Friday, November 11, 2011

Short link post on Penn State news

Update 11.22.11:Huffington Post today reports that the mother of Victim 1 (see story below) was dissuaded from reporting by

The principal of the school, Karen Probst, a woman.
The school counselor, also a woman.

Mother 1 wanted to call the police immediately, and that's when she was given the "Mr. Heart of Gold" speech. By the principal. And the counselor. Two women.

It's not about gender here. Protecting power is about protecting power.

I am horrified, like everyone else, about the sexual abuse news from Penn State. And can we PLEASE stop calling it a "sex scandal"? "Scandal" implies some sort of delicious gossip about celebrities; this is just horrifying. And "sex" implies consent. This was not "sex" with consent but the rape of children. Go read these powerful posts right now:
One message is pretty clear, and it's an old message: Power consolidates and protects itself, even at the risk of missing a heinous crime; and those who want to challenge that culture are dissuaded from doing so, sometimes forcefully and sometimes by a more subtle degree of intimidation. Buried deep in one article about the courageous boy and his mother who came forward is this:
Increasingly worried about the boy's behavior, including his reaction to the phone calls from Sandusky, Gillum said the victim's mother asked school officials to help identify the problem. Gillum said the boy eventually told a school official that "there was an issue" with Sandusky, although the boy declined to elaborate.Gillum said a school official relayed the information to the boy's mother in a meeting.

The official, who Gillum declined to identify, then reminded the mother of Sandusky's solid reputation in the community. The psychologist said the official characterized Sandusky as having "a heart of gold."

The mother told the psychologist that the official advised her to think about the situation for a few days before taking any action.

"She was angry," Gillum said. "She was upset about that and felt that she was being dissuaded" from taking action. The mother did not respond to a request for an interview.
She felt she was being dissuaded because she was being dissuaded. The message there was clear: "He has power; you have none. He is important; you and your son are not. Are you sure that you want to bring down the @#$%^storm of misery that reporting is going to bring with it? Because, trust me, it's going to hurt you more than it's going to hurt Mr. Heart of Gold."
It's all part of the culture of silence that allows predators to continue their activities.


Clio Bluestocking said...

Thank you for the link.

You are right, "sex scandal" is not really an accurate description. It is "sex abuse news."

The kid in the case that you quote seems to also have been picking up on the same message that his mother did as you can see through his reluctance to report what was happening to him. He was a kid, he probably thought, and who was going to beleive him against a big, powerful, and popular adult? That gave the adult the cover. Thank goodness his mother kept pushing.

undine said...

Yes, thank goodness for that. I saw another report where the despicable Mr. Heart of Gold tried to blame the children, as is typical in these cases, saying that they misunderstood/made things up.