There is a deep grief in the Penn State and State College communities that is not explored in the recent movie “365 Days: A Year in Happy Valley.”
Jerry Sandusky sexually abused countless innocent boys for more than 20 years. Many in these communities silently grieve for these children, adults now, and ache for the continuing pain of these survivors and their families.
The movie focuses on those who were blamed and their defenses when the tragedy was about horrific child abuse and the communities that missed it.
The hurt felt by the survivors, their families and friends, by the supporters of Penn State and by the communities that witnessed the pain of a tragedy revealed is all real and multidimensional.
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The main question remains. How do we stop child sexual abuse in our communities?
I wish this movie explored what blinds us and the reflex to blame or defend.
What keeps us from facing the truth of what we missed and the ongoing pain of survivors? We need to focus on the fact that some people with good, law-abiding reputations abuse children if we are not paying close attention.
The good people who surround them may not want to believe that such things happen in our communities, but let us commit to awareness. Let us commit to thoughtful action regarding suspected abuse, even when the abuser is someone we know and respect.
Let us commit to even painful awareness in the effort to protect the vulnerable, especially children.
Wendy Moran, State College