This whole Joe Paterno business is really making me upset. This guy says it a lot better than I can, but I just can't understand the support for him. Yeah, he was a great coach. And apparently, he was a great mentor to his players. But that doesn't change the fact that he didn't do enough to stop his DIRECT REPORT from raping children in his building and elsewhere. Maybe he did what was legally required of him by saying something to the athletic director or whomever it was that he told. But that wasn't enough, and we all know it. The graduate assistant didn't do enough when he turned around and walked away and let Sandusky continue raping a little boy in the showers. The janitor that saw him in the 90's didn't do enough when he walked away from Sandusky going down on a little boy. They didn't do enough, and they do not deserve our sympathies or support.
It's no secret that I've been abused, and it's no secret that I still struggle with the emotional after-effects, 10 years after it ended and 7 years after the offender killed himself (Ok, so it is kind of a secret here in that no one in the program knows, so I seem especially crazy when I get this worked up over it. If they knew, I feel like they would nod understandingly instead of leaning back from the degree of wrath that I barely am able to contain when discussing this issue). I would never wish these feelings of brokenness on anyone, and sometimes I wonder what would have happened if someone had known The Abuser was this way before--what it would be like to feel like a "normal" person. Paterno and the others at Penn State could have saved countless children from these feelings. They could have made it better. They could have saved these kids from a monster, but they chose to do nothing, to say nothing, and in their silence, they too, became monsters.
To be honest, I'm glad for the supporters, that they can live in a world where they don't understand how unspeakably cruel the code of silence executed by several people at Penn State was, that they can think that 50 years of doing something as insignificant as coaching football is enough to excuse him and the others for allowing this to go on, that they don't know the damage that was done, to somehow think it "wasn't that bad", or at least not bad enough to vilify them as they deserve. I'm glad that they don't know what this is like, a decade later, that they have never experienced pain like this. I'm glad for them. I pray they never understand why my heart races at the horror, why my face gets flushed and I start yelling and cursing in front of my professor, why I'm nauseous, why it brings tears to my eyes. I pry that they can stay forever in their state of hideously offensive ignorance. In the mean time, I hope to God that someone makes Paterno and the others understand why this was so unspeakably, grotesquely, horribly, terribly wrong, because they will never be able to make it right again.