With news of sanctions against Penn State, the statue of Joe Paterno being placed in storage over the weekend, and the FBI report about to be released, the case of Jerry Sandusky continues to reverberate long after the jury has rendered its verdict. The case has brought to light the ripple effect of abuse and the silence that often remains hidden in the secrecy of abuse.
Gavin de Becker writes about those he labels deniers in his book, Protecting the Gift. He writes that a denier will “snake his way into a position of advantage, watching an adult persuade a child to trust him. During the beginning of sexual abuse, deniers are unconscious co-conspirators.” Dan Allender addresses those who stand silently by in his book, The Wounded Heart. “If you missed or ignored the evidence in the past then you ought to ask yourself deep questions as to why your child was less important than what you were choosing to protect.”
If you or a loved one has experienced the pain of sexual abuse, there are many resources available to help you on your journey to recovery, including counseling. If you do have children, heed de Becker’s advice to parents: Teach your child about touch, the body, boundaries, communication, assertiveness, and sovereignty over the body.
Marlayne Whitlock, MA, LAPC