Sandusky, Penn State Case Illuminates a Culture of Silence and Apathy

Kim Bryan

Kim Bryan

You can’t turn on the TV, computer or radio or open a newspaper or magazine without the sickening details of this “respected” adult and the accusations of the crimes committed against vulnerable children.

As I sit in our local coffee shops or ride the ferry here in our pristine paradise thousands of miles away from this ugly scene I over-hear conversations spoken in anger and indignation that an adult would get away with such atrocities against children for so long.  Some talk even resembles the old “vigil-anti” mentality of what they would do if that man were here hurting our kids.  And yet this makes me wonder…

If you have spent anytime listening to, or reading the details of the reports you would see one fact shine through.  That saddening factor is that there were multiple adults who could have stepped in and stopped this horrible nightmare and they didn’t!

Some of these adults were in positions of authority and certainly had received training regarding child sexual abuse and their mandated responsibility to report and make sure the child is safe.  Others were what are termed “by-standers”.  They may not have had any formal training or education about abuse and the red flags that are usually always present. But as adults they were all responsible for the safety of the children around them.

This is not another article to just assign blame and dig the hole of hopelessness even deeper.  No, we here at DVSAS are eager to lead our community in a response of ZERO TOLERANCE and ZERO APATHY when it comes to the abusers who want to challenge the safety of our children.

One very important fact we need to remember here in our little paradise that was shown only too true in this sad story is that over 90% of child sexual assault victims know their abusers.  This is usually someone who has won the trust of the child and their family.  So even though we can feel good about the low crime rates on our islands in respect to “stranger danger” we need to open our eyes to the danger that is living and working by our sides.

I am not saying that we should all distrust each other and that we should instill a fear of everyone in our children, however there is an opening of the eyes that needs to occur to ensure that stories like this one aren’t repeated in our local news on these beautiful peaceful shores.

DVSAS and your local Deputy Sheriff would like to invite all adults interested in protecting the innocence of our children to attend a discussion forum and initial training.  Don’t be the adult that looks the other way when something is not right in the life of a child.  Take the challenge and stand up to defend the defenseless.

Kim Bryan is the DV/SA Advocate, Prevention Specialist DVSAS