I just need to get this off my chest.
For the first week after Jerry Sandusky was found guilty, we had the slew of "groundbreaking" articles lauding the need to "talk about it" (as in child sexual abuse.) My editorial in the Syracuse Post Standard was the only piece I'm aware of that explored the entire picture, discussing the need to re-evaluate our billion dollar industry of ineffective "sexual abuse prevention" laws (if you haven't read it: http://blog.syracuse.com/opinion/2012/07/sandusky_case_must_begin_proce.html.)
This past week, it's been all about Joe Paterno and his role in covering up the abuse. There's been talk of suspending Penn State football season. After painting over Jerry Sandusky's image in a mural at Penn State last week, an artist painted over a halo that was previously depicted over Joe Paterno's head a few days ago.
The fact that child sexual abuse is real, needs to be talked about, and dealt with in an effective manner is not something that many would debate about. No one should have to endure it, nor should their families.
But guess what? Removing a halo out of a picture doesn't help those victims. Railing on a dead guy who made a grave mistake in his life - AFTER the perpetrator actually responsible for the acts has been sentenced to life in prison - doesn't help the child suffering alone behind closed doors. Suspending a football season and forcing young men who have no connection to sexual abuse of children whatsoever to miss out on opportunities doesn't protect children. It makes (some of) US feel good, and that's about it.
Can anyone even begin to imagine the impact we could have on sex abuse prevention if just a quarter of all the media attention laser-focused on Joe Paterno in the past week, were instead dedicated to exploring the massive failure of the sex offender registry, sex offender legislation, and the overall ignorance of society and politicians to reality? If for just ONE day, newspapers and reporters and journalists swore off the easy stuff, and exposed all those studies proving "common knowledge" wrong to viewers across the country? "If it saves just one child" could easily become thousands.
But that's just wishful thinking, I guess.