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Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal-Would You Have Acted Differently?

By November 11, 2011December 22nd, 2015No Comments

I came across a provocative article published by the BBC News that calls into question whether we would have acted differently than JoePa and other Penn State officials given the circumstances.  I would hope we all would do the right thing and act in the best interests of children who were in harm’s way.  Yet, the author, a Penn State grad herself, called this into question.  She writes in part, "We choose not to talk about it," says Jolie Logan, chief executive of Darkness to Light, a non-profit group that trains adults to prevent abuse. "Who wants to think about people having sex with children? Because it’s not comfortable to talk about, we don’t."

At Penn State, Mr Paterno’s actions have led to a lot of justifiable outrage, along with a lot of less-justifiable claims that anyone else in that position would have done things differently.

"All of us over-estimate our likelihood of being a hero, and the ease with which we would go ahead and do the right thing," says David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. "Faced with the unbelievable consequences that the disclosure might have, their will collapses, and they are unable to do the right thing."

This is why society must have behavioral safeguards in place to ensure that when it comes to the protection of children we all act correctly.  That means our legislatures need to enact tougher laws and our community leaders need to talk about these issues and then support their talk with concrete action.  We can’t afford another Penn State.