There are times when I realize how unbelievably lucky I am.
I had a mother who loved me beyond words. Lived with my grandparents who spent hours teaching me invaluable lessons. I received an education that helped me achieve my dreams. I found a man who loves every bit of me. Friends who support me along the way surround me. Why was I get gifted to have this life?
The cards easily could have fallen not in my favor. What if I was one of those unfortunate children who were lured in by a University football coaching staff member and been sexually assaulted?
How come that wasn’t me? How come it wasn’t you?
I work with children in a low-income, urban school and hear these kinds of horrific stories everyday. I hear how parents abandoned them, neighbors shot right before their eyes, friends poked fun of them, and social services turned a blind eye.
I listen to these snippets of client’s histories knowing full well the whole saga isn’t being told. The images that they’ve seen are not being spelled out. The smells that remind them of painful secrets of their past are not spoken of. The sweat-inducing nightmares are forgotten during the light of day.
As I silently nod and jot down my notes, my stomach twists and turns into knots. Why do these things happen? How can the world be so cruel? Why am I on this side of the table?
I try to remain numb to their pain. Stay “professional” and “objective” when in actuality I want to scream at the top of my lungs, “THIS ISN’T FAIR! NO ONE DESERVES THIS LIFE!”
When I read about the incidents at Penn State I didn’t flinch. Maybe I’ve grown accustomed to hearing stories littered with power, money, and neglect for the helpless. But then I realized later that sinking feeling of disgust wash over me.
These are people we’re talking about – little, innocent people who are living and breathing beings. They are not the football being thrown about or the $5 hotdogs being sold in the grandstands. They are people who will eventually become parents, lovers, teachers, writers, business men, and friends to people who need it more than anything. They are people who will make a difference in someone’s life.
I cannot comprehend what happens in the minds of those who harm children. I have to believe they wrestle with their own demons, so deep and dark that they dare never speak of them to others. I have to believe their own childhood memories haunt them everyday. I have to believe something…otherwise I wouldn’t keep doing what I’m doing.
Please feel free to share your thoughts about the Penn State incidents, similar or dissimilar to my own.