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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

“All it takes for evil to triumph is for a few good men to do nothing.”

Profound statement. What makes it more profound, considering this is a quote from the 1700’s by Irish political philosopher Edmond Burke, is how relevant it is today. I’m referring to the recent events surrounding the allegations of the football staff at Penn State. If a few (supposed) good men had spoken up when they first saw and heard of what was happening, then evil would not have triumphed. But no one spoke up and a sick, disgusting man got away with horrific atrocities. Children were betrayed; trust was shattered. So what do we, as a society, as individuals, as parents, do now? How can we learn from this?

At a young age we teach our kids about their “private parts”. We teach them no adult is allowed to touch them “down there”. Not even someone they know, trust, and love. It’s a tough conversation to have because kids’ brains don’t fully understand pure evil. As the mother of a nine-year old son, the same age as some of the kids who were assaulted, I’m outraged that more was not done to help and protect those children. The best I can do is to teach my son to do the right thing, no matter the cost. Teach him to speak up if any adult approaches him and to speak up if he witnesses anything he may think is inappropriate. When you’re truthful and honest, you don’t have to keep track of your lies. If you tell the truth, evil cannot prevail.

The individuals in the middle of the scandal at Penn State didn’t do enough. They did the bare minimum of what they were required to do. I wonder how they would feel had it been their son in the shower with Jerry Sandusky. During his 62 years as coach, Joe Paterno won 409 games, more than any coach in the history of major college football. However, Joe’s legacy will now be remembered not for what he did, but for what he didn’t do.

In the wake of Paterno’s firing, students at Penn State rioted the campus in support of their “beloved” coach. As many of you who listen to Broadminded know, I am the victim of a sexual assault. It happened right after college and the assailant has never been caught. As someone who knows what it’s like to be forced to do something against her will, it was extremely unsettling to watch the news of the Penn State students wreaking havoc across campus in support of those who didn’t speak up, didn’t do all they could, didn’t tell the truth. Where were the people protesting in support of those who were betrayed instead of supporting the people who stayed silent?

A few days later, just prior to Penn State’s final home game of the season, the players from both Penn State and their opponent, Nebraska, gathered at midfield kneeling together for a long moment of silence in support of the victims. Finally giving the abused some recognition. It was a simple, quiet, powerful statement. Donations for two child-abuse prevention organizations were being accepted at the stadium gates. And as fans were gathering in their seats getting ready for kick-off, a plane flew over the stadium pulling a sign that read, “Cry for the Kids, Not for the Cowards & Liars.”

“If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If I got three more words, I'd add, All the Time.” ~Randy Pausch

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! This is so true and, although simple, so profound. Thank you for speaking out instead of being a victim. This is the Broad Way. As a member of Kappa Delta Sorority (a partner and supporter of Prevent Child Abuse America) in college, I always participated in events and fundraisers we had for the group. Most of the time I was more concerned About getting to work on time afterward or writing papers or studying for exams. Now I feel guilty. Sometimes all that a young, vulnerable child has is a helping hand from a stranger. I implore your viewers to check out Prevent Child Abuse America and give all they can. It's just sad that it takes a tragedy of this magnitude to bring it to the eyes and attention of America. Any victim of abuse is one too many.