Believe it or not, there are people out there who actually believe that if no arrests are made, and no one goes to jail, that that means that no abuse could possibly have occurred, no matter what any of the victims may have to say.
It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is one of the most laughable ideas and statements that could have ever come down the pike. All it means, really, is that the prick either hasn’t been caught yet, or there’s not enough evidence to actually convict him. We all know of stories where people we *know* committed a heinous crime got off because of a technicality, or because they somehow managed to stay *just* this side of legality and avoid arrest and/or conviction.
Don’t forget, either, about the “pillar of the community” types who manage to hide things for years, whose crimes just haven’t yet caught up with them yet for one reason or another.
Yesterday, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 out of 48 counts of abusing vulnerable boys in his care over a period of decades in a scandal that has turned the state and university upside down for months now. You have to understand that Sandusky and head coach Joe Paterno were like God in Pennsylvania for so long that I don’t remember life without them being at the helm of Penn State football, their names synonymous with excellence, being upstanding, exceptional citizens and role models, and more. I wasn’t even a football fan for the vast majority of the time they were at the helm, and despite paying the subject zero attention over the years, even I have always known who they were. These are men that everyone knew and respected, on a scale well beyond that of the average abuser like my own, or the creeps that raped Mollena, Kitty Stryker, and many others, way beyond the fame of any so-called “leader” in the BDSM scene including my ex. Absolutely everyone loved him.
We do now have a conviction, and the 68 year old Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in jail, so yes, you could say that there is now the proof that it happened. The evidence and testimony were pretty strong, and the jury only deliberated for 20 hours. Even the defense isn’t really arguing it never happened, just trying to backpedal out and minimize the damage, for the most part, and trying to make others look bad to draw the attention elsewhere.
What came out, among other things, however, was some of the victims saying they never spoke up because they didn’t think they’d be believed, because they were just kids – and this was the great, unshakeable Jerry Sandusky.
How familiar does this sound? Rape and abuse victims of all stripes not speaking up for fear that they will not be believed, particularly when their abuser is a pillar of the community, a “leader”, someone prominent in their field, perhaps even internationally?
And what about that midwestern preacher a few years back who was discovered to be a serial killer, burying the bodies in 55 gallon drums, who was only found out at last because one of his potential victims escaped, thanks to having a safecall in place?
Could anyone in their right mind seriously believe that the only thing that made these heinous crimes real was the creeps finally getting caught and convicted?
Even these obvious monsters have their supporters, people who never saw this side of them and continue to disbelieve what happened, even when presented with overwhelming evidence of guilt – but that does not mean that the alleged events never took place.
By its nature, abuse, is a constellation of crimes of isolation and often opportunism, thriving on privacy and secrecy, relying on victims who are intimidated and often have low self-esteem and no one to else to turn to for help, so of course it is rarely witnessed by anyone other than the perpetrator and his victim, especially in its most virulent forms. Why are people so surprised to hear that Joe Blow SirCocksurehesGod was abusive to his partner even though they never witnessed it themselves? And why in fuck do they choose to disbelieve the victims?
So what about everyone else out there suffering in an abusive relationship, dealing with date rape, dominants violating limits, etc.? If even someone like the great Jerry Sandusky can turn out to be an as-yet undetected child molester and abuser, then what makes anyone have the audacity to think that if there’s not yet been a conviction that that means that nothing happened in a zillion other situations? What makes people in the BDSM community so damn sure they can identify the real perpetrators and the real victims vs anyone else when someone says they have been abused?
How much pain and suffering could be avoided if we a) quit blaming the victims, b) quit assuming that only the prominent or quiet ones were automatically t
Sandusky must have thought he was home free because no one reported what was going on, and the one report that did happen some years ago got blown off. How many other Sanduskys are out there, abusing children, animals, their partners, all as yet undetected by others?
My abuser abused me, and I don’t give a shit what anyone else says. I know what happened. I was there, and no one else was, for better or worse, and I live to this day with the fallout, both emotional and physical, of what was done to me. Every morning I wake up in pain from what he did to me, still. It never goes away. He is prominent, both in the vanilla and kink worlds. He is quiet and doesn’t say much, while I’m loud and noisy about what happened, and there is a whole cast of characters out there who thinks that that automatically means that he couldn’t possibly have done anything wrong to me. There are many people who suck up to people who do what he does, and assume that they are automatically the good guys and make complaining victims wrong. The cops wouldn’t investigate when I reported him any more than they did with Sandusky even when there was actually a witness to what Sandusky did, but that does not mean it never happened. Sandusky’s victims knew they would not be believed against his word (or believed that, which could actually be worse if it weren’t true), so no one spoke up. My ex has threatened me on several occasions for writing about him, even without even referring to it being my own experience, and his current/most recent sub has threatened me as well when I’ve commented on her own proclivities that she posted freely and openly on the open Internet for anyone to find. Yes, it has slowed me down, but it will never stop me, because I want the truth out there. I don’t want anyone of their ilk to be able to harm anyone else again. I will continue to educate people about the types of things people like this do and how to detect it and avoid it until the day I die.
The Sandusky case is tragic, not just because of all of the children who were harmed, and whose childhood was taken away from them by a trusted mentor who should have known better, but because an entire state and country was also deluded. We lose a certain amount of innocence when our public icons are shown to be not just fallible but terrible. An elderly man will die in jail instead of at home with his family – a justly deserved penalty, to be sure, but still a tragic end to what had been a life previously believed to be exemplary, all by his own poor judgment and possible coverups by some, including his wife. His whole family has to be devastated by this whole affair as well, through no fault of their own. A great university has lost its icons and coaches. Abuse has many victims, not just the ones who are physically or emotionally harmed directly. We need to all realize that these are but the most visible examples, and the ones that got caught – eventually. Many others will never be brought to justice – but that absolutely does not mean that they have not actually and factually wreaked the havoc that they have, that they have not caused every bit of pain that someone may accuse them of, whether witnessed by others or not.
Keep this case in mind the next time you are tempted to blow off a friend or anyone else who says their partner has abused them, or a child seems uncomfortable around an adult, etc., or you get tired of hearing someone talk about the abuse in the kink community or elsewhere, etc. You do not know who the fuck is abusive to their partners, children, or animals until someone tells you about it. Learn that you should believe those reports when you hear them. Just because you didn’t see it happen yourself means absolutely nothing, and the fact that the perpetrator has not (yet) found his way into a jail or courtroom near you also means nothing with respect to whether or not he did what his victim says he did or not. Jerry Sandusky is far from the only person to get away with murder (figuratively or literally) for a long time.
But those of us who speak up about the abuse we have suffered talk about our experiences because it’s actually happening (or happened)and we want to try to spare others. It takes a hell of a lot of guts to speak up against someone that many other people think is terrific, to risk one’s own reputation in an effort to protect others from suffering the same harm. I speak up the way I do because I don’t want to see my abuser get away with it for decades more, to go on to do the same to others who otherwise will have no way of finding out about him (or others like him) before its too late. I don’t want others to suffer what I went through or worse, either at his hands or the hands of anyone else. And I’m tired of living in the shadow of fear of what he might still try to do to me for talking about what he already did, which was *fact*.