It Takes a Village: Failure to Protect the Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Victims
Hillary Clinton’s book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us, presents a vision for America’s children. It focuses on the positive impact that both individuals and groups outside of the family have on the well-being of all children. Hillary Clinton advocated for a society which meets all children’s needs. Penn State University, in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, failed to meet children’s needs. They failed to protect Sandusky’s victims or even take appropriate disciplinary or legal action.
In the wake of the scandal, the Penn State Board of Trustees admitted failure in its obligation to the university and to the victims. Kenneth C. Frazier, the board member who chaired an investigations task force, said, “We are accountable for what’s happened here. An event like this can never happen again in the Penn State University community.”
One would hope that the outrage over the Sandusky sex abuse scandal and the failure to protect the victims results in our society reaching a point in which we expect the same bravery and sense of responsibility of adults to report suspected child abuse, as we expect of victims in coming forth with disclosures of their abuse.
It does, indeed, take a village. Every adult must claim responsibility for protecting children. Such responsibility begins with learning the signs of abuse and educating oneself, one’s neighbors, colleagues, and family members about child abuse.
Children must be taught body safety. They must be taught about safe and unsafe touches. Children must be taught to whom they can turn for help if they ever receive a touch that makes them feel uncomfortable or are harmed or abused in any way.
My book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, addresses the issue of good touch and bad touch and teaches children always to tell if they have been abused or fear abuse. Even though my book teaches children to take a pro-active role in staying safe, the ultimate responsibility still lies with adults. It is not the responsibility of children to protect themselves. It is the responsibility of adults to do so.