Thanks to the recent news about Penn State's child sex abuse scandal, the ride to school this morning was a little more uncomfortable than usual. Just before we left, the news was showing video of the students protesting the firing of Joe Paterno and on the way to school, Z asked what all the fuss was about.
He's pretty aware that there are people who are not good out there who can/will take advantage given the chance. He also knows there are people who would physically hurt him. He's taken martial arts classes and is perfectly capable of hurting someone back in order to get away or defend himself. But up to now, his main concern has been bullies at school. This takes us into a whole new realm.
So I told him what the story was with regard to Penn State. Then I asked him if he knew what sexual abuse of a child actually was. He shook his head, so in very simple terms I explained about violation of person and how that can scar a person for life with feelings of helplessness and an inability to trust. That the inability to trust another person is a horrible thing to live with and that it can warp your entire life's dealings with other people, including the ones who really do love you.
He shuddered a bit, then asked if Joe Paterno did it and was that why he was fired. I told him no - but having knowledge of something like that carries its own responsibility in reporting and preventing it from happening again. Paterno did report it, but did nothing beyond that and more children were hurt by this man who worked for Paterno because no further action was taken.
And those students jumping up and down and screaming and destroying property? Have no idea what any of this is about. That is how I would feel if something like that happened to YOU. I would be so angry! And I would do everything I could to make sure that it never happened again to you or to anyone else. That's where the anger should be placed. The Board of Trustees knew that and THAT is why Joe Paterno and the president of the university were fired. They did not follow through to make sure that no one was ever hurt by this guy again. ZBoy nodded that he understood that.
This was followed up by the "if this ever happens to you, you must tell" speech. Avoid it if you can, but if you can't for some reason - TELL. Then we can hopefully keep it from happening to someone else and we can get help for you to help you live as normal a life as possible. So many children don't tell because they're afraid or the perpetrator has threatened them or their family in some way. Telling takes his power away. Always tell.
It was quiet in the car for a minute.
"Wow. You guys really love me, don't you?" Yes, baby. We do. Now go and have a wonderful day and don't let this poison your thoughts today. Don't give him any power over you either.
And he did. He had a wonderful day.