presumption that the sexual abuse is not a life-long affliction. This is a false idea; victims of sexual abuse should be seen the same way we would someone paralyzed by an auto accident. Even that is more “forgivable” as it was an accident.

      • In many cases, there is no such thing as “closure.” I actually hate that word. Just more PC lingo that helps blurr truth and reality. kes, I am not referring to anything you wrote above, but your comment just got me thinking about the word “closure.”

        • kesmarn says:

          KT, me too! I can’t stand the word “closure.” When is anything in life permanently “closed” (this side of the “casket closure”)?

          I’m not implying that perpetual brooding is the answer, either, of course. But unless there’s amnesia involved, how does anyone “un-happen” an event?

          • Exactly. One can learn to manage certain mental traumas such as PTSD, or very painful and debilitating memories, but they never go away completely. It oftentimes takes years of counseling therapy and medication to “manage,” such trauma. But in the end, those memories will always be there. What changes is our ability to handle such memories.

          • SallyT says:

            KT and Kes, I live with and love someone that is a victim of sexual and physical abuse. Not by the same abuser but 3 in particular. They do not forget, they do have flashbacks, it does interfere in their courses of life, and it is very, very, very, very, hard to understand the pain. You just want to say, “Forget it. It is over. They will never hurt you again. I love you, isn’t that enough? To hell with your mother! I can cook a damn turkey for us! You are a wonderful person and so many love you and depend on you. Just get over it!” But, they can’t. You may be watching a movie or driving along and whoooops, there it is. Haunting them. You have to take a deep breath and let them talk it out again. And, they do and you just keep on loving them and loving them. Occasionally, you have to lock yourself in the closet and scream but, oh hell, that was how their life was………..okay, we can do this. You leave that closet hating those assholes the same as he but yours is temperally. You can talk to professionals, like he, but they only go as long as your insurance benefits. So, as of today, I just keep on loving, hugging, kissing, and listening. Tomorrow is another day, Scarlet.

            • SallyT says:

              Ahhh, Em, thank you. He puts up with alot, too, from me and my illness. How’s that Bette Midler song go….”You got to have friends to make that day last long…….” KT, can you find that one?

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Sally, what a beautiful comment! Kudos to you for your insight and calm determination to make love the issue in this person’s life!

            • kesmarn says:

              Sally, I once knew a very well-respected pastor whose wife beat their children. He did absolutely nothing to stop her or get her help. I can’t tell you how much I disliked that man!!

            • SallyT says:

              Thank you, Kes, and he tells me that everyday. This PennState matter has openned old scares right now for him. We will get beyond it. To clear something, mother was not the sexual abuser or the physical. She turned a blind eye and didn’t help. I think she is the worst of them all.

            • kesmarn says:

              Sally, that “someone” is fortunate to have a loving “turkey-cooker” in his life!

  3. Chernynkaya says:

    Hey, Em--look what you started. Good work, girl!

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Cher, it’s all my fault! I know!! :-)

      I absolutely adore the Planet and the opportunity I have here to stir up sh*t! It’s the high spot of my day!

      Seriously, thank you so much for your kind words and for your most astute observations. You make me think…and I love it! Have a good night’s rest and we’ll take up our task tomorrow!

    • SallyT says:

      Em knows how to rally the troops! Gets us thinking. Gives us some wise thoughts while thinking of others.

  4. foodchain says:

    Em, Thank you for posting this. It is a far more crushing and difficult subject than most people can discuss. Many more people have been abused than we think and we all know more people than we understand who have been abused but not spoken.

    I am struck with so many thoughts but tonight the 99% stands out to me in that it’s always a very small minority who perpetrate pain on others. The students at Penn State were mad because they felt that the system was abusing them--right or wrong, their first reaction was that a very big system took their coach. Not different than OWS, but much harder to see. Herman Cain can’t be seen at all. Those women can’t beat the system either. The OWS can’t beat the system. Every where we turn, the system seems to benefit a corrupt and maligned group that is above the law, above the news, and beyond our control.

    The numbing, the defeat, the small victories are never part of our vernacular. Football is, financial success is, happy valley is. Everything else is one story at a time. The Americana that we all love is universal; the pain is one small story at a time.

    As I watch so many glaze over at this Penn State event-- sympathies and outrageous anger of course--we are not prepared mentally look into these mirrors. I don’t know just when we will. That we can be angry at this and not every other rape, abuse, mutilation, murder just makes me more angry.

    We are mad because it was a coach!! What the Fuck if it wasn’t a coach?

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Food, I’m sorry that I haven’t had a chance to respond to your most excellent comment before now. I’ve been involved in a “three-way” with Cher and Kes tonight that has digressed somewhat but is still relevant to the subject.

      This situation at Penn State is probably one of the most painful issues that Americans must face. We can no longer remain walled off in our insensitive little cocoons and pretend that this scourge does not exist in our own “Happy Valley”. This scandal has ripped off the scab that has formed since the abuses of the Catholic Church first came to light. Ready or not, we must look, and probe, and ask, and answer. What kind of society do we live in? What kind of society do we WANT to live in?

      The discussion tonight evolved into a somewhat political vein, as most discussions seem to do here at the Planet. I do believe that politics is at the root of it. In the case at Penn State, it was the politics of the protection of a sacred cow and the revenue stream it produced. It is, in the end, all about the money.

      The OWS has also ripped the scab off so many issues that we must face. We see the almighty dollar ruling and ruining our lives. We see our leaders bought and sold by the rich to protect their wealth at the expense of the rest of us. We, the middle class, have been raped too. We’ve lost our homes, our jobs, our retirement, our security, all so that the power of the monied class can prevail and so the game can go on. I could probably produce analogies all night. We will have to face these issues…do we want a country where the poor face intolerance and ridicule for their poverty? Do we want a country where women are abused in the work place without recourse? Do we want a society that allows the cover-up of the crimes of a few at the expense of the many? It seems to me that every aspect of our society is now under fire. That mirror is going to show us things we might not want to see.

      Suffice it to say, your comments were spot on, and I appreciate your perspective.

  5. Chernynkaya says:

    Wow, I just read an amazing essay about Penn:

    I’m 31, an Iraq war veteran, a Penn State graduate, a Catholic, a native of State College, acquaintance of Jerry Sandusky’s, and a product of his Second Mile foundation.
    One thing I know for certain: A leader must emerge from Happy Valley to tie our community together again, and it won’t come from our parents’ generation.

    They have failed us, over and over and over again.

    I speak not specifically of our parents — I have two loving ones — but of the public leaders our parents’ generation has produced. With the demise of my own community’s two most revered leaders, Sandusky and Joe Paterno, I have decided to continue to respect my elders, but to politely tell them, “Out of my way.”

    They have had their time to lead. Time’s up. I’m tired of waiting for them to live up to obligations.

    Think of the world our parents’ generation inherited. They inherited a country of boundless economic prosperity and the highest admiration overseas, produced by the hands of their mothers and fathers. They were safe. For most, they were endowed opportunities to succeed, to prosper, and build on their parents’ work.

    For those of us in our 20s and early 30s, this is not the world we are inheriting.

    The article is worth the whole read, and I really hear what this young man is saying. I think the same applies to the OWS movement. It is by no means merely a youth movement--I have seen many my age and older involved too. But it was stated and peopled by mostly the young. This explains why they are resistant to listening to our advice.

    • cher, thanks for posting this. I think when younger people talk about our generation and how they feel disappointed, they either forget or haven’t considered that not all people from our generation wanted change and far too many stood against progress. Our generation had it’s share of hard core right wingers and the “America..love it or leave it,” types. We had our share of die-hard “patriots,” and war mongers. We had our share of racists (probably more then than now), bigots, haters and whacko religious types.
      We were the “counter-culture,” who separated ourselves from the establishment as much as we practically could, but that establishment would not go away and fought hard against us. One big reason the counter-culture failed was because we were naive and set our goals too high, impossibly high. But we weren’t a total failure. We planted the seeds of civil rights, women’s rights, pacifism, non-conformance, a more free spirited approach to life.
      Yes, many of our generation gave up and re-joined the establishment. Yes, we enjoyed better economic times, but the old, corrupt establishment existed, nearly as much as it does today.
      The problems we faced and the problems that exist today are really never-ending. The best we or any other progressive thinking people can do is make incremental change. We will always be stuck with greedy people, bigots, racists, religious whackos, perverts, child molesters……etc. Decades and decades will pass before we evolve farther away from our animal instincts and primal urges.

      • SallyT says:

        KT, you said that very well and covered it. This young man is 31, so, I don’t think it is just my generation he is talking about. I don’t know the age of his parents and therefore not their particular youthful generation. We have our “hippie” time, then there was the “we” generation, and generation “X”. Wasn’t just my time he is addressing. Like I said earlier, you have to blame the prior because your time hasn’t gone from now to prior yet. As, you said, many things just carry on to the next. And, we can just hope that the next can get us further along.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        KT, I agree! Well said. I may be wrong, but it seemed to me that Mr. Day was really indicting the Right. I wish he’s spelled that out unambiguously, but as I read what he’s angry about, those are all RW policies and actions.

        • cher, no you are correct. I mistakingly thought he was talking about our generation, the boomers. But being 31 would mean he was born in 1980 and his parents were not of the boomer generation. They may have been at the very tail end of the boomer generation, what I sarcastically refer to as the MTV generation. So upon reconsidering what Mr. Day wrote, I see that he wasn’t referring to “the counter-culture,” at all.
          Mr. Day also said that the program that he was in helped to “make him a man.” I have a problem with statements like that and those that seek to instill in young men their “version,” of what a “man,” is supposed to be. It seems to me that their version is one of a more machismo type than one that would infer something broader and more spiritual. My father was that type who was always trying to teach me what it meant to be a “man.” I know he meant well, and surely thought it was his responsibility to teach me such things. But his version was the “John Wayne,” and military version. Which, in reality, is more fable than truth. I am just glad that Mr. Day didn’t get his head blown off trying to prove his masculinity.

          • SallyT says:

            Kt, I must have been writing my comment above as you were yours. I also pointed out that he was 31 and probably not just refering to “my” generation alone. Also he said:

            Instead of Sandusky’s care, I was sent to a group of adults, many of whom were in their 20s. They took me from a C-student to the University of Chicago, where I’m a master’s student now. They took the football team’s waterboy and made a 101st Airborne Division soldier.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Cher, I read the entire article and the young man brings up some points that are painful to think about.

      However, I believe he is confusing an entire generation with the Republican Party and the uber-rich that they coddle. He begins his critique with GWB after 9/11, telling the country to “go shopping”, a remark from the Village Idiot that many of us were appalled to hear. This is not the fault of a generation, but one of pure politics that has at its core the intent to line the pockets of the already well-heeled. He goes on with the mention of the disastrous tax cuts…again Republican Party politics, not something to be blamed on an entire generation.

      Were I to have the chance, I would remind the author that Bush was NOT elected but was “enthroned” by five ultra-conservative Republicans who sit on the bench, again not the fault of an entire generation whose majority actually voted for the other guy. Bush’s war was conceived by the hawks for the benefit of Big Oil and to line the pockets of the boys in the military-industrial complex. Virtually every complaint he makes points to the disastrous politics of the right-wing from a young man’s POV that he seems to have only just now discovered.

      Mr. Day’s remarks show his anger and his acute disappointment with those he trusted. I can understand…this is a part of the grief process when one loses something. But he is angry at the wrong people, an entire generation of hard-working Americans who have paid their dues and been hurt badly by these same politicians and their wealthy benefactors who rule the roost.

      Thanks for posting this article. It is an exceptional piece.

      • Very well said Em. I took his grievances as meaning our generation, the boomers. The counter-culture and all we tried to accomplish. But you make a great point about Mr. Day’s complaints starting with the post 9/11 bush administration.

      • SallyT says:

        Em, I think he knows it was the Republs he is talking about but he also thinks we Dems haven’t done anything about it. Now, I don’t necessary agree with him but I am just taking a minute to see if from his thoughts. He blames Congress/Washington and that is both parties. He saw the “Tea Party” take to the streets but not us old guys from the other side. Now they have taken it to the street, as he said: he continues to respect his elders but “Out of my way.” Times up and he is tried of waiting for us to live up to our obligations. Well, young man, so am I. I am pulling for you. He thinks we are willing to accept it as it is and they are the ones that aren’t going to. They see the wrong that has been done, YEAH! They know there needs to be changes in our system, YEAH! They don’t see good in the public leaders we have produced, well, looking at the Repubs debates, can you blame him? We once stood up to the establishment and yes it wasn’t everybody in the establishment that was bad. But, you have to take the establishment as a whole in addressing it. You are right, we did some great things but we retired to early. I am getting “out of their way” because from all I have heard, they maybe upset with my generation but I never heard them say they won’t be there to take care of me and protect those things I need. And, help others that have been harmed along with themselves. YEAH!

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Sally, I re-read your comment here and just wanted to add something. Personally, I have NOT retired, not too early and definitely not lately! I personally have not ever embraced “the establishment”. I don’t see myself as a part of it at all, not now…not ever. I believe that there are a lot of us that think the same way.

          You mentioned the Tea Party taking to the streets with no response from the left. I would just remind you that those TP rallies were bought and paid for by Americans for Prosperity who rented huge buses to bring them in. They literally spent millions to bring hordes of ignorant bible-thumpers to Washington.

          I traveled to Washington at the same time to protest in support of the Health Care bill. At the last minute, OUR permit was pulled…things that make you go hmmmm! Somebody in a very high place did not want to see us in the streets! We were not allowed! Once again, it was big money at the heart of it all.

          We “old guys” have been fighting a big uphill battle with few resources. I just simply refuse to give up now! I believe that the future for my grandchildren hangs in the balance and I will go to the ends of the earth for them, whatever it takes. This is the main reason that I am so passionate about the cause of OWS.

          I AM THE 99%! :-)

          • SallyT says:

            I am sorry, Em, that you are taking my words as literally against you. That was not the intend. I was trying to give thoughts from the young man’s point of view as I saw it. Yes, the Tea Party was back by big money but these young people are not and they got out there in great numbers. When I said “we” retired to early, again you read that as I was accusing you. No, I was stating in numbers we retired to early. The 60’s was a fight against the establishment as their is too. And, who said to give up? Not me. Really, Em, you accusing me of not being passionate because I think the young man has his views and I think they desire a chance tc make a fight in their own way? And, you accusing me of being lazy because I am willing to get out of their way for them to do that? Really???? NO WAY! I am just willing to claim I don’t know it all, haven’t done it all, and maybe they could have some way to help all of us. Again, I haven’t heard any of them say they weren’t for all the causes we have discussed. Don’t think you are more of the 99% than me and I don’t care about the future. Really, Em, you are not giving my comments any credit at all. You certainly have gotten more from me. I don’t disagreed or pick words. Just see things different and from the otherside sometimes.

            • SallyT says:

              Hey, I ain’t got no stupid friends! Just friends that trust to let it out among each other and come out still friends. We are!

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Sally, I apologize to you for the tone of my comment. I guess I did take it too personally. Sometimes I get so frustrated and want so badly to do something to stop this inevitable rush off the edge of the cliff. No, I did not mean to say that you were not just as involved as the rest of us! I was not necessarily going after you at all. I guess I was just expressing my frustration in general and it all came out wrong! Please forgive me! :-(

              I consider you a friend whose opinion I value! I would never make a direct attack but would only argue vigorously as we all do from time to time with the strong opinions that we hold.

              Maybe I need to take a long, stiff drink BEFORE I post something!

              Again, please accept my sincere apology for my tone. In fact, delete that comment from your mind! Please don’t ever hesitate to call my dumb ass out on a stupid comment!! :-)

            • SallyT says:

              Oh, shoot, as I read this after I posted, I sound harsh. Don’t mean to be that by no means. I just like to give young people a chance to make a difference. I may be old but I do remember being young. I wanted to help change the world, too. I drove a friend to Canada to avoid the draft and Vietnam. Lots of us have done things and many still are. Yes, passion is obvious on all sides. I haven’t been to bed since before the Occuptied Portland thing started. I need to go to bed and wake up smiling. Well, atleast wake up!! Sorry if I was to harsh to anyone. Not what I was aiming for. I should have had a drink, damn it!

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Dammit Sally, stop channeling me! 😉

          • SallyT says:

            Cher, you and KT and I are triplets from different mothers, remember? I can’t think of anybody I would like to be channeling with more than you. You’s the smart educated one. Me’s the simple minded one. However, we are getting there at the same time. YEAH! (Wait a minute….did I just insult you? Wow, I didn’t mean to do that!)

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Em, I was replying to kes as you were posting this comment and (JINX!) we said much the same thing. (as did kes to an extent.) I agree with you, and see below for my fuller explanation about that. 😀

        Still, let me reiterate from below-- it is important to see how he and his generation FEEL whether it is fair or not. If we want them to listen to us, we’d better listen to them first.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Cher, I think we are both sitting here tonight typing madly at the same time, with very much the same thoughts! :-)

          I do see how he feels. I just think that his anger is too generalized and somewhat misplaced. You and I are bouncing around this thread but both on the same page! I wrote you another comment below about Vietnam.

    • kesmarn says:

      Cher, that is a very interesting article. (And before I get into it, let me say thanks so much to Em for addressing this situation.)

      The young author makes so many excellent points, and I can really understand his feelings of abandonment and betrayal by some of the folks a couple of decades older than he. But I think I would also caution him — if we were able to have a conversation — to be wary about demonizing a whole generation.

      Coach Paterno, for starters, wasn’t of his parents’ generation. He’s in his 80’s — a member of the so-called Greatest Generation (a title that I have taken issue with in many respects). And they were very well trained in sweeping many things under the rug — from the consequences of A-bomb testing to the dalliances of prominent political and public figures, to blatant racism in daily life. They had many virtues as well, but transparency was not often among them.

      Also the author — by his own admission — was greatly helped by the adults he encountered in the Second Mile program. I’m not defending Sandusky or the whole program. But apparently there were volunteers there — of the author’s parents’ generation — who were doing good things.

      Yes, there have been Boomers who’ve really screwed up — Dubya, Lloyd Blankfein and Karl Rove come to mind immediately — but there have been others who have held to their early idealism and lived whole lives of dedicated public service. Rep. Marcy Kaptur is among them, as are Ted Strickland and Joe Biden.

      And there are members of the author’s generation who may or may not turn out to be everyone’s role-models. Mark Zuckerberg? James O’Keefe?

      I like and respect Thomas Day’s ability to state his case, but one thing he might want to take a long look at may be at the root of his misplaced faith in the powers-that-be. A healthy chunk of the Boomer generation was able to take a step back from the pressure to go to war, analyze what the real agenda was, and refuse to go. Day might not now be an Iraq war vet, with all the trauma that that entails, if he had done the same. I know that’s hard. But it seems every generation has to learn — sometimes the hard way — to read history and learn from it.

      That said: I so totally agree with you that, when it comes to the Occupy movement, the Boomer generation needs to BUTT OUT! These “kids” are doing just fine. They’re taking tremendous risks, have shown great restraint, and have been highly innovative in what they’re doing. I just love them for it. Like you, I think there’s very little we have to offer them other than our thanks and support. We’ve had our day. We didn’t always do things so very well, and times have changed to the point at which our experience has very little relevance for them. Trying to “organize” them or “help” them “clarify their goals” must come across to them as somewhat patronizing, imho.

      And in that sense, Day is right on the money!

      Small side note: by chance I happened to catch a link to another article on your article’s web page and it was a keeper. It was a Jesuit priest’s compare and contrast take on the Penn State scandal as opposed to the Catholic church’s. He comes down quite hard on the church and I was glad to see it. Just a sample paragraph:

      Let me be clear: the pattern of abuse that happened in the church is far more widespread that what is reported to have happened at Penn State. And I should be clear about another factor: the Catholic Church has, since the scandal broke, instituted important steps to remove abusers and prevent future abuse. (The U.S. Bishops Conference’s Office for Child and Youth Protection is one such step.) But anyone who seeks to combat abuse in an institution should be aware of a hidden trap: Be vigilant not only about safeguarding against sexual abuse, not only about holding perpetrators accountable, not only about turning over credible accusations to civil authorities, but also about resisting the powerful draw into feeling too sorry for the wrong people.


      • Khirad says:

        Well, not that it makes it right, but let’s just say you older generations had it coming after all the get-off-my-lawn crap I’ve read the last decade. 😉

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Kes, you are so freaking smart. Of course, you are right! And so is Thomas Day. There is no shortage of good and bad examples from each generation. But where you are more right than he, is in his discounting of the Boomer generation’s SAME feelings we had towards “The Man.” This is where you got it so right:

        … but one thing he might want to take a long look at may be at the root of his misplaced faith in the powers-that-be. A healthy chunk of the Boomer generation was able to take a step back from the pressure to go to war, analyze what the real agenda was, and refuse to go. Day might not now be an Iraq war vet, with all the trauma that that entails, if he had done the same.

        But the truth is--or some truth anyway--is that many of us became The Man over the years. Nevertheless, in my own bubble mentality I read his sense of betrayal as not so much by we former protesters and hippies, but from those in my generation who elected the past Administration and maybe Bill Clinton. (Oh brother--See how that works? How selectively I read the article? He wasn’t blaming ME, he was blaming the Republicans!)

        Even though I realize how I chose to interpret Day’s assignment of blame, I have to maintain that Progressives did not put those morally bankrupt policies and politicians in place, they did, so a part of me wants to say, “Don’t look at me!” Yet, did we fight these forces hard enough, early enough? Did we not also slide into complacency, or ignore what was happening while we were busy building our careers and raising our families? I admit I did. It wasn’t until Bush was elected that I got a slap upside the head.

        The main thing about this article though is that whatever we say, it’s how Day and many of his generation feel, fair or not. There was an early sign from the OWS movement that captures their zeitgeist--and mine too--perfectly: “SHIT IS FUCKED UP AND BULLSHIT.” Well, yep!

        And as you know, I cannot agree more with you about the need for us to butt out. Not just because I think we messed things up since the 60’s but because it is THEY who are out on the streets for the most part. Not exclusively, but to say that they should heed our “sage” advice just because we are older and have taken part in past struggles sounds, well, I’m sorry, pompous.

        That article you linked to is wonderful, BTW. I needs to be said, and if anything good can come of this tragedy I hope it will be a thorough soul searching, as President Obama has asked for:

        • kesmarn says:

          Cher, thanks! Now I can go off to bed with an extremely bloated head (may need two pillows) because you (whom I admire so much) called me smart! Wow…

          I think the Boomer generation has been split — maybe almost down the middle — from nearly day one. The Rolling Stones or Jay and the Americans? Cher’s straight hair or the Nixon daughters’ puffy do’s? Getting tear gassed or joining the Young Republicans? Wanting to be Laura Petrie from the Dick van Dyke show or thinking Janis Joplin was pretty cool? Getting married right out of high school (or at least college) and doing the conventional wife thing or hippie “experimenting”? Driving a Volkswagon or a Mustang?

          That cultural split has never been reconciled and I am beginning to wonder if it will only finally be resolved with the death of the Last Boomer. 😀

          So it is really difficult to assign praise or blame generationally, since the whole generation has always been somewhat schizophrenic. I suppose many generations are, but this one more so than most.

          Now — however — my own personal brain is winding down at the midnight hour, so I’ll take your so-generous compliment (you, who are always the encourager) and see if I can fit my newly-expanded cranium through the bedroom doorway. Good night!

          • Khirad says:

            You can really tell who won that culture war though.

            The next generations only know half of those references.

            • kesmarn says:

              Interesting point, Khirad!

              Say, in your “spare time” (hahahahaha!) outside of researching the ME updates, I would love to hear more on your generation’s take on the “get off my lawn” attitude. And I am absolutely serious on this. I think this is something older generations should be more tuned in to.

              Some time take a moment to elaborate, will you? I would sincerely appreciate it.

          • Emerald1943 says:

            Kes, that comment is astounding! I could recognize myself in every analogy you made! I actually DID drive a Mustang, loved the Rolling Stones, protested in DC and got tear gassed, had very long straight hair and wore bell-bottom pants, married a long-haired hippie and never looked back! My god, you are so intuitive!

            Now, take your bloated head to bed…and sleep very well, dearest friend! You deserve only the best!!:-)

          • Chernynkaya says:

            😆 Kes, now my cranium has it’s own gravity. Sleep well!!

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Cher, I just wrote you another reply above about the way I read the article.

          Our generation was dragged, kicking and screaming all the way, into Vietnam. We fought like demons against it, but the war machine won the battle. I don’t blame my parents’ generation for it, but instead the politics of greed that have prevailed for a very long time in this country. The excuse given to the American people for Vietnam was supposedly to stop the spread of communism, an excuse just as much of a ruse as the Village Idiot’s “spreading democracy”. The Vietnam war put hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets of a few, while over 58,000 of my generation died to do it.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            Yes, Em, that’s where I think kes said it so well (before you had a chance to say the same), if she could talk to that author. We protested and some of my friends left the country. I don’t blame my generation for that.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Em, saw it and I was just like you! Only difference was I protested in L.A. I was chosen to be among 3 people who went to talk to Judge Manuel Real here to ask him to release Vietnam War protesters when I was 16, but other than that geographical difference, all the same!!

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Cher, Kes is an absolute jewel! She is incredibly smart!! I hope you see her comment about the schizophrenia of the boomers above and my reply to her! It’s pretty amazing that she sees things so clearly. She gives me perspective that I need sometimes.

      • SallyT says:

        Kes, you have to blame the prior generations because you can’t blame the next until it becomes the prior. 😉

    • foodchain says:

      Cher, the disillusionment is growing from Penn State, from Irag vets returning home to no jobs, from OWS. As shallow as those students looked, they too were angry that someone in authority could come in and take something away from them. Right or wrong , they too felt helpless. Too many are helpless today. I so am hoping for a collectively strong statement from not only the disenfranchised but those close enough to understand.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Food, you make a good case about the Penn students, and one I hadn’t thought about. There is an inchoate frustration that the young cannot articulate yet but they are right, and you made me think about that aspect with those students.

    • SallyT says:

      Thank you, Cher, for posting this story. I said the same as you earlier. These young people admire the movements of our day but they think we have not done much since. So, they may listen but they want to try something different. I say, let them have a chance to try.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Sally, I saw that and you and I are on the same page about this. (And no, it not just because you shamelessly lied and said I looked 29!)

  6. SallyT says:

    Em, great article and you cover so much. But, as I have said before, someone very close to me was sexually abused as a young boy around 9 years of age. This abuse was done by a woman. He buried it so deep that it did not surface until he was much, much, much older. It does not go away. It is not forgotten. Buried but not forgotten and it does resurface to torment again.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Sally, thank you! This is such a sad, sad story. I don’t think we’ve come close to hearing everything about it either. I have to wonder how many kids will eventually come forward. It is unusual to hear of a woman committing crimes like this. I am so sorry for your friend. This is so unfair to those children who are involved.

      • Khirad says:

        How many boys are gonna admit they got abused, by a woman no less?

        I wish I could remember the name, but it’s an actress who has been open about her history of sexual abuse -- the uncle and string of mom’s boyfriends tragic cliché got to her. But she said the worst, the most sadistic abuse was from one of their female friends. The guys were exploiting her sexually, but the woman wanted to hurt, degrade and humiliate her for its own sake.

  7. SueInCa says:


    Not only did the school know but there is info floating around that the people who helped him run the foundation also knew at some point. Not one person thought about the victims for very long, if they had, there would have been reports. Is it any wonder that victims do not come forward themselves?

    I like football as much as the next gal or guy but in this country we have taken all sports to a ridiculous level. the players are heroes, no matter what they do, Michael Vick comes to mind. They are paid salaries that are far more than their play is worth but it is the almighty Super Bowl, World Series, World Cup,Basketball Championship that is the be all end all of sports. What if they played those games for charity? Would that be so bad? It might just earn the respect people give freely because they are entranced with hero worship. The same goes for Actors and Actresses whose salaries are out of sight. They both have their “behaving badly” issues, some worse than others.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Sue, very good point! Our obsession with celebrity is ridiculous IMO. The Lindsay Lohan situation comes to mind. Every time I turn around, the little twit is back in court for some bad behavior. She never really has to spend time in jail. They always let her out to continue her partying. The TV audience seems to thrive on this trivial crap.

      I agree with you about the salaries too. Especially baseball. It’s completely out of line. But in this country, Big Business rules supreme! Apparently, it ruled at Penn State!

  8. Good article Em. The subject matter here is not easy to contemplate or consider because of it’s heinous nature. I think crimes against children, especially sexual crimes against children are the worst imaginable. They kill or irrevocably damage a child’s spirit. As you say, the memories of such an offense never really go away. The implacable feelings of shame and guilt that a sexually abused child has to carry around, like a bag full of bricks, his or her whole life, is simply horrendous. This is what makes these sort of crimes the worst sort of crimes. Something extremely valuable is taken from the child and may never be restored to it’s original wonder.
    I know there are deep-seated psychological reasons for this type of behavior, but I can’t really give those reasons much weight compared to the damage they inflict upon others. I view sexual predators like I would a rabid dog. The best way to deal with them is to “put them down.” I know this is barbaric, especially in a high tech, civil society, but I just find these acts so horrible and the chance of the sexual predator to commit future acts when treatment fails, is too great. Put them down and forget about them.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Thank you KT! I began to write this as a comment on the Morning Blog but soon realized that it should stand alone.

      I deliberately did not get into the psychological problems with child sex offenders. There are numerous books written on the subject and my experience is not adequate to address the issue. I simply wanted to point out the moral failings of this institution and the men that run it. They protected the offender and left the children to fend for themselves. Cowards one and all!

      We do need to take a long look in the mirror. We need to examine the causes of these problems. One consolation…the perp who did these crimes will be behind bars for a very, very long time!

      • Em, it’s the moral failing of those who stood by and did nothing that also infuriates me. How can a person keep silent about such horrible acts? In my opinion, they are accessories after the fact and should also be put on trial. As for the molester himself, I think a little prison justice is in order. I wouldn’t shed a single tear!

        • Emerald1943 says:

          KT, I have not heard anything about charges against the assistant coach who walked in on Sandusky and a boy in the shower. Did he break a law by not calling police? I’m not sure. He did tell Paterno who did nothing. I’m not clear about mandatory reporting laws in PA.

  9. escribacat says:

    Well said, Emerald. I reacted like Cher to this news. I’m not a football fan so it’s easy for me to just write off that entire segment of our culture as brain damaged. I apologize to those of you who are football fans. I realize there must be some redeeming quality in it. I just don’t get it. I also don’t get why the intern didn’t put a stop to the child rape when he witnessed it! What a coward. If I saw an adult raping a child, I would find a weapon and use it. I realize the witness was not the perpetrator but he knew it was wrong and failed to take action except to scurry off and tell daddy, who also apparently did nothing. What a pack of chickenshit little … anyway, you catch my drift. Football is supposed to be so macho, where’s the courage? I certainly don’t see any hint of courage or ethics in this story. And the perpetrator? I say castration is too good for him. Period. As for his enablers and protectors at the university, they are almost as guilty as he is. They are lost souls, as far as I’m concerned. Sadly, horribly worthless and utterly lost. And those college students who had their little hissy fit riot over what’s his name’s firing, they need to take some ethics courses real soon or they’ll end up just as lame and cowardly as their pathetic heroes are. Ugh. What’s really disturbing about this is that it comes right out of mainstream Americana, not some pervy little back alley. And that is precisely why he got away with it for so long.

    • Khirad says:

      Well, there’s football fans and then there’s these type of legacy schools where it is literally a religion.

      Once it goes beyond rooting for a team to living and dying with that team obsessively, I agree, I fail to see the redeeming nature in that blinding fanaticism.

      Because what it results in is in riots where you are more concerned about the future of “your team” over the ruined lives of handfuls of boys.

      That’s not just enjoying sports. That’s a cult. It’s sick. If you can’t just say it’s only a game, you have a problem. If you lose so much perspective you put team over systemic sexual abuse, you need help -- you need to be deprogrammed and get some modicum of perspective to important things in life and the pressing issues therein.

      And no shit. Any macho football guy that saw this happening should have gone over there, saved the child, decked the rapist cold to the shower floor and called the police -- not reported it to superior, but report a crime which you witnessed in flagrente delicto.

      No, this has nothing to do with the game of football, per se. It does have to do with maybe part of the culture therein and big money involved. And people concerned about their careers over the harming and lifetime scarring of children. That’s a bigger part of the problem--the system.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      E’cat, thanks for the kind words! I was completely sickened by this story. I don’t think the perpetrator is going to fare very well in prison. The word has it that child molesters are treated very badly by the prison population. Considering the allegations against this man, it is likely that he will spend the rest of his life in prison, worried about his own physical safety.

      The students’ reaction to the firing of the head coach was really disgusting. Talking about your knee-jerk reaction! They have redeemed themselves somewhat with their behavior since then, organizing a prayer service for the victims and generally behaving themselves over the weekend.

      Your point about “mainstream Americana” is an important one. This problem not only rears its ugly head in the back alleys, but in our “respectable” neighborhoods. Everyone needs to be especially vigilant to protect the children everywhere!

  10. Chernynkaya says:

    Em, great post. I was surprised at myself when this story became well-known at how enraged I became. I know about child sexual abuse--that’s not what surprised me. But the Penn story really made me outraged. It embodies so much of what is sick about our country: money over morality. We seem to have completely lost our moral compass on a grand scale, and it affects almost every institution and makes a mockery of our so-called values. I practically shook with rage when the details came out.

    The causes of pedophilia probably have to do with bad brain wiring, as do many illnesses, but this is one of those cases where I just don’t give a damn why they are the way they are, unless it can lead to a cure. Everything I have read about it shows that the impulse is immune to treatment--short of castration. And if at this point in our medical knowledge that is all we can do, I say do it. What gets me is that some pedophiles claim that it’s like homosexuality in that it is naturally occurring in a percentage of the population, and that one day it will be legal. To this I say BULLSHIT. When something is between two consenting adults, fine, but when it involves a child, it is a slander to gay men and women!

    But I digressed there. The real horror for me is how multiple child rapes were pushed under the rug to protect the money from the football program, how a sport can become a cult at the expense of any decency, and how those student rioted when Paterno was fired. Who ARE those students? This is the future? Yeah--if the Right has it’s way. Money uber alles. Disgusting.

    But what you say is so important: We must look! One of our worst failings is to hide things we find uncomfortable--whether it be sexual abuse of women and children, corruption, or any of society’s problems. It’s like the way cancer was dealt with in my grandparents’ generation: Don;t say the word and it’ll go away. How stupid and irresponsible.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Cher, thanks so much! I’m glad you brought up the subject of the connection that some have made between homosexuality and pedophilia. That infuriates me too! Another right-wing meme that they so casually put out there to discredit gays and lesbians.

      I’ve long been of the opinion that castration should be an option. It has been proposed a few times but always rejected as “cruel and inhuman punishment”. The recidivism rate for pedophiles is very high as I understand it although I am not sure of the numbers. At the very least, I believe chemical castration should be used for serial offenders if they are going to be allowed out of prison and on the streets again. IMO, this man should never see the light of day. The rest of his life behind bars is not good enough in my opinion! After all, he has sentenced his victims to a lifetime of deep emotional pain and guilt. He should pay with the same!

      • agrippa says:

        Pedophiles are, mostly, not treated. First, there is the of revulsion and outrage. That makes it very difficult for anyone to do research into pedophilia; or, to treat the pedophile. Thus, we know little about it.

        Penn State did almost nothing to potect the children; it did little to Sandusky. It was covered up.

        The “Angry Black Lady” blog has good articles about it.


        • Emerald1943 says:

          Thanks agrippa. You are right. This is such a disgusting and disturbing subject that no one really wants to look at it. We can’t sweep it under the rug anymore though. It has to be addressed! As the President said, time for some soul searching.

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