Thursday, November 10, 2011

what about the children?

Joe Paterno has been fired.  That is the focus of the news this morning.  As I read it and listen to the television blaring about it, all I can think of is the children.

They say how sad it is to see Paterno end a 46 year career like this.  How upsetting it is to see the campus and university affected by this.

What about the children?  What about the responsibility of adults to take care of the safety of children.  What about the children who were molested, physically and psychologically harmed, by a pedophile who, because of the silence of those with knowledge of his act, were in effect, perpetrators as well?

What about the children?  What about the unseen scars that they will bear the rest of their lives?

What about the children that might have been saved, had someone spoken up and done the right thing?  All it would have taken was one person speaking up.  That's all.

I told my husband, when the news first hit the public, that this would bring Paterno down.  Why?

Because he had a responsibility to follow through.  Yes he reported it.  Nothing was done.  Why didn't he question it?  Why?  I believe when you are a leader, you have a responsibility to follow through, no matter what people might say.  To do the right thing.  Even when it might mean a scandal.  I believe Paterno should have followed through, and he didn't.  Only he can answer why he didn't.

And don't say it's because the description of the incident given to him wasn't as graphic as what has now been told.  That's rationalization.  He should have followed through.  Demanded some answers.  Was he afraid he'd lose his job if he pursued it?  Or did he just forget about it?  Only he can answer that.

I have become so jaded and disillusioned about people in high power.  There is a saying, my father-in-law, a wise man, used to tell me.

"Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

I believe that.  And I grieve for these children.  And am deeply disturbed and disgusted that so many people took no steps to protect the children.

What about the children?  What will become of them now?  How will they piece their lives back together?

I have no answers.  Just a feeling of deep, deep, sadness and grief.

Twitter @jonesbabie


  1. Clap, Clap, Clap!
    That's the point. It's like Wall Street- they complain we're bashing them- what about the millions (billions?) affected by their chicanery. The Catholic Church? College Football almost in general teaching kids that money and power win every time and ethics have no bearing.
    I, too, adjusted my calendar (most posts gestate [ferment?] for a week or three before hitting the light of day. I posted a slightly different take.

  2. Excellent post, buut such a shame it has to be said. Great image as well.

  3. What makes me sick about this sad story is the number of lost opportunities. It allowed the abuse continue, unpunished. Sickening.

  4. Cathy,,

    I am glad you wrote this post. so sad that children are the ones that are damaged for life...

    I wish people spoke up sooner it would have saved many...




  5. I'm completely with you on this one, Cath. I can't even believe there were such violent protests in support of Paterno but what about the children? I'm not only deeply sad over this but enraged. I have a son and I can't even begin to tell you what I think I would be capable of doing if such a thing ever happened to him...God forbid. I do grieve for the victims and their families, and I do grieve for the lack of clarity and honor in those involved in this. One analyst on tv put it so accuratlely...He likened this to the Catholic Church's stance on the child abuse/molestation cases....that the authorities are choosing to protect the institution above anything or anyone else. I can understand this from my Sociological brain, but not from my human/parental brain. *deep sigh*

  6. Thanks Roy I appreciate your comments, as well as your post. It spoke volumes about how complacent we have all become with the corruption and deceit.
    Your link:

  7. @Thom Brown Thanks Thom, I appreciate your thoughts.

  8. @MuMuGB I guess what shocked me worst was the fact that it went on for so many years, and could have been stopped so much sooner. Thanks for your comments Muriel.

  9. @Jessica Brant I agree wholeheartedly with you Jessica. xo

  10. @Joy Page Manuel I agree with everything you said. Even though I am a nurse, and a professional, I reacted like a mother to this story. And I felt a mother's outrage.

  11. Cath, I have lived this situation. I work in a small country school. Some children made a report to the then principal that the local parish priest was abusing them. He reported it. It divided a parish and it divided families. It was investigated. Police files went "missing" The principal was given a verbal report not to leave the children alone with this man. He hadn't a legal leg to stand on but he did this in spite of constant attempts by the PP to get the children on their own. I admire him greatly for his stand.
    The person I blame most was the bishop who knew of the situation and did nothing. He allowed this man to stay where he had constant contact with young children. We refused to have this bishop confirm our daughters. This caused havoc in a small village and within our family(I had an uncle a priest and 3 aunts nuns)
    The priest went on to turn his focus to boys, one of whom tried to commit suicide. Twenty years later, the priest is dead, the bishop resigned but those children are still trying to come to terms with their lives. If the bishop had acted he would have saved several families a lot more pain. My anger still burns.

  12. @hocam This makes my heart hurt Mary, but how proud I am the principal and you took a moral stand that was the right thing to do. Things of this nature, hidden, ruin countless lives. Not only the children, but it affects how they parent their own children. I see victims of abuse in the mental health field every single day. So many. We have to be advocates, and do the right thing, that is the only way to stop it. By speaking out. Thank you so much for telling your story. xo