Is Jerry Sandusky the only one?
A couple of weeks ago I took my wife to have her hair done. (I think that is the appropriate term. Men get a haircut, women have their hair done.) As in any hair salon or doctor’s office the reading material was months old, and lets just say it wasn’t generally manly in nature. After digging through piles of magazines touting everything from weight loss to Brad Pitt’s abs, I found an old copy of a weekly news magazine. This would do for the 45 minutes it would take to have Kim’s hair “done.”
I began to read an article from several months ago about Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach accused of molesting several boys. Now, before I say anything about Mr. Sandusky,
God knows all the details of his guilt or innocence and a jury of his peers will make an earthly judgment. That is not the point of this post, and his culpability is not for me to decide.
The article laid out the timeline of the accusations against the former coach, who was notified, and what their actions were. It was appalling. Many people were made aware of the red flags and seemingly did nothing. The article said that after being observed inappropriately with a boy in a locker room Sandusky was punished by taking away his locker room key. Really??? Taking away his key??? I’m sorry, but did someone pass out “knucklehead pills” to everyone that day? What were they thinking!
Well, on to the point of my post. I sat across the desk from a ministry leader just a few days ago. We were discussing the idea of child protection and background checks for anyone who works with young people. He told me that they did their best to know their people, but that their church was just not in a financial position to afford to do background checks. Really? I wonder if Penn State is going to be bear a financial hit from their apparent non-action?
As a faith supported missionary, I understand the financial difficulties of the current economy. But I also understand that one can be “penny wise” and “pound foolish.” Trust me, ministries cannot afford to skip screening and background checks of volunteers. It is the best preventative money you can spend. Abusers are like rats being chased by a pack of cats. They run to any safe place they can find. I pray it is not your or my church.
But, as important as it is, the financial burden is not the main point of this post. Here it is. Children and teens are precious and abuse lasts a lifetime. It is easy to get sidetracked in the legal and financial consequences of abuse and miss the most important thing, the victim. Shame on us if we ever do that.
This topic is personal. It has been a hard year for me. Just over a year ago my Mom passed away. I loved my Mom as did my siblings. But our young lives were marked by abuse, physical (though never sexual), emotional, and verbal. Although I never discussed it with her, in my heart I chose to forgive my Mom years ago. But the damage lingers.
An abuser captures your mind and freezes images and words there. The images and words that recirculate in my mind have only grown stronger since my Mom’s passing. It has affected every part of my life. I pray that someday the private war in my mind will be won and all the soldiers will retreat allowing me to rest.
Remember the victims. Protect your kids, no matter the cost.
Because of Calvary,