The verdict is in regarding the sexual abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky and many people are wondering what will occur now. Most Pennsylvanians, many of whom are proud of being associated with Penn State, have been horrified by the news of what happened to the young men who had the courage to take the witness stand and relive the sexual abuse that they experienced. But a conviction against Jerry Sandusky in a criminal court is only part of the march toward justice. The Penn State University has begun the process of attempting to make these brave young men whole, if that is possible. The civil court will help sort that out. The courts also will be involved in finding justice relating to what Penn State officials could have and should have done.
In addition to seeking justice for those hurt by abuse through the courts, Pennsylvanians are stepping up to end child abuse, and every person in our Lycoming County communities has a role to play. Child abuse prevention is what we can do together. Tragically, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
Even if you are not legally mandated to report in this case, you are a "permissive reporter," and can report. If you are a parent, you know that you need to report if you suspect sexual abuse of your child. If you are a mandated reporter, get the training you need to fulfill your job duties, as the law requires. If you have any questions, the YWCA's Wise Options has a person on the phone 24-hours a day to help you get the support and information that you need.
At this important time, Nelson Mandela's words ring true, "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear." We are in this together.
Susan K. Mathias
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom